Does your team have a dependency map? What about your service or product? If not, they should. As software grows in complexity, knowing your application dependencies is essential for minimizing project risks, especially in the early stages of the product life cycle.
Every infrastructure, from small businesses to large enterprises, are susceptible to blind spots—and you can’t manage what you can’t see. A Forrester study found that 56% of IT projects suffered without a complete view of their dependencies, 36% were unsure what resources were required by their applications, and 31% lacked a view of all applications used by their organization. This all adds up to a lot of blind spots.
Dependency mapping addresses these issues by providing visibility into how your applications talk to each other. In this guide, we’ll share how dependency mapping can directly impact business success and how earlier adoption can reduce project risks and vulnerabilities.
What Is Dependency Mapping?
Dependency mapping is the process of documenting (with text and/or visuals) all of the components that make up an IT ecosystem (including applications, databases, storage, networks, and server infrastructure) and how they interact with each other. Dependency maps highlight all interdependencies between components especially and how they impact each other.
With this granular visibility, IT teams can monitor performance speeds, identify bottlenecks, view resource allocation, and understand how changing one part of the system will affect the whole. It also helps IT teams immediately resolve problems and create a strong security posture. If an application stops working, dependency maps are a key to identifying where a disconnect might be or if any bugs need to be fixed.
Challenges with Dependency Mapping
The more your infrastructure grows, the more dependencies there will be. IT systems evolve as personnel changes, expansions take place, and systems grow in complexity. This can quickly lead to an incomplete or outdated view of your data.
58% of engineers say dependency maps become obsolete as soon as their network changes. Incomplete mapping can leave teams susceptible to harmful oversights, especially in determining the root cause of incidents. More than 68% of enterprises struggle with finding the cause of incidents due to difficulty determining where the issue originates or a lack of tools.
Manual mapping is another difficulty with tracking dependencies. Complex ecosystems can take teams months—if not longer—to generate a dependency map for. It can be tedious to maintain and susceptible to human error, which leaves organizations prone to security risks or harmful downtimes.
Why Mapping Matters
Mapping helps reduce mean time to resolution in the event of an outage, security breach, or other time-sensitive events. Pinpointing the root-cause of performance outages and bottlenecks is easier and quicker with a comprehensive view of your infrastructure.
In addition to avoiding harmful outages, dependency mapping improves overall IT efficiency as well. A 2018 study identified the top challenges for IT operational efficiency. All of the challenges can be directly or indirectly resolved with dependency mapping:
- Operational efficiencies
- Incomplete or fragmented data
- Fragmented technology/systems
- Lack of analytics
- Poor data quality
- Low levels of automation
- Lack of communication
Dependency Mapping Platforms Streamline Application and Database Dependencies
The best way to map dependencies is with an automated dependency mapping tool. Application dependency mapping (ADM) tools replace manual audits and tedious documentation with a streamlined mapping process.
Companies that use discovery and dependency tools are better at addressing compliance issues and identifying which infrastructure affects the business and in what way. In one case, one in three enterprises were able to reduce risk by eliminating risky software from their ecosystem through dependency mapping tools.
Rapidé by KloudGaze is an example of an agentless application dependency mapping tool equipped to provide full-stack visibility. With smart APIs, enterprises can empower IT teams to create a dependency blueprint with an in-depth visualization tool in minutes.
With dependency mapping platforms, IT teams can shift to a proactive monitoring approach. Assess the risk or impact of a change before making it and ensure you understand the downstream impact of that change. By including ADM platforms early in your development lifecycle, you can realize development cost savings, empower Agile teams, and eliminate the unknowns from your code.
The Impact of Early Mapping on Overall Project Success
Dependency mapping is critical at every stage in the project lifecycle, but enterprises will see the greatest benefit with earlier adoption.
As projects gain traction, they tend to grow in complexity. Sprinkling in new features or integrations can add up over time and reshape the course of the project. Smaller, specialized teams can form around specific features or launches and components may get outsourced to other teams along the way. As projects evolve, tracking these changes can be tricky or convoluted and prone to human error.
The data generated from manual tracking of dependencies may be used throughout the organization by teams who oversee billing, order fulfilment, supply chain management, manufacturing, customer service, and more. If the project scope changes any of those data outputs, it could affect teams beyond the IT department.
Implementing an automated application dependency mapping system at the onset ensures teams are better set up for success. As projects change, teams evolve, personnel leave, and businesses grow, automated dependency mapping ensures continually updated data and business continuity at each step.
Additionally, ADM platforms should be implemented early to secure enterprise IT infrastructure from harmful breaches. Code-level dependency mapping tools can bring potential issues to the surface before they become a problem. Use predictive analysis to spot vulnerabilities immediately and proactively take corrective action before it affects your project.
Not only does predictive analysis minimize the risk of data breaches, it also helps with more accurate time and budget estimations. The earlier an enterprise implements automated dependency mapping, the greater benefits it will have.
Understanding how your applications talk to each other is essential to eliminate risk and save money. Manually mapping dependencies can be arduous, error-prone, and leave you susceptible to security breaches. Automated application dependency mapping platforms help enterprises create and easily maintain an updated “knowledge base” that will empower informed decisions. To truly realize the benefits of mapping across every step of the project lifecycle, teams should invest in an ADM platform as early as possible.
Every project is susceptible to blind spots. Learn how dependency mapping offers enterprises 360-degree visibility and how early implementation can make all the difference.
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Learn how early dependency mapping can increase IT operational efficiencies and help enterprises avoid security or stability issues in their code.