Is it time for “TIME” analysis? And how does it link to APM

Is it time for “TIME” analysis? And how does it link to APM

Although we all know what the clock is, here within the practice of Applications and Enterprise Architecture, we typically associate TIME with the acronym of Tolerate, Innovate, Modernise, and Eliminate.

The term has an old reference to the Gartner Framework for applications’ modernisation, but today it is more importantly used across more domains. However, it still has its sweet spot within the capabilities aligning systems with business needs, financial needs, risk and target architecture.

The four TIME framework categories are:
• “Tolerate” category refers to applications that are necessary but not strategic; they are tolerated, but not strategic and may be subject to modernisation or replacement.
• “Innovate” refers to applications that are emerging and have the potential to drive growth and differentiation for the business. These are often newer technologies that are recently procured or are less proven, may even be low on usage as they have the potential to provide a competitive advantage as future/newer technology.
 “Modernise” refers to applications that are important to the business but not aligning too well with architectural principles, seem costly or have had their best days. It typically refers to applications that were “hot” 10-20 years ago, but are no longer leading. These may include systems that are critical to the business due to integrations and business operations, but they are no longer innovative and architects feel the frustration with them. Business may like them more than architects, for sure a key focus to replatform or renew.
• “Eliminate” refers to applications that are no longer necessary, limited usage, or not valuable to the business operations. These may include systems or processes that have been made redundant by newer technologies or have been superseded by newer, more efficient methods or competing technologies.

In summary, the TIME framework is a useful set of recommendations for applications’ assessment for each organisation to succeed in portfolio management of business applications.

Not a one-off

We recommend performing a TIME analysis reguarly. It is not a one-off project, and it is not a new set of questions every second year. It typically starts by re-assessing the portfolio, then continuing the process every year or every second year to track changes and progress in the modernisation of the applications portfolio based on the same assessment that allows tracking the trend and comparative analysis.

Although TIME is mostly used as a tool for applications’ management, see APM, it is also possible to use the same approach to evaluate other capabilities, such as vendors, technologies, and business processes.

The value of using TIME comes form making it available to every application owner across the enterprise digitally; hence TIME is an integrated component and process of the APM process.

The TIME is typically provided as a digital solution, see next-insight. The question is still the same: year-on-year, providing a trend and measure-set to target newer application estate. In this perspective, the TIME assessment with surrounding process is a clear Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) deliverable; made available for tracking and trending to target better landscape. Most often, to follow and compare such a trend, the questions are the same year-on-year, to allow comparison.

Practice and Method

To perform TIME analysis well, you would benefit from using a leading tool such as next-insight, which can help you move from excel and ad-hoc work to a continuous process of continuously scouting for better APM. With next-insight, you get a well-defined process within the application architecture of EAM. The process is regular, typically every 2-3 years, where the assessment is re-scoped to meet parts of all business applications.

As technology can federate the data updates, there are no real data-collection, it is delegation of assessments that is mandated, and the scores provided are then analysed. Based on the assessment results and related risks, cost and other metrics, this provides meaningful input to the APM and recommended states and application roadmaps.

Part of the ongoing process is to ensure that the best recommendations are aligned with the initiative process to ensure innovation and modernisation. Be prepared to adjust your roadmaps as changes appear!


Implementing TIME framework can be a complex process without a clear structure or the right tool. Therefore, we recommend using next-insight to accelerate and amplify your Enterprise Architecture Management practice; the worlds leading low-code for enterprise architecture management.

We help you gain control over your IT landscape and start planning with roadmaps to keep processes and data up-to-date. If you need help to get started, or a tool that can accelerate your journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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