The current Application Lifecycle Map is available for download here [.pdf]
"An asset goes through several stages characterised by its level of maturity within a lifecycle." (Architecture & Standards, Queensland Government Chief Information Office, 2007).
Progression through the application lifecycle is a deliberate strategic choice for each application. An applications' life cycle stage will be influenced by a number of criteria including:
"The Inception stage occurs when analysis of the business indicates a need or requirement yet to be met with existing resources. At this stage, the problem and potential solution is identified and some prototyping or proof of concept might be considered." (Architecture & Standards, Queensland Government Chief Information Office, 2007)
This usually results in a business case or initiative proposal and this stage could be marked by considerable funding to initially develop or implement an application. The end of this stage is marked by production release for use of the application.
"The Leverage stage occurs when there is a higher level of uptake in use of the application. Awareness and acceptance of the application is growing and potential reuse has been identified."(Architecture & Standards, Queensland Government Chief Information Office, 2007)
The high potential for greater growth raises the importance to the University and risk management is also implemented. Additional funding continues to support the growth in functional improvements and increases in ongoing maintenance.
"In the Optimise stage, there is widespread use of the application across the University or within the department. There is a high dependence on the application to support University functions and optimising performance and use of the application is the primary focus." (Architecture & Standards, Queensland Government Chief Information Office, 2007)
Unlike the leverage stage, there is no planned substantial change to functionality in support of new functions. Strategies are in place for sharing across functional units. Management is well defined with financial outlay stabilizing through mainstream budget processes.
"Strategies for maintenance can range from keep it running with minimal or no improvement; reduce use to niche group; or retire." (Architecture & Standards, Queensland Government Chief Information Office, 2007)
The Decline stage occurs when an applications' benefit to the organisation is reducing. The use of the application wains and the level of dependency is reduced.
In this stage, any identification for reuse would result in a return to the Inception stage. An application's transition into the Decline stage may be as a result of lessening business value or strategic technical misalignment.
At the Retire stage, an application's useful life has ended and the focus is on preserving any valuable information assets before decommissioning.
An application can move to the retirement stage if alternate resources are available or the business requirement for the application has ceased.