<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/51024.png" style="display:none;">

The ultimate guide to application owner program success

The ever-growing number of constantly updated applications and the pressure to maintain security is overwhelming IT and causing packaging teams to become a bottleneck. Despite efforts to prioritize updates, organizations struggle to keep pace with security demands, Windows migrations, and device lifecycles making it hard to control costs, especially when outsourcing update tasks.


While application owner programs have become a necessity to address this by streamlining oversight and task distribution, challenges like lack of visibility, governance, and control still hinder their effectiveness.


This guide aims to equip you with everything you need to know to drive application owner program success. 






The reliability and security of applications are paramount for any organization's success. Applications are the tools through which employees engage with data, collaborate with colleagues, and deliver value to customers. On the flip side, unreliable or inefficient applications can lead to frustration, decreased productivity, and can even have a detrimental impact on customer satisfaction and the bottom line. Applications also represent a significant security vulnerability, acting as gateways through which malicious actors can infiltrate a company’s defences.


Application owner programs have become a necessity, ensuring that applications are up-to-date, adequately maintained, and relevant to the business. The significance of these programs cannot be overstated, as they foster a culture of accountability, enhance operational efficiency, and bridge the gap between technical execution and business strategy.


This guide is specifically created for IT managers and business unit managers who are either about to create a new application owner program or are looking for ways to improve an existing one. The goal is to empower you with the knowledge to:

  • Understand the foundational importance and benefits of a well-structured application owner program,
  • Identify the key elements and best practices for setting up and managing your program effectively,
  • Navigate the common challenges faced by application owner programs and explore practical solutions to overcome them, and
  • Leverage technology and collaboration to optimize the performance and impact of your application owners within the organization.


Table of Contents:


Section 1: Understanding application-owner programs

  • Definition and scope
  • Primary objectives

Section 2: Overcoming common challenges

  • Resource allocation and expertise
  • Keeping up with rapid change
  • Security and compliance concerns
  • Compatibility and testing

Section 3: Introducing Juriba App Owner 

Section 1: Understanding application owner programs

Definition & scope of an application owner program

An application owner program is a strategic framework within an organization that assigns specific individuals, known as application owners, the responsibility for the oversight and management of one or more software applications. The program is designed to ensure that each application is effectively managed throughout its lifecycle, from initial deployment and integration into the IT infrastructure to ongoing maintenance, updates, and eventual decommissioning or replacement.


There are four main types of application owners. Each type of application owner plays a critical role in ensuring the effective management and utilization of applications within an organization, with the complexity and responsibility of the role increasing from Monitor to SME. They cover an increasingly complex role that requires more time and support:
  • Application Monitor: This is the foundational level of application ownership, requiring minimal effort and technical knowledge. The Application Monitor's primary duties include staying informed about new versions of the application, recommending updates based on significant changes or security needs, and subscribing to updates from the application. This role demands minimal time, possibly just 10-15 minutes every few weeks to check for updates.
  • Application Coordinator: A step above the Application Monitor, the Application Coordinator has more engaged responsibilities. These include testing and clearing application packages for release, tracking updates to ensure they reach the necessary users and devices, and seeking opportunities for application rationalization to reduce redundancy. This role involves more active management but is still not overly demanding.
  • Application Administrator: This role encompasses all responsibilities of the Monitor and Coordinator, with additional tasks such as attending training, managing versions to prevent sprawl, performing simple packaging tasks, managing licenses, and ensuring compliance with relevant certifications. The Application Administrator requires a more significant time commitment and is often limited to a smaller number of applications or reserved for specific, critical applications due to the effort involved.
  • Application SME (Subject Matter Expert): The highest level of application ownership, the SME, is expected to be a primary resource for any inquiries related to the application. Responsibilities include providing tier 3 support, delivering training, monitoring vendor performance, and staying updated with the latest developments in the product and market. This role demands a deep understanding of the application and its role within the organization's IT ecosystem, involving strategic planning and decision-making.

The core of an application owner program is its focus on assigning clear ownership and accountability for applications' performance, security, and compliance. Application owners are typically chosen based on their expertise, interest, or position within the organization. Their job is to understand the application's functionality and business value, not always its technical architecture. Their role involves making informed decisions about the application, coordinating with IT and business units, and ensuring the application meets the needs of its users and aligns with the organization's goals.


The scope of an application owner program encompasses several key areas:

  1. Lifecycle Management: Overseeing the entire lifecycle of an application, including planning, deployment, operation, maintenance, and eventual retirement.
  2. Performance Monitoring: Ensuring the application performs within the expected parameters, including speed, usability, and reliability.
  3. Security and Compliance: Managing the application's security posture by implementing necessary security measures and ensuring compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and standards.
  4. Change Management: Coordinating updates, upgrades, and patches, and managing any changes to the application to minimize disruptions to users.
  5. Stakeholder Communication: Acting as a liaison between technical teams, business units, and end users, ensuring all parties are informed and any concerns are addressed.
  6. Budget and Resource Allocation: Managing the budget for the application, including costs related to licenses, maintenance, and any necessary enhancements or expansions.
  7. Vendor Management: If the application is vendor-supplied, the application owner may also be responsible for managing the relationship with the vendor, including negotiating contracts and managing service level agreements (SLAs).

An effective application owner program is crucial for maximizing the value of an organization's software investments and ensuring applications are secure, compliant, and aligned with business objectives. By clearly defining roles and responsibilities, the program enhances accountability, improves decision-making, and supports strategic alignment between IT and business goals.


Primary objectives of application owner programs

The primary objectives of an application owner program often revolve around three key areas. By focusing on these goals, organizations can effectively mitigate risks and optimize their application ecosystem.


Enhance security

Application owners play a critical role in maintaining high security standards. It is their job to proactively check for updates and news from the vendor which helps you stay ahead of security issues and reduce the number of vulnerabilities in your environment.


Improve app hygiene

Although maintaining application hygiene is beyond the scope and control of an application owner program, it is valuable to have them as champions for updates to drive action, help with awareness of what should be done with their application, and hold the organization accountable.

Learn more

Increase visibility

Keeping track of hundreds of applications is nearly impossible for a small team. By assigning applications to individuals, even just the responsibilities of an application monitor can pay huge dividends as they will be able to keep track of updates from a few vendors.

Section 2: Overcoming common challenges

Application management in the enterprise can be a complex endeavor with numerous challenges that require careful attention. While an application owner program is a necessity, it is important to recognize that it is not a standalone solution to all application-related issues. Instead, it serves as a strategic approach to tackle specific goals within the broader landscape of application management.


Resource allocation and expertise

One of the key challenges faced by application-owner programs is resource allocation and expertise. Clear definition and assignment of roles within the program are crucial for its success. As explained above, the responsibilities of application owners can vary significantly. Therefore it is important to match the right person with the right role based on their knowledge and skills. For instance, an application monitor may not require in-depth familiarity with the application, while an application subject matter expert would need a higher level of involvement and understanding.


To overcome this challenge, organizations can implement a clear set of responsibilities for application owners. Investing in an App Owner management system can help send reminders and simplify the collection of application details. Additionally, providing a support system where application owners can collaborate and share best practices can enhance their effectiveness. Recognition is also crucial in motivating application owners. By giving them exposure and acknowledging their contributions (e.g., identifying them by name in release announcements), organizations can ensure that application owners feel valued and motivated to perform their roles effectively.


Keeping pace with rapid change

Application owners face the daunting task of keeping pace with frequent updates as the velocity of change has significantly increased. Some applications roll out updates and new features multiple times a month, making it challenging for application owners to keep up. This challenge becomes even more demanding for complex applications that require industry-specific training or certifications. In such cases, application owners may need to engage with peer networks, user communities, and industry conferences to gain valuable insights, stay informed about best practices, and network with peers.


To address this challenge, organizations can encourage application owners to set up recurring calendar events dedicated to reading and researching the latest developments in their application sphere. This practice ensures consistent engagement with the application's news and announcements while fostering a proactive approach to learning. Hosting internal knowledge-sharing sessions can also be beneficial, as application owners can lead these sessions and educate the organization on maximizing the application's potential. By leveraging educational resources like instructional videos and webinars, application owners can stay updated on the latest features and usage tips.


Security and compliance concerns

One of the main benefits of an application owner program is its ability to address security updates proactively. However, this responsibility requires application owners to have a basic understanding of security terminology, metrics, and compliance standards. They need to navigate the intersection of technical management, risk mitigation, and organizational strategy. This multifaceted role places application owners in a crucial position to ensure that software updates enhance functionality without compromising regulatory obligations or security.


To overcome security and compliance challenges, organizations can provide training and resources to application owners to enhance their understanding of security concepts and compliance standards. This can include educating them about terminology and metrics commonly used to communicate the criticality of vulnerabilities and security fixes. Additionally, organizations should ensure that application owners have access to relevant threat-intelligence metrics to identify the likelihood of exploitation. By equipping them with the necessary knowledge and tools, organizations can strengthen their security posture and maintain compliance with regulations.


Compatibility and testing

Compatibility and testing for enterprise applications are constantly evolving. For example, Windows compatibility is becoming less of a concern, but compatibility with other enterprise applications remains a challenge. Testing before production deployment is crucial to ensure smooth operations, as automated testing may not catch all issues. Functional application testing (FAT) plays a vital role, often requiring the application owner to identify potential problems that automated tests might miss. This is particularly important with the new MSIX packaging format, where functional testing helps uncover issues that may arise within the application virtualization layer.

In some cases, enterprises may require both Windows and Mac versions of an application, necessitating vigilant monitoring by a single application owner. It's also not uncommon for multiple versions of an application to be maintained for compatibility reasons, although ensuring vendor support for these versions is essential for mitigating security risks. Application owners should stay informed about the versions being used in their organization and provide accurate recommendations accordingly.


By addressing the challenges of resource allocation and expertise, keeping pace with rapid change, addressing security and compliance concerns, and efficiently managing application compatibility and testing, organizations can maximize the value and effectiveness of their application-owner programs. These programs play a vital role in proactively managing applications, ensuring their security, and driving organizational success.


Section 3: Introducing Juriba App Owner

The Juriba App Owner tool is designed to streamline and optimize the management of application ownership within organizations.

It provides a centralized platform for overseeing the lifecycle and updates of applications, ensuring that they are efficiently managed, up-to-date, and secure.

Our simplified approach with automated testing means that offloading this burden from the packaging team can be accomplished while also minimizing the impact on the time required of application owners.


How Juriba App Owner helps

With Juriba App Owner you can:

  • done

    Enable non-experts to easily, quickly, and efficiently manage their applications to unprecedented levels, significantly reducing the packaging expertise needed.

  • done

    Ensure optimal coverage by confirming which apps need owners as your team changes and new applications are introduced. Filter out irrelevant apps to concentrate on priorities.

  • done

    Easily set and adjust check-in frequencies for applications, either in bulk or individually, to swiftly spotlight those not meeting set objectives.

  • done

    Streamline the collection of check-in data with a uniform, straightforward form, enabling unprecedented analysis of your program's effectiveness.

  • done

    Trigger email prompts for check-ins, completing a form to report update statuses and implementation recommendations.

  • done

    Support your app owners with a user-friendly experience. It clearly displays assigned applications and upcoming check-ins and facilitates the check-in process.

  • done

    Empower app owners to test and package low-to mid-complex apps with App Packager and App Tester

Empower application owners. Join the waitlist!

Juriba App Owner is coming very soon.

Join the waitlist to be among the first to try it.