Increasing investment in consolidating applications is a growing trend among businesses, according to software giant HP.

This is being driven by rationalisation following recent high levels of mergers and acquisition activity, wiht organisations looking to consolidate both hardware and applications. HP cites itself as an example of this trend.

"[Through mergers and acquisitions] we inherited a lot of applications and we needed to bring some of them to end of life. It gets rid of redundancies," said Mark Sarbiewski, vice-president of application solutions at HP, told Computerworld UK at HP Software Universe in Barcelona.

"A few years ago, we had 7,000 applications. We went on a big rationalisation strategy - we have 2,000 now and I think we can get to 1,200."

It is not just M&A that is driving the application rationalisation. Michael Garrett, director of professional services UK and Ireland at HP, said that businesses are also updating their application platform, which indicates that organisations are no longer just looking at making cost savings.

"We have seen a cycle of low investment in applications over time,” said Garrett. “We are moving away from that now, from ‘how do we save money?’ to ‘how do we move into different business areas [with our applications]?’”

In addition, businesses are investing in automating the maintenance of software so that they can use more of their resources – time and money – on innovation.

“Most organisations have about 10 to 15 development projects ready to go. They need to automate the maintenance [of existing software] to improve the speed of getting to the development projects and lower the cost of maintaining software,” said Jonathan Priestley, director of marketing at HP.

Meanwhile, while HP said that cloud computing may not have a significant impact on application development, Sarbiewski said that the technology may provide certain challenges, as well as opportunities, for developers.

He believes that cloud can provide developers with a testing environment, however: “If you [the developer] are building capability for your business and you leverage a public cloud service, you need to emulate those services in the testing environment – you need to virtualise services to replicate them.”

Garrett also warned: “If you’ve got an application that gives you a competitive advantage, then you do it yourself [rather than procure from the cloud]. Businesses need to own the Intellectual Property that they generate around the applications.”