Technology plays a crucial role in ensuring that organizations can adapt and thrive in today’s environment. With modern, updated tech, companies are better equipped to deliver breakthrough consumer experiences, enable always-on innovation, and quickly react to marketplace changes.
Application modernization is the process of altering legacy systems to achieve this goal.
The global application modernization market is predicted to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.8 percent and $24.8 billion by 2025.
According to Gartner, application modernization services include the transfer of legacy applications or platforms to new applications or platforms, as well as the integration of new functionality to give the business the most up-to-date functions.
Re-platforming, re-hosting (also known as lift and shift), recoding, rearchitecting, re-engineering, interoperability, replacement, and retirement are among the many possibilities for modernization, as are changes to the application architecture to determine which option should be chosen.
Much of the current discussion about application modernization focuses on monolithic, on-premises applications—which are typically updated and maintained using waterfall development processes—and how those applications can be brought into cloud architecture and release patterns, specifically microservices DevOps.
Broadly speaking, the advantages of application modernization relate to increasing the speed at which new features are delivered, exposing the functionality of existing applications so that they can be consumed via API by other services, and re-platforming applications from on-premises to cloud for application scale and performance, as well as long-term data center and IT strategy.
The key to a successful application modernization is strategy and picking application modernization projects where the benefits of cloud, speed, performance, scale, new feature development, and so on provide a clear path to improved customer experience and ROI for the given application.
Monolithic applications are common in legacy applications. These types of applications have two qualities that make them desirable to modernize: they are tough to update and scale, and they are complex and expensive.
Due to architectural considerations, monolithic apps are difficult to update. Because of the overhead of complexity and integration problems, it is difficult and costly to add features to an application because all of its components ship together.
Scaling these applications is difficult and expensive for similar reasons. If even one component of an app is experiencing load and performance issues, the entire program may need to be scaled up just to service the most-demanding single component. This method wastes a lot of time and resources.
For this reason, many companies choose to modernize applications to more of a microservices architecture. This way, components are smaller, loosely linked, and may be deployed and scaled independently of one another. While this technique comes with its own set of difficulties, it is also where much of the core value in modernization can be found.
Modernizing your business’ applications is more than just a technical shift. An organization's architecture, technology, and organizational structure must all change, and each shift must be carefully evaluated.
Let’s take a closer look at the three levels of transformation:
Any application modernization initiative is a huge undertaking and can be overwhelming if you do not know where to start. At the very least, make sure your approach to application modernization includes the following steps:
1. Start with an assessment – An application assessment is the most crucial step in every application modernization effort. After you evaluate your legacy applications and compile a list, plot each application against how easy or difficult it will be to modernize as well as possible improved value once it is updated. You may also think of potential value by defining critical applications for customer experiences and the future of your company. Start with the applications that you determine are high-value and low-effort to change. The toughest decisions will be in regards to high-value, difficult-to-move apps. Remember that this does not have to be an all-or-nothing plan from the beginning. In these circumstances, there are techniques to application modernization that can reduce risk and cost while still moving your portfolio forward.
2. Define your goals – Goals must be the result of your business’ KPIs. For example, if your aim is to upgrade your personnel management software, you might think about the ways application modernization can reduce the time spent filling out time reports or doing administrative activities, as well as reducing the time required to allocate team members with the appropriate skills to a new project. Keep in mind that, while your application modernization strategy must solve IT system issues, it should also put you ahead of your competition.
3. Take stock of available resources – Modernizing your applications is an investment. While it will result in costs for development time and software, in many cases, such a transition may necessitate additional resources you had not considered. Further, you will need to train your IT personnel in the new technology, hire more people, or outsource talent. The next phase will be to onboard the users and help them comprehend the tool once the technical staff has become comfortable with the new system. Although it will take some time for them to understand it at first, it will save them time and money in the end.
4. Consider the mindset change – If your modernization includes both technical aspects as well as business operations and working culture (like an agile transformation), this project will necessitate leadership involvement and management support. Make sure leadership is on the same page and understands all of the moving parts this initiative will require.
5. Plan your budget – When it comes to resource allocation, make sure you plan ahead of time and stick to your budget. Make contact with people who have already completed successful application modernization makeovers and ask them for any hidden costs that surprised them. After all, 66 percent of enterprises find that the most difficult aspect of enterprise system modernization is determining the total cost of ownership at the outset.
6. Make a plan – The final phase before the kick-off is to develop a strategic plan that includes a prioritized set of short- and long-term goals. If you are not going to oversee all of the efforts yourself, make sure you designate owners and hold them accountable for meeting the KPIs. You should also consider:
7. Modernize – Remember to keep an eye on the KPIs once you have started this journey. Meanwhile, keep in touch with your team and other users of the software you are updating (like clients or other business partners). Make sure they understand how the changes will benefit them and that they receive required support as they transition to the new platform. Technology, as well as how we utilize it, is continuously changing. Make the most of your first modernization by learning and preparing for the next time you take on this initiative.
Stefanini can assist you in developing and implementing a specific application modernization strategy. To ensure that the modernization is successful, we always begin with a thorough examination of your business needs and end-user requirements. We then implement applicable solutions based on that assessment, such as cloud migration, modernization in the cloud (including cloud infrastructure), software development, rearchitecting monolithic apps to microservices, and more.
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