November 18, 2021 IconSumit KothiyalIconDevelopment , Business ,

Application Modernization and Cloud-native Solutions

Application modernization is a growing area of focus for enterprises, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is, why? Because business leaders feel increasing pressure to drive innovation. Key drivers identified are digital trends, remote work, and escalating customer expectations. No industry is immune to these dynamics. Businesses evolution is imperative in order to succeed, which is why so many organizations opt for digital transformation.

Organizations must evolve to succeed, which is why many embark on a digital transformation that includes modernizing applications with the cloud. If your organization has not begun app modernization with the cloud, it is essential to start building a business case. Below are a few points to consider:

  • What is your current state?
  • What application do you want to migrate?
  • How do you currently use this application?
  • What are your budget and timeline?

The key to note, cloud migration is a daunting task and considering the scale and expanse of many organizations, apprehensions are understandable. However, the future clearly signals a shift to cloud-native solutions and businesses are approaching a tipping point regarding its adoption.

“By 2023, enterprise spending on cloud services and infrastructure will be more than $500 billion. Adopting the cloud is no longer primarily about economics and agility – it is becoming enterprises’ most critical and dependable source of sustained technology innovation.” (IDC)

Meanwhile, despite a plethora of benefits, modernizing applications and embracing cloud-native solutions is not without its share of challenges.

Legacy Applications - An Unsustainable Status Quo

Continuing on legacy applications and outdated technology is becoming less feasible with each passing day.

  • To begin with, there is the issue of technology obsolescence. Many of the applications are ill-equipped to deal with rising complexity and disruptions as the world rapidly evolves around them.
  • Businesses tied down by legacy applications are not poised to seize new business and growth opportunities as they emerge, unlike their agile, cloud-powered counterparts.
  • Legacy apps are associated with manual tools that are time-consuming and error-prone in comparison to more modern alternatives.
  • Organizations face vendor lock-in as they attempt to navigate maintenance, applications are increasingly nearing the end of the support services required to keep them going, and emerging compliance regulations are not favourable to them.
  • By not leveraging cloud-native solutions, businesses are missing out on efficiencies, incurring higher costs in IT and day-day operations.

Meanwhile, the culture is changing with behaviour and preferences changing in step with the technological possibilities available in the world. Employees, clients and stakeholders simply expect more than what old-world solutions are capable of delivering.

Challenges of Application Modernization

One of the primary challenges in migrating to a cloud ecosystem will be:

  • Handling the complexity involved in decommissioning old platforms while developing new ones.
  • Integrators will face significant challenges where compatibility is an issue.
  • Some architectures may face incompatibility with web and mobile integration and modern platforms.
  • The same goes for automated workflows and enterprise content management systems.

According to a 2020 Cleo report, 63% of businesses consider legacy applications to be their biggest integration challenge.

Changes will pose challenges for those used to the legacy applications since it might present a shift as fundamental as going from command-based interfaces to graphical user interfaces. Transferring the vast amount of data on existing applications must be handled efficiently. Care must be taken to migrate this data to the cloud in an optimal manner so that it can be used to extract actionable information and insights to drive business objectives and fuel growth.

Develop a Transformation Roadmap

A transformation roadmap is essential for achieving cloud adoption goals and getting your company from its current state to its desired state. These roadmaps address various areas such as digital business strategy, technical architecture, and IT staff and process maturity.

For cloud adoption, a transformation roadmap typically includes:

  • Organization’s goals and barriers.
  • Journey maps for your customer experience.
  • Assessment and inventory of your technology.
  • Gap analysis and recommendations.
  • IT goals (e.g., cloud-first, agile, DevOps).
  • Technology options and reference architecture.
  • Application portfolio rationalization and migration options (e.g., build versus buy).
  • Budgets, benefits and timelines.
  • Change and communication plans.
  • Program governance (e.g., organization, roles and responsibilities, dashboard KPIs, accountability).
  • Digital products and marketplace offerings.
  • Program execution in the context of goals (e.g., agility, innovation, DevOps).
  • And the competent manpower to help you migrate to the modernized infrastructure.

The finished roadmap must show an evolution of your application landscape as your organization transitions from the current state (legacy) to the future state (modernized). The roadmap should also highlight business and technical outcomes along the way.

Additionally, the future state should consider long-term technology trends and feasibility as well as business considerations for digital product offerings and revenue streams. One must execute a cloud adoption strategy within the context of budgets and timelines, preferably with business value delivered along the way.

Driving Business Goals with Cloud Solutions

Cloud-native solutions enjoy a wide range of benefits that arise from deploying, testing and managing applications all on one scalable and connected platform. This approach helps to accelerate application development while allowing businesses to optimize existing ones. Efficient load balancing and enhanced information exchange will be made possible due to high runtime speeds.

There are several technologies fundamental to application modernization:

  • Cloud Computing: Cloud technologies support and propel digital transformation initiatives and application modernization. Today’s cloud is the primary destination for application migration efforts. This includes public cloud platforms, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.
  • Containers: Software containers and container management platforms, specifically Kubernetes, have quickly become an industry standard for strategic modern application delivery. While the companies are deploying a wide range of infrastructure across multiple clouds and operating environments, applications must remain portable and able to be run efficiently in multiple places.
  • Microservices: Microservices involve decoupling different components of an application into smaller, discrete pieces that can be deployed, updated, and operated independently.
  • Orchestration and Automation: Orchestration in software development refers to the automation of many of the operational tasks associated with containers, including deployment, scaling and networking.

Time-to-market is a crucial factor in the success of services in the competitive, technology-driven business landscape and cloud-native solutions will help them achieve this with faster development-to-deployment cycles. Cloud-native applications can leverage the efficiency of DevOps and its automation capabilities in vastly improving the speed of development.

The new decade has accelerated the adoption of cloud solutions but there needs to be an accurate understanding of the challenges involved in the transition, which may be unique to organizations depending upon their existing application frameworks. If handled correctly, businesses can start to tap into a world of possibilities and new business opportunities, and deliver better value to their customers.

If you are interested in leveraging our expertise to migrate and modernize your application framework, explore our Application Modernization Services.

Application Modernization and Cloud-native Solutions - Blog

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