Application modernisation is an essential component of digital transformation. Recent global research from CIO shows that it is one of the top three priorities for CIOs this year as enterprises accelerate their journey to the cloud, strive to simplify operations, and, ultimately, look for ways to drive more value and better business outcomes from their IT investments.
Application modernisation is all about updating older software for newer languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms. The goal is to take advantage of technological advances, including the superior flexibility, security, efficiency, ease of integration, and scalability of today’s cutting-edge cloud and as-a-service offerings.
That’s not to say that application modernisation is easy. Success is not just about embracing cutting-edge technology, but also about adopting smarter practices in the IT environment. Here is a three-step guide that we have found to work in our own business and our engagements with some of our blue-chip clients:
Before anything else, look at the business impact
Application modernisation, like most digital transformation efforts, is a long journey. An enterprise that sets out with a clear roadmap will vastly improve the odds of success. Smarter CIOs usually start with a thorough assessment of candidate applications. They will consider factors like the business value of each app, its suitability for modernisation, and the business value of modernising the app.
Applications where the ROI of modernisation is potentially high and the efforts of modernisation are low are an ideal starting point. The company can develop a long-term blueprint for modernising apps that minimises potential disruptions, allows them to optimise the use of resources, and sets the business on a sustainable path to improve business outcomes as the IT team’s cloud skills grow.
Modernise your team, tools, and tactics
An application modernisation programme has a low chance of success if an organisation does not modernise its IT skills, tools, practices, and frameworks first. The right talent to drive the programme can be secured through a mixture of reskilling and upskilling existing employees, hiring in knowledgeable new talent, and partnering with service providers.
It’s also important to embrace modern working practices and frameworks. Continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), DevOps, and Agile are key. DevOps brings together development and operations, while agile methodologies focus on collaboration, customer feedback, and rapid releases.
Finally, the right technology is an essential piece of the puzzle. Some of the key enablers for a cloud-native business include containers, serverless computing, and micro-services. Containerisation and microservices ensure that apps are light, efficient, and portable, while serverless streamlines infrastructure management.
Consider which of the 6 Rs is right for each application
There is not one, but at least six different approaches to application modernisation. They all have their pros and cons in an enterprise’s digital transformation journey—here is a quick guide to choosing which one is suited for a particular use case.
- Retain: If an app is running well and there doesn’t appear to be much scope for improvement, it can be left alone. That’s especially the case if the risks of migration are high relative to the potential ROI.
- Rehost: If a legacy app is working well, an enterprise might still be able to gain efficiencies and improve reliability by lifting and shifting it to the cloud with no changes.
- Retire: If an app runs on extremely outdated technology or no longer serves a purpose, it can be retired and replaced.
- Repurchase: Moving from running on-premises software to the vendor’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering can help a business drive down infrastructure costs and simplify IT administration.
- Replatform: This involves transferring a legacy app to the cloud, and making some small changes to take advantage of the cloud platform.
- Refactor: Refactoring, the most labor-intensive form of app modernisation, involves a thorough update of the application’s existing code to take full advantage of cloud features and flexibility.
Accelerate app modernisation with 1Nebula
1Nebula has helped many leading organisations navigate the challenges and opportunities of application modernisation. Get in touch to learn how our knowledgeable team, FinOps and DevOps experience, and the seamless process can guide and simplify your digital transformation journey.