Today’s businesses are faced with a singular reality: innovation is a requirement for mere survival. Yet many enterprises are crippled by legacy and technical debt. – IT Application Modernization
This paper is written for the leaders tasked with bridging the gap. Skytap Cloud’s approach to modernizing Infrastructure, Process, and Architecture (IPA) equips senior IT decision-makers with a realistic, achievable path to application modernization. In this paper, you’ll learn how to tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges one step at a time and see real-world examples from enterprises that have already succeeded.
Competing in today’s world means continually delivering the best products to the right people at the right time. Often, this must be done as quickly as possible, which accelerates the introduction of technology. In decades past, we would imagine new technologies and wonder about their future arrival. Now, with disruptive technologies launching daily, the future is created in real-time.
Enterprises must be able to meet this new pace of delivery to survive. We know the technologies that will get us to a modern competitive state— like cloud computing, containers, and AI—already exist and, in some cases, are mature. What’s often less clear is how to bridge the gap between where an enterprise is and where it wants to be.
This is especially true for large, long-established enterprises that rely on traditional, legacy technologies. The trick to modernizing older systems can be found by looking back in time.
When new generations of computing are introduced, they are often heralded as a revolution that will change everything, but the reality is that each new technology— from mainframes to AI—was built on the best from the previous generation. Innovation is evolution, not an overnight change. Modernizing traditional applications happens the same way, through evolution.
The unrelenting pace of innovation demands that business modernizes, however, many organizations will need to establish a formal business to embark on an initiative. While each business has unique considerations, several common objectives must be considered:
• Innovate and Compete: Modernization facilitates the accelerated introduction of new business capabilities. This agility makes an organization more adaptable to future market and technology disruptions, and better able to handle unforeseen changes in technology, customers, and the competition. The ability to respond to and excel amidst change is key to long-term viability.
• Adopt Cloud Computing: Application modernization can be used as the impetus for transitioning to a modern, cloud-based infrastructure model that enables capacity on-demand, self-service provisioning, global reach, reduced costs via multi-tenancy, and metered pricing.
• Improve Development Agility and Reduce IT Backlog for Resources:
Streamlining resource provisioning and implementing agile development processes frees organizations to focus on delivering new business value and reducing technical debt, instead of just keeping the lights on.
• Time to Value: Enterprise IT must operate as a business partner capable of delivering functionality in line with business and customer demands. Systems and methods of work must be modernized to deliver higher quality software at a faster rate.
• Maximize ROI: For many enterprises, traditional applications represent decades of investment. Modernizing these applications preserve their value and the business investment in them, while also eliminating the greater expense and risk of large refactoring initiatives or wholesale rewrites.
• Mitigate Risk: Enterprises that forego modernization risk falling short of critical compliance and security standards, jeopardizing their customers as well as their business. Organizations may use modernization initiatives as an opportunity to invest in technology and process improvements necessary for ongoing security requirements.
The preceding list concentrates on active justifications for application modernization. Forward-thinking organizations also recognize that maintaining the status quo comes with its own risks.
Businesses need to look no further than industries like retail, transportation, and media for proof that market dominance is increasingly determined by the ability to deliver value rapidly and cost-effectively. Organizations that put off modernization mire themselves in technical debt and hinder their own ability to execute, putting them at a significant disadvantage to more aggressive competitors. Put succinctly, doing nothing could put you out of business.
Traditional applications limit an enterprise’s ability to move quickly in two ways. First, the monolithic architecture of a traditional application is inherently inflexible, creating exponential inefficiencies when building and running applications.
Second, traditional applications constrain development for new, cloud-native applications that depend on them. Application components in a monolithic architecture are tightly coupled; changes to any individual component requires changes to other components.
This architecture translates to an inefficient code base that passes waste onto teams, including:
• Upgrades, patches, and bug resolutions require more work, increasing technical debt.
• Configuring environments for development and test is more complicated, slowing release cycles.
• Infrastructure is wasted when applications scale, as unused components must scale along with components in use.
Cloud-native applications solve for some of these limitations by using microservices architectures to leverage key tenets of cloud infrastructure, like scalability, elasticity, and reliability. While some may still, require tight coupling with the cloud provider, microservices architectures endow these applications with flexibility and agility.
As enterprises introduce cloud-native applications and infrastructure, IT teams and work become bifurcated. New systems are developed using agile with the goal of driving business innovation while existing systems are simply maintained using waterfall methodologies.
Yet systems of record and traditional applications are often the core of enterprise business, and new systems drive innovation by building on this foundation, not replacing it. The dependency of new applications on the core, traditional applications is felt acutely in a business’s software development lifecycle (SDLC).
Teams focused on newer applications who are moving quickly break away from their counterparts servicing traditional applications. But the SDLC is still dependent on the slower systems, thereby slowing development and risking overall application integrity.
This bottleneck can become so problematic that organizations must identify a strategy to bring the pace of development and the architectural flexibility of traditional applications up to speed. Often, they turn to the cloud to solve this problem. Contact Musato Technologies to learn more about modernizing your traditional applications.
IT Application Modernization, an article by Skytap
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