You hear a lot about how application modernization projects - moving applications into the cloud - are more than a mandate but instead are a necessity to survive. But how do you start with this often overwhelming task? How do you accomplish it and which methods do you use? The answers to these questions can spark huge debates even in the top performing companies.
Here are some of my reflections of key trends and techniques that will help you make decisions about a journey that you should already have started!
Starting the application modernization journey
I am still seeing many customers for whom the modernization project starts without a real definition of either pain points or goals for each each phase. It is scary to think about migrating a monolithic, robust and hard coded application; but the answer is as old as humanity! It was well captured in the famous phrase from the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar: divide and conquer. Or to put it more colorfully: cut the pizza in slices!
You must cut the problems of application modernization into pieces, using an iterative approach. The goal must be to have your IT fully aligned with market needs. This is not just because you need to adopt a new technology but because you need to evolve as fast as the market demands and to be every day more efficient. For this reason, you need to define your KPIs and monitor them after each iteration circle. Avoid big projects; go step by step.
Adopt continuous integration and delivery tools
There are plenty of tools and assets on the market - all backed up by many promises from vendors. But when you see these tools and think “How can I apply all this to my legacy applications?” they can start to seem like rocket science. But it doesn't have to be so complicated. You need to adopt your tools in a smooth and gradual way, and even more importantly, you need to motivate your employees to start working in that direction.
Companies still think that the next move should be a big one, but this just isn't the case. Remember, you are adopting continuous integration and delivery tools. Your applications and your architecture will need to evolve for the next technology trend - which we might not even be aware of right now. And for this reason, you need to see your next move not as the final one but as a starting point for an ongoing software revolution in your company.
Consider alternatives to incumbent IT providers
If you answer yes to one of the following questions, please consider a different alternative to your incumbent IT provider, :
- Are you facing problems with how legacy applications and new ones can co-exist?
- Are your current IT providers part of the problem?
- Are your actual contracts with IT providers ready to support you in your digitalization journey?
- Are your framework contracts ready to implement agile way of working?
- Are you in full control of your IT landscape and its functionality?
- Are vendors asking you for your requirements regarding your new way of working?
- Can your applications be easily decomposed into pieces for a real agile adoption?
Today the market is really mature, you can find companies that can actually help you challenge incumbents and, even more importantly, your TCO will decline very fast!
Mastering the art of application modernization
Application modernization is becoming an art, one of maintaining operations at the same time that you modernize. It is a unique way to control an often difficult process and gain benefits from modernization from day one. The market is plenty of good references of successful application migrations in all industries. Your application is not the most complex one in the world. You need to find a way to take the first step because you have the will and vision to make it happen!
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