Three Steps for Application Modernization-driven Transformation

BrandPost By Peter J Zandstra
Nov 02, 2020
Digital TransformationIT Leadership

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Credit: istock

Digital transformation, the exciting opportunities and agility it provides businesses, is top of mind for most enterprises, accelerated by the events and impacts of 2020. It promise new revenues and markets for coffee shops, global corporations, distributed factories, research organizations, and public institutions alike.

But at the same time most of these organizations have found themselves stalled even in their initial modernization steps. Furthermore, unless they were a new startup without any legacy application constraints, they find themselves now operating with two cost models. And the glaring truths become clear as the monthly invoices flow in for cloud services alongside legacy IT, which has actually increased their IT spend.  

How can businesses avoid the trap of straddling both the old and new to achieve full digital transformation? Is there a predictable outcome if we follow a different path and approach? Can we do this all with the same urgency that drove the initial rush for Cloud experiences, but end up successful with all our business applications? 

The transformation of large, legacy application re-architecture-based migration projects can be both costly and long, consume internal resources, and create a high risk for the organization. This is not a quick fix or something we can put on a recipe card. It takes effort to discover completely, to clear and distill out “noise,” to maintain accurate real-time data through each step of the lifecycle journey, to select the right priorities, to create momentum for the change, to leverage the right technologies, and all the way through to assembling and motivating great staff to achieve the goal.

The following chart illustrates an application migration roadmap and steps organizations can take.


Organizations typically run two main types/categories of applications:

  • Applications to win and grow the business
  • Applications to support ongoing work/tasks


The first key step for creating that legacy application / workload journey roadmap begins with a strategic business IT services discovery. This creates a top-level view of what the business needs for operation, who owns what, a view to capacity and growth, and how the business service is delivered.  This layer shouldn’t care about what vendors, infrastructure, hardware, or software is even selected; it simply captures what functions the business needs from IT services to operate, to what volume, to what scale, and how it scales (up/down). 


The next step is application mapping to business services. Here we begin to see the functional components, applications, interfaces, queues, and any areas that support business services but in a more granular way. The focus here is to capture application functional areas, the owners, lifecycle information, development or feature timelines and roadmaps, software details, testing and release cycles, security models, business continuity, and compliance requirements.

Similarly, discover how application lifecycle changes are handled in the organization, who approves, testing strategies for application releases, and more. You’ll also want to discover how each functional component perceives the level of criticality their assets might have at the individual level. Ironically, many organizations do not have this connected clearly; however once it becomes obvious, the entire business service is no longer available!


The third step is to capture the landscape view of how these business applications and workloads reside and interface on the overall IT environment. HPE has built powerful scanning/discovery tools over the years in the datacenter consolidation/transformation space, combined now with tools from VMware, Microsoft, and several close partners, including the HyperScalers. All of this data is converged into a single “record of truth.” This “Master Data Repository” is the key secret behind most successful transformation journeys today. 

Making it happen!

HPE has incorporated this approach into its “Right Mix Advisor” global program. From this program a roadmap can emerge that supports various application contexts, business cases, and costing models while also mitigating risks. With RMA’s findings, driven by accurate data, the roadmap organizes the many steps, priorities, and challenges to minimize the risks around Hybrid Cloud Digital Journeys.

A future article will further explore how the Right Mix Advisor program captures the individual application steps towards transformation, and how to structure a personalized hybrid cloud experience that best fits each organization’s goals, budgets, and timetables. 

For more information on HPE’s digital transformation strategies, visit For further information please reach out to


About Peter J Zandstra

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Peter Zandstra leads the Worldwide Hybrid-Cloud Application Modernization & Migration Practice at HPE.  With 25+ years building his expertise he brings hands-on and management experience to develop, innovate, and continually improve programs, services and automation tools, along with carefully selected partner ecosystems. Peter and team work with clients locked-in to legacy platforms and applications, or stalled in modernization cycles, to unlock or progress them into a transformed, “right mix” hybrid cloud IT Services organization.  Peter splits his home life between Saint Louis, USA and Winnipeg, Canada where he is also registered as Professional Engineer.