Taking the Pain Out of Application Modernization

Modernizing your enterprise application portfolio is a critical step in any AWS cloud migration

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Modernizing the application portfolio is a critical step in any cloud migration, because building agility, reliability, and scalability into enterprise software will position organizations to respond more effectively to continuous change.

According to a new IDG/Cognizant survey, more than half of responding companies (51%) are in the midst of application transformation as part of their cloud migration efforts. In addition, 17% cite application modernization as the top priority for cloud adoption.

Organizations are focused on application modernization to streamline IT architectures and to improve their ability to respond to the accelerated pace of change—now a hallmark in the era of digital business. Specifically:

  • 89% are targeting application modernization to reduce the number of systems that don’t talk to each other
  • 85% view application modernization as a means to move forward as a business
  • 83% are looking to streamline the number of applications to promote continuity
  • 83% want to strategically position IT so it can respond to change

Larger organizations are also bullish on cloud-based application modernization as a way to move beyond the traditional data center environment, the survey found.

Smooth Migration

Overall, companies are having success with their application modernization efforts—83% claim to be on track or ahead of schedule with deployment. Some challenges remain, however, including finding talent skilled in AWS cloud migration, navigating change management issues, and overcoming hurdles associated with legacy migration efforts.

The following practices can help pave the way for successful AWS migration:

Prioritize what you know. You can’t modernize everything at once, so it’s critical to begin with a discovery phase to evaluate your existing application portfolio and prioritize cloud migration candidates. Do a deep dive on the portfolio from both a technical and business perspective, classifying applications based on where they are today and what their projected role is in the future. This process will help you to gain a better understanding of the interdependencies between applications while also aiding in compliance as you proceed with a controlled migration strategy. Cognizant’s VSM tool can help with this process by analyzing cloud readiness for Java and .NET applications and creating a comprehensive report with details on tech stack suitability, migration complexity, and cloud-native anti-patterns. Recently, a large healthcare provider reduced the assessment efforts by 70% using VSM.

Think big, but execute small. Identify quick wins for application modernization to foster buy-in and help circumvent change management issues. For example, applications developed in the last few years might be easily migrated using a simple lift and shift approach, showcasing early success. “Modernization brings cost efficiencies and velocity, but the initial ramp-up takes a while before the change becomes algorithmic,” says Raja Renganathan, Vice President & Global Head, AWS Cloud, at Cognizant. “There’s some restlessness of wanting to see results quickly. With this approach, by the time you start on the tougher parts, you already have the backing.”

Modernize with AWS Tech Stack. AWS’s purpose-built databases, serverless computing capabilities, containerization, and microservices architectures provide an effective on-ramp for modernizing an application portfolio. Historically, enterprise modernization programs like Service Oriented Architecture have been start-stop affairs, with challenges such as competing demands from users for adding new features, re-architecting and re-factoring application code, and choosing the right products from a crowded marketplace. AWS makes the road to modernization easier with a number of services that allow enterprises to think big and execute small while continuing to deliver new features.

Engage the business. IT can’t have the sole voice in modernization. Working with all stakeholders – employees, customers, partners, and vendors – to prioritize and coordinate an application modernization strategy will lead to much better outcomes. Equally important is a robust governance and change management program to effectively manage stakeholder expectations and ensure successful completion of modernization initiatives.

Application modernization is a critical part of the cloud migration journey. With a long-term strategy punctuated with short-term wins, organizations have the best chance of success.

Learn more about application modernization by visiting Cognizant Core Modernization.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.