7 steps for CIOs to follow for application modernisation

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Application modernisation is a crucial prerequisite to driving the full value from cloud-based digital transformation. Modern architectural ideals call for applications to be lightweight, portable and readily changeable.

Cloud-native development with containers and microservices streamlines the application lifecycle and improves efficiency. The steps outlined here help CIOs craft programme strategies for application modernisation:

Step one ‒ Assess and classify your application portfolio

The first step in modernisation is to understand how your application portfolio aligns with the priorities of the business. Consider which applications correspond to strategically important or fast-growing parts of the business.

Classifying each application in terms of its future role in business profitability provides a way to characterise the relative value of modernising specific apps.

Step two ‒ Align application modernisation to business priorities

To guide your modernisation strategy, identify apps where modernisation delivers the most potential value to power business drivers. Correlate specific applications to business needs to enable prioritisation.

Your technology partners might be able to help here; as an example, IBM Services can help guide your application modernisation efforts squarely toward your objectives, saving you time and money in the processes of assessment, strategic planning and execution for application modernisation.

Step three ‒ Get leadership buy-in

Getting approval for an application modernisation program requires building the case for senior decision makers. One key is to focus squarely on business needs, with technology playing a supporting role.

Focus on the business problem, such as the non-sustainability of current processes. Explain clearly the changes you are proposing and how they will accelerate the pace of change and deliver cost benefits.

Step four ‒ Select the right modernisation approach

Application modernisation is not monolithic or one-size-fits-all. Different approaches may be called for, depending on complexity, cost and business value.

Some workloads may best be deployed unchanged in containers. In other cases, you may wish to restructure and optimise code, expose applications as services using application programming interfaces (APIs) or migrate to a new runtime platform.

Step five ‒ Plan and prioritise

Based on mapping between applications and ongoing business priorities, assess the complexity of specific individual projects and identify the top candidates for modernisation.

Key considerations for selecting modernisation projects include their complexity and resource requirements, as well as the associated potential for business improvements. Focus on projects of short duration, and high value.

Step six ‒ Adopt a modern application platform

Create a cloud-first application framework to facilitate and sustain modernisation. Build new applications with cloud-native microservices for agility and ease of reuse. Migrate existing apps with containers and extend them using new cloud-native services.

Take decisive steps toward transformation with IBM Services, and prepare for a future of business in the cloud.

Step seven ‒ Modernise IT operations as well

Support modernisation by reinventing processes for management of applications in production. That begins in the development process, with standards that support manageability.

Use container platform tools to monitor metrics and logs, proactively uncovering and resolving issues before they impact productivity. Build cross-team communication and collaboration to improve workflows and build efficiency.

Conclusion ‒ Set a course for innovation

Build an open, secure multi-cloud strategy with the right tools to drive purposeful innovation and transformational change. With the IBM Garage Method you can do this at the speed of a start-up, but at enterprise scale.

To find out more on getting the most out of application modernisation, click here to download IBM’s field guide.

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