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When people talk about 'moving to the cloud' they almost never mean a wholesale lift and shift of their organisation. Instead, they tend to mean a strategic movement of key applications to a cloud environment, where they can take advantage of elastic scalability, efficiency gains, better resilience and reliability, and those all-important cost savings.
This process throws up a whole bunch of strategic questions however. Which applications do you move? How do you move them? Do you re-architect them as you go? What are the security concerns? How will this impact the business?
Fortunately, the analyst firm IDC published its three top tips for application modernisation back in July, and the advice has never been more pertinent for CIOs:
Digging into each of these briefly, let us start with the idea of a fortified strategy. The IDC analysts define this by setting data-informed and incremental goals around clearly defined business outcomes. "One incremental goal should be to determine what it means to become an agile organisation, not simply to implement an agile software development process" the white paper outlines.
Then, when it comes to averting dangers, IDC recommends finding the right third-party assistance and expertise to ease the migration process. When choosing, said partner organisations should consider capabilities, experience and cultural fit as the leading criteria, followed by pricing, scalability, vendor viability, and thought leadership.
Finally, in terms of taking calculated risks, IDC talks about employing iterative methodologies and leading initiatives from the business.
Leverage a multidisciplinary approach led by the business
"Leverage a multidisciplinary approach led by the business, with heavy involvement from the office of the CIO" the analyst firm advises. "Utilise agile and DevOps methodologies to develop quick wins and establish a foundation for scale." This approach should include automated tooling to increase velocity, and remove the risk of human error.
Once this strategy has been executed, the key benefits include greater agility in application life-cycle management. By adopting modern DevOps practices, IT organisations can start to respond quicker to urgent needs and seize business opportunities faster than the competition, all while improving the stability of that environment.
Underpinning those three pieces of advice is a simple principle to not embark on application modernisation for the wrong reasons
Underpinning those three pieces of advice is a simple principle to not embark on application modernisation for the wrong reasons. This should be a strategic exercise that has a business outcome in mind. Change management and risk mitigation should be absolutely core to any app modernisation effort.
This is where IBM can help, with advice for companies looking to find the right cloud solution for the right business process at the right time. IBM's deep expertise means it can help with everything from architectural choices, to advising on security and compliance considerations, even when operating across hybrid infrastructures, using a set of standardised migration tools and frameworks.