Enterprise Application Modernization: Key focus areas

In my previous blog I assessed how modernization has been reported by the IT analyst community. Now it is time to look at their recommendations for modernization in the context of the Micro Focus view of ‘three central elements’ to the process.

According to this IDC white paper and this Forrester report the key focus areas for organizations implementing digital transformation are three forms of modernization; application, IT process, and infrastructure – including the move to the Cloud. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Application Modernization

This is the migration of legacy applications to new systems, applications, or platforms, perhaps integrating new functionality to older systems. Organizations modernize applications for many reasons; widening access scenarios, a digitalization requirement, or moving to a new IT infrastructure or API-based architecture. Whatever the reasons, modernized legacy systems must operate in sync with other application systems using, for example, Java or .NET.

Application modernization is a strategic decision factoring in organizational needs, priorities and budgets. Considerations include modernizing the application experience and access method and driving create new workflows around the application through integration and automation.

They may modernize the application code itself with analytical tools to increase programmer productivity, and improve performance. Modernizing dev, test, and production methods and platforms, either for individual applications or as part of a composite application, while leveraging new business models with COBOL investments is another thought.

IT Process Modernization

DevOps and Agile IT processes have improved application development, but the software development lifecycle for host-based application can still be slower than other platforms’ pace, especially when applications must be integrated. This requires application delivery process modernization.

Using DevOps and Agile to improve application development has significantly and positively impacted =the application development process. Nevertheless, the software development lifecycle for host-based applications can still be out of sync with the platforms with which these applications need to integrate.

This has resulted in a de facto hybrid approach to application delivery. Organizations need to extend the advantages, such as delivering applications ‘at the speed of business’, to all applications, whatever their value or platform.

Infrastructure Modernization

For infrastructure modernization to succeed, organizations must prioritize the application host platforms in terms of development, test, and production; whether it is a large host system, a distributed environment, the Cloud, or hybrid.

Organizations doing so can implement fit-for-purpose infrastructure to support traditional and new applications, whether current, Cloud-native, or next-generation applications. Additionally, Infrastructure modernization requires an organization to establish strong security for applications and data.

The IDC white paper Modernization: A Flexible Approach to Digital Transformation is clear; “With end-user platform refreshes running at a cycle of once every 3–5 years, an organization’s delivery platform of choice can be up for renewal at any given time. Large host systems such as mainframes may have a life span of 10–20 years. But oftentimes, the applications they support continue to outlive multiple platform refreshes. [So] there is a constant, cyclical re-evaluation of a business’ core systems — the applications and the platforms upon which these applications are developed, tested, and deployed.”

The Move to the Cloud

Modernizing applications, IT processes, or infrastructure, is a good time to evaluate their potential need to move to the Cloud. This Forrester report on Cloud adoption and modernization opines that, “Moving a core business application to a generic Cloud platform isn’t a pain-free sourcing change.

“Many applications can experience performance degradation, but organizations with existing technology management operations simply cannot start from scratch and rewrite everything for the Cloud. The more intensive the adjustment requirements, the more cost-intensive the move …will be.

“Organizations must devise a strategy for evaluating candidate apps —determining what, if any, changes should be applied to ensure the move is successful and the performance and cost balance is met”. Additionally, Forrester hosted a webinar with Micro Focus on this topic, Exploring Complexities to Cloud Migration & Modernization.

In my next post, I explore the Micro Focus solutions that assist modernization and digital transformation, along with analyst commentary about their effectiveness. Find me on Twitter in the meantime if you’d like to hook up or check out the Application Modernization and Connectivity section on the Micro Focus website for the most comprehensive set of products/offerings you will find anywhere……

Que Mangus

Director of Product Marketing

Micro Focus

follow me on twitter or connect on LinkedIn

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