4 Oct - Cloud Native // By Zoe Jacobs

Application Modernization Strategy: Essential Steps for Effective Deployment

Innovative enterprises understand the business and technical value of application modernization. Whether the organization is undergoing a digital transformation, developing an enterprise digital strategy, planning for a merger or acquisition, or finding itself held back by its outdated infrastructure, modernizing legacy applications is a crucial milestone in the growth journey of a business. 

What is Legacy Application Modernization?

Legacy modernization happens when a company’s applications and infrastructure are outdated, prohibiting advancement, or unable to support new initiatives and are updated to meet modern standards. This occurs through application modernization trends such as cloud migration, retiring, replacing, rehosting, refactoring, or consolidating legacy applications and systems. 

The Importance of Application Modernization

Adopting cloud is imperative for companies evolving to reinvent their industry or outpace their competition through technology innovation, but complicated legacy applications and technical debt can make this transformation feel like a mountain they’re not ready to climb. With a solid plan, initial investment, and the right partner, application modernization is attainable and opens the door to business innovation. 

Though sometimes difficult to quantify, the ROI of migrating applications to the cloud outweighs the initial investment when done with attention to detail and the right strategy and procedure. 

IT and business leaders need to deliver a business case for cloud migration and may not be sure where or how to get started. Don’t think of application modernization as only an IT initiative—it is just as much a strategic business initiative. Through application modernization, a business can deliver organizational cost savings, business agility, and speed in innovation. It begins with a stalwart legacy application modernization strategy.

Legacy Application Modernization Strategies

When clients come to us to help them modernize their legacy applications, our approach starts with a vital strategic plan. We engage through a cost-effective phased approach, beginning with three steps to form the application modernization strategy. 

Step 1: Prioritization & Technical Analysis

Before investing in cloud migration, we must understand each application’s components and dependencies and technical readiness for the cloud. Evaluate each application and identify which have the highest value to be gained from migrating to the cloud. We usually accomplish this via stakeholder interviews or a survey with IT and business owners to understand the technical and business impacts and gauge the potential business value of cloud for each application.

Step 2: Cost-Benefit Analysis

Cloud migration is an investment that must be carefully considered. Both the technical, tangible benefits, and intangible benefits are part of the business value evaluation. Consider also the costs of not migrating—what opportunities are lost? How would not migrating the application hinder or prevent business growth? This analysis helps us determine the cost delta—cloud mapping and cost estimation are part of the process as well to guide decision making for each application. 

Step 3: Roadmap

Once we know which apps to migrate based on determined business value, we can identify when to schedule migration. Each application has dependencies and we want to ensure the best timing for the investment based on the technical needs, interdependencies, potential downtime, and downstream impacts. The roadmap also demonstrates how the migration will enable growth and drive innovation towards business goals.

Important questions to explore when creating a legacy application modernization strategy include:

  • Which applications need to be migrated together due to interdependencies?
  • What order makes the most sense to take in modernizing?  
  • What outliers and effects will modernization have on operations?
  • When should downtime be considered?
  • Which resources need to be involved, contacted, or made aware?
  • How do these outcomes contribute to achieving our strategic objectives?

Application Modernization Approach 

When we engage with clients for these types of projects, we always review the existing IT operating model and map it to a cloud-optimized model—this allows the organization to understand the full scale and impacts. Enabling the organization to embrace rapid innovation practices and feel prepared are some of the key benefits of a strategic approach to application modernization. 

Performing a business technology landscape review also ensures the migration strategy and technology map align. Through this process, along with the strategic plan, application modernization becomes manageable and achievable.

Examples of Application Modernization

Productive Edge has a history of successful application modernization projects. Here are two examples:

A client had legacy technology investments that had high maintenance costs, feature sets that overlapped, and outdated infrastructure that prevented them from being able to innovate. They weren’t sure of the best path to take to modernize and converge their platforms. Together we assessed over a dozen applications to create an actionable blueprint for their application modernization and cloud migration strategy. Through a prioritized modernization roadmap and cost evaluation, we guided business and IT leaders to align and successfully modernize their architecture. 

One of our retail clients needed a centralized modern data and cloud platform to deliver new solutions to their stores. First, we communicated the value of Azure Cloud and ability to create modern business solutions to their business and IT leaders. With alignment on their goals and expected outcomes, we assessed their systems and created an actionable roadmap. Through this engagement, we centralized their data infrastructure and enabled impressive growth and innovation for a new phase of their business. 

Ready to modernize your legacy applications?

With a focus on business outcomes, we reduce risk while enabling rapid innovation. Depending on the number of applications in your portfolio, P/E will deliver a full cloud migration and app modernization strategy and roadmap in just 6 to 8 weeks. Contact us 

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Application Modernization Strategy: Essential Steps for Effective Deployment