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Application Modernization

What is application modernization?

Application modernization, or app modernization, is the process of updating legacy applications and modernizing approaches that further business objectives. Legacy applications are modernized by implementing new methodologies or encapsulating modern technology. Modernized technology is formulated through cloud, applications & infrastructure solutions that utilize microservices, Kubernetes, containers and more. Enterprises embarking on an application modernization journey must maintain existing applications that work with new applications built with cloud-native tools.

New applications or practices provide the scalability and efficiency enabled by cloud computing while reusing existing services and applications. Often cloud migration is just a “lift and shift” of legacy applications to the cloud. However, application modernization should reposition an application beyond a “lift and shift” to solve business problems. Application modernization requires a focus on business needs and outcomes while assessing performance for the business and prioritizing based on where you will get the most benefit from former applications.

Establishing a foundation for application modernization

Approaches and strategies for legacy application modernization begin with cloud migration. Many large organizations have thousands of legacy applications that need to be migrated in some way. Cost control and speed of implementation are crucial factors, requiring large-scale automation and assured security, along with an imperative to keep operations up and running during the transition.

To help ensure real-time, seamless, and enduring business gains from a cloud migration project, organizations can use the following six strategies, commonly referred to as the 6R framework, based on five strategies initially coined by Gartner analyst Richard Watson.

Repurchase or “drop and shop” completely replaces a legacy application for a cloud-based solution.

Rehost or the “lift and shift” approach moves legacy applications from on-premises to the cloud without modification.

Replatform, or the “lift and shift” strategy, moves legacy applications almost as-is while possibly replacing some components to take advantage of the cloud.

Refractor or Rearchitect of a legacy application aims to completely overhaul and adapt it to the cloud.

The final two Rs, Retire and Retain, are passive and don’t involve migrating an application to the cloud.

What are the benefits of application modernization?

  • Agility: Application modernization strategies allow for improved time to market. New or updated applications allow for streamlined automation. For example, with modernized applications, the software building process is efficient, resulting in faster time to market and an improved patching process. Application release cycles can be shorter to help organizations achieve their business objectives faster and respond to emerging opportunities in a more agile way.
  • Scalability: Application modernization leverages the cloud to scale business or rightsize necessary infrastructure. Scalability allows applications to convert necessary data and infrastructure based on business needs. Scalability, in many cases, lowers operating costs and serves the bottom line.
  • Availability: Availability occurs when an organization builds application infrastructure that runs 24/7. The availability of the application adjusts automatically based on demand and prevents restoration time when high demand or outages occur. Availability of an application software enables disaster prevention, recovery and resiliency during high-demand seasons.
  • Business Enablement: Modernizing your critical business applications should further business objectives, whether that’s widening a customer base, increasing revenue, or improving customer experience. It begins by understanding what applications currently satisfy business needs and where there are gaps that need to be filled. What parts of your applications are no longer fulfilling current business objectives? Solve your business challenges by finding modern approaches and modern technologies to move to the next level. Elevate new technology and reposition it to solve the problems you are faced with today.

What challenges do businesses face that application modernization helps solve?

In the wake of a digital revolution, unprecedented convergence of technology, social and regulatory forces combined with market demand to prompt organizations to rapidly adapt to new business conditions. For businesses to compete in the market, online infrastructures have to be continually available, run smoothly and adapt to change. Application infrastructures must enable a remote workforce, more online shopping, greater cloud usage, and more. Modernizing legacy applications is essential for organizations to uphold pre-existing business objectives and face future change.

How does application modernization serve different industries?

Highly regulated industries such as the public sector, healthcare, manufacturing and finance, can use application and infrastructure modernization strategies to enhance compliance by building it into the new infrastructure. As industries like banking and healthcare update and migrate legacy software infrastructures, they can use application modernization to embed important software to help ensure regulatory compliance.

Application modernization is industry agnostic and has use cases beyond highly regulated sectors.

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