What to Include in Your Application Modernization Strategy

Jul 20, 2021 | Clint Adkins

What is an Application Modernization Strategy?

An application modernization strategy is a uniquely formulated plan designed to help you execute your application modernization. Also known as legacy or software modernization, application modernization is the conversion, rewriting, or porting over a legacy system to modern computer programming languages, architectures, software libraries, protocols, or hardware platforms. When executed with an effective application modernization strategy, this helps to extend the value of the application through migration to new platforms, which brings the benefits of the latest technology with them.

When Coretek approaches developing an application modernization strategy, we do so under the assumption we will be using Microsoft Azure. Azure enables businesses to reduce and control costs, improve agility in application performance, enable continuous delivery, enhance app development with DevOps, and simplify support of applications.

Which Businesses Should Consider Application Modernization?

There are many businesses that can benefit from modernizing their applications. At the rate technology advances, it is vital to your business's success to plan a technology roadmap for the future. If you’re stuck with legacy technology, you likely cannot scale to meet the demands of your customers. However, application modernization benefits some businesses more than others based on your industry and overall business goals. Below is our list of the types of organizations that tend to reap the most significant rewards from modernizing applications in the cloud.

SaaS Companies

SaaS companies are organizations that use software to provide customers with a service. These types of businesses create, develop, host, and update their product themselves or in-house. And many SaaS companies require the support of an entire in-house development team to keep their product or service on a predictable and constantly moving application lifecycle. Therefore, application modernization is essential to the long-term success of companies like these. They must be able to scale quickly to meet the demands of their customer base and plan for the future without worrying about the capital cost of new technology. In addition, they get the benefits of a more stable application and a reduction of ongoing support costs.

Companies with In-House Development Teams

"All companies are software companies. Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company,” says Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Some businesses may not consider themselves SaaS companies. Still, to continue to deliver value to their customer base or compete in a market where customers require access to mobile apps, they hire a team of developers to build and maintain their applications. These businesses include automotive companies competing in the electric vehicle space, retail, and grocery chains that develop B2C mobile shopping and ordering apps, utility providers offering a customer login for payment and account management, and some healthcare organizations looking to modernize their patient care.

The 5-Part Application Modernization Strategy 

1. Discover Your Application or Database

The first step we take is to understand what your business is trying to accomplish. What is the business value that the organization needs to achieve with modernization, and how can those be integrated? We seek to define the outcomes required for:

  • Overall business value
  • Financial
  • Scalability
  • Quality
  • Consistency

Based on the outcomes needed and the complexity and dependencies, make directional decisions to use traditional PaaS versus a combination of PaaS and containerization. At this point, you might ask, what is containerization? Simply put, a container consists of an entire runtime environment: An application, plus all its dependencies, libraries and other binaries, and configuration files needed to run it, bundled into one package. By containerizing the application platform and its dependencies, differences in operating systems, distributions, and underlying infrastructure are eliminated. Containerization matters because it provides the ability to deploy a consistent application across environments and ensure releases and release management is quality (everything works when you deploy it, over and over and over again).

2. Compose the Assessment

Our team uses a unique tool called UnifyCloud in conjunction with the Microsoft Solution Assessment Team* to provide an App Innovation Assessment or App Mod Assessment. First, we import the application source code into UnifyCloud and assess the compatibility with different PaaS services or containerization, such as Kubernetes. Next, we identify compatibility issues and the exact location of the issues within the source code.

3. Build Migration Plan

The migration plan consists of the work effort for remediation and the project's cost expectations, including services and cloud cost consumption (TCO). The plan evaluates these against the expected outcomes to ensure the ROI exists.

4. Remediation

Remediation includes the findings from the assessment and/or building the containers to deploy to the cloud; in our case, we use Microsoft Azure.

5. Migration Time!

During migration, everything is deployed as code through pipelines. We typically use Terraform but can use ARM depending on the project's needs.

Don’t Over-Complicate App Modernization

This five-step strategy is our proven approach to application modernization. Even though it can sound a bit complicated, application modernization doesn't need to be as complex as you think. The complication comes when unnecessary remediation is forced into a project. Performing remediation is essential but not simply for the sake of doing it. 

Review step one above; this is the first and one of the most vital to the success of any application modernization project. Defining and then meeting the business needs and goals for the project is the most critical aspect of any app modernization project. Do that, and get the technical pieces right, and your project is off to a great start.

Want to learn more about application modernization strategy? Check out our eBook!

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