Town Hall: Now Is the Time to Modernize Your Applications
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Author:CSC Town Hall
Replatforming? Replacing? Revamping? Modernizing your legacy applications is a step-by-step process, and business expectations for modernization are evolving.
This Town Hall explores why, how and when to extend the life of legacy applications through modernization to achieve IT or business goals.
- Mike Williams, General Manager, Application Modernization and Cloud
- Diana Billingham Global Solution Director, Application Modernization & Cloud
- Lewis Richards, Senior Manager, Global Applications Portfolio
- Raj Ramaswamy, Global Applications Engagement Manager
- Jeff Caruso, Senior Managing Editor, CSC
Now Is the Time to Modernize Your Applications
Applications are the lifeblood of any organization - but they get older, they get outdated and they can hold you back. This CSC Town Hall discussed how, when and why to extend the life of legacy applications through modernization.
Modernization is a discipline of application portfolio management that provides direction to simplify and extend the life of a legacy environment. Modernizing applications doesn't add new features, but it does include revising applications to take advantage of new technologies like mobility, a cloud architecture or analytics.
Mike Williams, general manager for applications modernization and cloud at CSC, says a nexus of forces are driving the interest in modernization. "On the one side we have this heavy asset environment from which we need to take cost out, and on the other we have innovation and a move toward as-a-service consumption," Williams says. "Modernization realizes both of those goals."
While there are cases for replacing applications with new apps built from scratch, Diana Billingham, global solution director for application modernization and cloud at CSC, says modernization often makes more sense. "When you've invested in applications that serve sound business practices or contain significant intellectual property, there's no particular advantage in changing the functionality," Billingham says. "However, letting them run 'as is' isn't an option because legacy code isn't designed to connect to modern devices and applications without significant reengineering. You're missing opportunities to enable BYOD or to bring products to market faster."
Lewis Richards, a senior manager for global applications at CSC, says that a company considering application modernization should keep a few things in mind. "We're seeing a shift toward 'outside-in,' adopting outside services like the as-a-service consumption model, app stores, BYOD, as part of the IT infrastructure and culture. Apps modernization will help CIOs begin to address this outside-in ecosystem that's evolving."
Application modernization typically falls into one of four broad treatment categories: replatforming, revamping, replacement or extension. Replatforming modernizes the infrastructure requiring the application to be adapted. No new functionality is added. Revamping or simplification combs through the application portfolio to reduce the overall cost of maintenance. That may include the consolidation of redundant applications. Replacement targets certain components within an application, perhaps replacing part of an application with a cloud-based SaaS module. Extending an application adds functionality such as mobility or analytics.
As companies consider what to update, understanding the role and purpose of the application will help you figure out the right option. "Some applications be brought forward, some left behind and some might be retired. You might even retire an application to cloud so it can be preserved in case you need it in the future," Williams says.
Technologies like mobility create opportunities for a legacy application to benefit from modernization beyond simply extending its life. "Often times we can create new markets or accelerate the product lifecycle by bringing mobility into those environments, such as joining up an application with a GPS," Williams says.
Raj Ramaswamy, global applications engagement manager at CSC, says one client's current modernization effort is moving the entire enterprise to an as-a-service organization driven by the desire for a standardized platform, infrastructure and capabilities.
"We're following three modernization strategies, the first of which is consolidation because, for example, this customer has 26 billing applications," Ramaswamy says. "We're then shifting to a standardized platform with a small set of environments to be adopted across the enterprise. The last part is refactoring a large portfolio of applications to run on this standardized platform."
Richards says that over time, the approach to modernization will codify into modules that can be quickly deployed, rather than large-scale custom solutions. "As the digital economy grows, there will be a proliferation of new avenues to support. Application modernization is the transitional piece of work that will underpin our customers' ability to be agile," he says.
Other topics discussed in this Town Hall include:
• IT challenges that modernization can address
• Incorporating securing into a modernization strategy
• Determining what modernization approach to use
• The shift from owned applications to consumed applications
• Speed as a critical factor in modernization
• Modernization lessons learned