What is Application Modernization? | Kanini

We live in a world that is constantly disrupted by technology so much that it is now the rule rather than an exception. And businesses or organizations need to be agile enough to adapt at draconian speeds to the changing customer needs to gain momentum and a competitive edge. While agility has become a business necessity, it’s important to recognize the pressure it puts on enterprise applications or systems to cope with the technical requirements to drive business at speed.

Business-critical applications are the set of software that ensures your business continuity, even in unprecedented times like Covid 19. If they go down, your business goes down! They are the ones that can break your processes and paralyze your everyday productivity if and when they fail. That could lead to short or long-term financial losses, loss of brand credibility, decreased productivity, and loss of customer and partner’s trust.

Why Application Modernization?

Application modernization is the process of repurposing, refactoring, or consolidating existing business applications for a better alignment with the business needs and demands of the market. An organization can think of modernizing its applications in two scenarios:

1. To enhance legacy applications and achieve efficiency:

A recent research by MuleSoft in collaboration with Deloitte states that while enterprises are starting to rationalize their business applications, they are still managing hundreds of applications. The number of applications the average enterprise runs in 2021 is 843. A number of these applications are running on legacy systems like on-premises ERPs or old mainframes. These legacy applications hold business-critical data, like customer records or order history repositories, that helps perform critical functions such as determining mortgage eligibility or reminding for a critical healthcare service.

These business-critical applications are usually run on systems that are not scalable in line with the increased number of calls that come from the newer mobile applications, SaaS apps, IoT applications, and other systems. The reason is that the legacy systems do not support seamless data flow among different applications due to a lack of integration. Therefore, they are not well-suited to facilitating the implementation and adoption of modern technologies and hence need to be modernized.

Such legacy apps can be modernized by migrating them to a new and advanced cloud platform, upgrading their technology stack, improving application architecture, or just adding innovative features with cutting-edge technologies.

2. To prepare and adapt to the changing business needs:

Contrary to legacy modernization, a newly built application can also be taken for modernization by visualizing it through a more futuristic lens. As many organizations are taking on the route to digital transformation, evolving their applications into next-gen and enhancing them to be customer-/business-centric has become inevitable.

Gartner mentioned that only 12% of the organizations were highly prepared for the impact of Covid19. And here’s another shocker – over 100,000 small businesses that temporarily closed due to Covid went out of business. In the US alone! – That number only covers the recorded businesses that disappeared. It is a lot higher than that! This means that organizations were not prepared for such unprecedented times to ensure business continuity.

That said, ensuring business continuity by modernizing business-critical applications (either legacy or newly built) should now be a more obvious focus than ever for enterprises across the globe to prepare and adapt to the changing times. How do you approach modernizing your business-critical applications?

3 Best Ways to Modernize Your Applications

If organizations want to realize the full potential of digital transformation, legacy and inefficient tech applications/systems must be replaced by better and innovative solutions. How do you approach modernizing your business-critical applications? Here are 3 best ways:

1. Leverage Cloud:

Applications on physical servers limit the ability to scale. Migrating applications to the Cloud and running the architecture on the Cloud offers greater scalability, business continuity, and better security. By leveraging the Cloud, organizations realize the benefits of cloud adoption such as lower-cost storage options, a better scope for automation, flexibility, and elastic infrastructure.  Application migration to the Cloud can be done in three specific scenarios:

  • In case of a simple re-hosting where no specific change is required and no new functionality is added, moving to the cloud is just a “lift and shift” process – yet offering the benefits of Cloud computing.
  • Many organizations proceed to application re-platforming – they make their applications more robust and dynamic in the modern digital environment. In this case, applications are not only moved to the Cloud but a few changes are also done to the application to add new cloud functionalities.
  • The next approach is refactoring. In this case, organizations onboard a team of application modernization service providers with a team of developers to modify their existing applications to make them better suitable for the cloud environment.

2. Adopt APIs:

Due to the complexity of legacy applications, it is quite challenging to integrate them with other systems or applications. To eliminate this bottleneck, IT teams need a way to modernize these legacy systems by extracting core data and services from the underlying system complexity. By leveraging APIs, the IT team can expose the data and functionality of legacy applications. APIs enable such applications to be reusable, updated, and modified effortlessly and efficiently leveraged to build new applications and services. Adding APIs to on-premises systems can connect them to other modern applications and preserve your existing investments. No application updates or customizations are required.

3. Utilize Microservices:

Building new applications implementing microservices-based application architecture is an approach many leading organizations are adopting today to modernize their existing application stack. Because of the modularity and scalability of microservices-based applications, they can easily integrate with existing applications, data sources, and business processes within the organization. Seamless integration helps drive successful digital transformation.

Challenges of Modernizing Business-critical Applications

The modernization process can prove challenging for many reasons—employees may resist the change to their activities, leadership may have questions regarding the costs accompanied by modernization. Some more such challenges include:

  1. Knowledge and expertise deficiency: There is still a skill gap that organizations deal with while leveraging cloud platforms and cloud-native application development efficiently for modernizing business-critical applications.
  2. Dismantling a monolith is not easy: It can be quite daunting to take stock of all the existing data. It requires determining which application to choose first by assessing various factors such as its data and business process dependencies, technology, business value, and compatibility with the modernization approaches, etc.
  3. Lack of a unified management approach: Continuously managing without an integrated, holistic approach that can intelligently map workloads especially in hybrid IT environments is another common hurdle for application modernization. Some necessary activities you need to take up for efficiently managing modernization include – orchestrating processes, improving performance, and enabling automation to accelerate.
  4. Cultural gap: Cloud-native thinking requires a new approach to application development and operations. A lot of organizations, especially SMBs, often find a huge gap between traditional work processes and agile IT processes, and that journey can see a lot of turbulence.

The Way Forward

Organizations are increasingly embracing modernization approaches to keep their offerings or services critical and relevant to their customers. But how can tech leaders overcome the common challenges of modernizing their organizations’ business-critical applications?

It doesn’t really matter if your organization is a large-scale or an SMB, and which industry it belongs to. Any organization must quickly adopt modern technologies to improve your application stack, thereby prepare and adapt for new challenges – or be ready to lose out to the competition. However, it’s exceedingly important to have a clear plan of action and a supportive infrastructure to ensure your business-critical applications are proactively monitored, improved, and maintained.

If you are ready to embark on your app modernization initiative or in the middle of it, a trusted IT vendor partner like KANINI can help you overcome the hurdles on your path and drive your journey to success.  To know more about how KANINI can help you accomplish your legacy modernization and digital transformation goals, reach us at transformations@kanini.com.

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