The use of the cloud by enterprises has become ubiquitous in a changing pandemic world. Fifty-one percent of IT spending by enterprise IT groups will shift to the cloud by 2025, according to Gartner. But despite that number, many are still figuring out that they are severely limited without application modernization, cloud benefits, and the resulting business benefits.
These businesses and organizations have existed for decades, and legacy applications are a core part of how they operate daily. But it often becomes a murky proposition to determine what applications to modernize and why. As business and market need change, enterprises are still figuring out how to get the most out of the cloud. Everyone can benefit from understanding some of the most universal reasons modernizing legacy applications brings tangible business benefits with high ROI.
Businesses Do Not Build Legacy Applications for Cloud Compatibility
Although a typical enterprise has thousands of applications, only 20 percent of them are truly mission critical in ways that determine how the business will meet changing needs and opportunities. These legacy applications are not compatible with getting the most out of the cloud because they are often monolithic and run on legacy infrastructure like older mainframes. From the complex dependencies to the codebase, these applications have become massive over time.
You can only gain the advantages of current and future business opportunities that require agility, scalability, and seamless remote access through modernization. While businesses can move some aspects of these applications to the cloud in their present form, the benefits of the cloud are severely limited. They often will create more performance and cost problems than they solve without modernization. Not modernizing your systems is likely to lead to increased cost and support burdens to go with decreased performance.
Earlier blog posts have talked about the different application migration methods that prepare them for the cloud. For most of that 20 percent of enterprise applications that can truly benefit the business in the cloud, they all will need some level of modernization. For the most monolithic and mission critical apps, we have seen refactoring or re-architecting them to create a cloud-native environment as the best way to open those possibilities of:
- Faster and more agile operations
- Faster time to market
- Greater scalability
- Increased agility to respond to business and market changes
- Lower operational costs and maintenance
- New services
- Faster updates
- Opening new lines of business and markets
- Improving customer experience that leads to brand, market share and top/bottom line growth.
Cloud-native platforms will be the foundation for over 95% of new digital initiatives by 2025, according to Gartner. Application modernization enables your business to leverage newer and more expanded functionalities and innovation possibilities. It enables you to do this without investing in third-party solutions to bridge the gap for a legacy application that cannot handle these possibilities. Modernization benefits internal users as much as customers, whether it’s an enterprise or customer-facing application.
This level of application modernization through re-architecting can be challenging and complex, but there are ways to leapfrog over these complex and cost steps and challenges. This can help you avoid the enormous costs of rip and replace of legacy infrastructure by incrementally reaching your business outcome goals. The ultimate goal and the benefits of modernizing these legacy applications to make them cloud-native doesn’t have to happen all at once to see business benefits with high ROI.
This often aligns better with IT budgets while providing greater use of the cloud and business benefits in incremental steps as you move to a cloud-native application environment. When you have a detailed migration plan that includes specific business outcomes, it will drive modernization based on needs today and needs tomorrow.
Eliminating High Maintenance Costs and IT Personnel Time
The longer you run a legacy application in associated legacy infrastructure, the more technical debt you accrue that requires innovative solutions. The destiny of every application is not necessarily the cloud. And those that are a good fit can take different routes, like switching from on-prem to SaaS solution.
It’s also important to understand the amount of IT personnel time and costs that you’re devoting to maintaining legacy apps on premises. You also need a clear picture of the costs of running that application in the cloud when it’s modernized and when it’s not.
Legacy apps on prem are costly to maintain with diminishing ROI. You’re only trading out one type of time and cost loss for another if you move them to the cloud without a strategic plan for modernization. You build your legacy apps for a different infrastructure (on-prem), and they become bloated and slow because of changes over the years. The IT personnel that created the code long ago may not even work with your enterprise any longer, and the update and change history can be spotty or nonexistent.
With the right migrations strategy and IT team expertise, you can reduce maintenance costs enormously and free your IT and developer team to work on larger projects. Updating the modernized application for new services functions or operating abilities can be much faster and easier. That saves time to market and costs on the update end and the usage end with no glitches and risks that slow down internal application business functions and customer-facing access and services.
Eliminating Downtime Risks of Legacy Applications
It’s almost a given that your IT team is spending lots of time avoiding on-prem legacy application breakdowns and the same risks can happen in the cloud without modernization. Every new patch, release, or update to this legacy application could lead to breakdowns that cost time and money.
Legacy application breakdowns in the cloud can also happen because of insufficient cloud management and migration expertise available for your IT team. Having the support of a cloud modernization expert team that can deliver fixed bid project pricing while providing all the expertise and personnel that the project/IT team needs is the ideal. This will ensure the defined business outcomes of the modernization and its compatibility with the cloud environment.
Greater Security and Easier Regulatory Compliance
Application security is paramount with so many data endpoints and new ways of attacking apps and infrastructure. Application modernization can provide greater data security over legacy applications in vital sectors like healthcare, financial services, and others dealing with a changing cybersecurity landscape. Developers have far more digital transformation security tools, methodologies, and platforms that are compatible with modern cloud application architectures and environments.
The data associated with most mission-critical applications will have personal identity information (PII) that can be finance, health, or identity related. This data in transit inside and outside of the enterprise application usage makes modernization imperative to lower risk of costly breaches and regulatory non-compliance. A modernized application can take advantage of the cloud’s many security functionalities and tools that protect application data.
Diminishing Legacy Application Expertise
Legacy applications often use older programming languages like Cobol, which is a programming language often associated with legacy mainframes. This has been an essential programming language for business applications for the past 60 years. But the pool of experts in the language is not growing in significant numbers. This means a pool of people in high demand that is often more mature, which raises the costs of hiring and keeping them.
Modernized applications use newer digital tools, platforms, and languages that have a very large and growing pool of younger experts. Because they fall across a wider spectrum with greater numbers, it can be much easier and more cost effective to find the right personnel for your IT team. You can even look at fractional IT project support from a cloud modernization partner to fill gaps when needed when either modernizing or working with modernized applications.
Application modernization is the best way to compete in a changing marketplace through innovation, operational efficiency, cost and time savings, lower risk, and business agility. There are still challenges for enterprises in making that leap despite the benefits. It often comes down to the time and talent of the IT team. Even if you have the necessary personnel, app modernization, and migration expertise in-house, you’re taking them away from other vital daily and long-term projects for the enterprise.
Hiring the right experts and enough personnel isn’t always an option in terms of the budget and the ongoing need for their services full time. Many enterprises are partnering with experienced cloud modernization partners. This makes it possible to get the application modernization, migration, and cloud experts they need either fractionally or as a full-blown project team.
The goal is to find a digital transformation company that really knows how to partner with your business and IT team, so they act as one team. This will make application modernization and overall digital transformations that fit your business outcome needs and budget in a marketplace of ever-changing needs.
To learn how Techolution can partner with you to realize application modernization that delivers big business benefits, follow this link.