Research Hub > How Can Application Rationalization Tools Ease Your Journey to the Cloud?

February 26, 2024

3 min

How Can Application Rationalization Tools Ease Your Journey to the Cloud?

CDW experts discuss the value of automated, AI-driven tools such as SAMA and SkyMap to help plan, monitor and execute cloud migration.

Cloud migration seems like it should be a simple process. After all, you upload the photos from your phone to online storage with just the touch of a fingertip and a little Wi-Fi, right?

But moving a federal agency’s data and applications to the cloud takes more than a widget that captures programs and projects and shifting them from on-premises location A to cloud-based location B.

“You can find a lot of financial, medical or business systems that are using languages you may not be familiar with — older technologies that do not easily lift and shift into something else,” said Mike Farahbakhshian, a business development manager for CDW Government.

“You’ve got issues with security,” he added. “And you may have a combination of an older code base, an older environment and often poorly documented or neglected documentation about the architecture of the system.”

The usual order of business is to bring in a team to rationalize the enterprise’s portfolio and see what can be moved to the cloud, what should be moved to the cloud and what isn’t needed at all. But in-house teams don’t always exist, and outside teams can be costly.

“Tools like SAMA and Skymap automate that process by deep-diving into everything from the code to the architecture,” Farahbakhshian said.

Application Rationalization Tools Provide a Clear Path for Modernization

SAMA stands for Strategic Application Modernization Assessment, a software tool designed to uncover potential modernization and cloud migration issues in the early stages of the process. SkyMap, another software tool, employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to find the best paths to the cloud for a particular enterprise.

“SAMA is an application rationalization tool,” said Greg Peters, a CDW solution architect for application modernization. “We rationalize all of the problems that they have across their entire portfolio, and then we provide them with some level of road mapping of the next steps they can take in their modernization.”

The Software as a Service tools — both exclusive to CDW — work hand-in-hand, but which one is used first depends on an agency’s situation.

If the IT architecture is built largely on proprietary software or applications built in-house, SAMA is the way to start, said Asim Iqbal, CTO for Enquizit (a CDW company). Those that use predominantly commercial off-the-shelf software can begin with SkyMap. The platforms run in a secure air gap in the agency’s data centers.

“If your need as a customer is to start from the code analysis side, we’ve got you,” Iqbal said. “And if your need is to start quickly and focus on infrastructure, we’ve got you just the same.”

Faster Analysis Uses Fewer Resources for More Migration Accomplishments

Generally, a full analysis of an agency’s application portfolio can take a standard team between 12 and 18 months, said Peters. With SAMA and SkyMap, he added, “we do it in one month.”

SkyMap also provides an automated dashboard and tracking system so that an agency knows exactly how its migration process is going. The larger the project, the more essential — and more difficult — it is for an agency to know how well the migration is moving, Farahbakhshian said.

“The project’s progress and stages are clear, and that is maintained in real time,” Iqbal added.

While SAMA and SkyMap utilize automation and artificial intelligence, people do remain in the loop. “You’re able to achieve the same results with fewer people and less burnout because you’re not working your resources as much,” said Farahbakhshian. “And you have an additional set of eyes for quality assurance to make sure you’re not missing anything.

“It does not remove the human element, and it shouldn’t,” Iqbal said. “It makes those interactions much more organized, much faster and non-repetitive. It’s your GPS to the cloud.”

Story by Elizabeth Neus, the managing editor of FedTech magazine and the producer of FedTech's award-winning Feds in the Field video series.

Elizabeth Neus

Former Managing Editor
Elizabeth Neus is the former managing editor of FedTech magazine and the former producer of FedTech's award-winning Feds in the Field video series.