3 min

Increase Agility and Innovation Through Application Modernization

Faster time to market and a better user experience are just two key benefits of this valuable development strategy.

Organizations have several compelling reasons to modernize applications, but one of the biggest is that it enables them to update application features quickly and easily. That translates to a more agile process, faster time to market and a better user experience — all essential in today’s competitive environment. 

Application modernization is basically the practice of using cloud-native solutions. Traditionally, applications have required developers to spin up monolithic environments that involved a host of dependencies. To make any changes, developers had to bring a server or application down, update the code and then update the server and all the configurations within it.

Cloud-native and microservices architectures, by contrast, have much more limited dependencies. Developers no longer have to spin down servers or plan major release updates because the application is dispersed into multiple workloads that are independently managed. Updating is faster, with limited or no downtime, and there is a reduced risk of users being unable to access features or functionality. That ease of management leads to a host of other benefits for stakeholders in the IT department and in lines of business.

Inventory Applications to Identify Modernization Opportunities

The three major public cloud providers offer their own unique services when it comes to cloud-native architectures. In a multicloud environment, an organization can use the platforms that best fit its specific applications. A multicloud approach by itself can provide a competitive advantage, but with application development, multicloud also helps drive innovation. That’s key because capacity for innovation is becoming a critical factor in developmental processes.

Using application modernization to speed up time to market — and reduce the internal resources required to get there — delivers significant value. Often, however, organizations miss out on these benefits because they automatically move to Software as a Service rather than taking inventory of their application portfolio for modernization opportunities. SaaS makes sense in some cases, of course. But in other cases, organizations could leverage their intellectual property to modernize and monetize in-house applications. An important step, then, is to assess the portfolio to identify applications where modernization makes sense.

Extend the Benefits of Modernization from the IT Department to Business Units

On the development side, application modernization increases agility. Traditionally, developers had to manage their code and their infrastructure, all while working with various teams to ensure that their code and their applications achieved an ideal state for the business. Now, developers can focus purely on developing the code and adjusting it as needed almost instantaneously. In a cloud-native environment, they don’t have to wait for operations to procure then rack, stack and maintain (and ultimately decommission) the needed infrastructure. 

Product managers, marketing teams and other business units also have a stake in applications. In a microservices environment, it is much easier and faster to find and fix coding errors through automated testing and mature continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines. That leads to massive increases in application uptime, because organizations can send new releases into production faster than ever. In essence, this turns IT operations from what was historically a cost center into a profit center. Applications themselves can be monetized, and associated costs can be reduced dramatically.

Retailers, for example, are modernizing applications to make shopping experiences more frictionless; for example, by offering buy online, pickup in store or online-only transactions. The ability to integrate the many systems in the buying process has been transformed by modernizing the applications within that retail supply chain. Checkout, product research and transactions are all enabled through the digital experience. The only way to make that more frictionless is to modernize legacy applications so there are no roadblocks in the buying experience.

Application modernization is a development strategy with the potential to deliver big benefits — for developers, certainly, but also for business units and customers.

Story by Mark Bernardo, who has a broad base of expertise enabling an understanding of the big picture. His ability to identify gaps and discover solutions to technical and business use cases helps customers maximize ROI, reduce costs, follow universal principals and achieve operational performance. Mark brings unique perspectives, having come from a nursing and health sciences background prior to working in IT. From there, he served various roles within CDW, providing solutions and services across 2000-plus partners for seven years. He is certified in all three major clouds: AWS Cloud Practitioner, AZ900, Google Cloud Digital Leader (in process).