In a word, the one objective for IT in the year 2021 is agility. That is why organizations are rushing to modernize their legacy applications in the cloud. Application modernization is the process of taking existing legacy applications (for example, Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, or even home-grown systems,) and strategically modernizing them in a way that integrates and unifies every aspect of the underlying business process. This ensures that trusted data can be available to anyone in the organization who needs it.
Application modernization is an urgent initiative for IT organizations, which are under incredible pressure right now. They’ve been asked to deliver on business transformations and adjust to sudden shifts in market conditions. I’ve spoken to dozens of customers: large enterprises and SMBs across a variety of industries. Here are some of their stories:
How do you achieve agility? To deliver on new business opportunities, organizations need system and process agility. What is holding them back? Large, monolithic, expensive, brittle, and inflexible applications. And I’m not just talking about a small number of these applications; CIOs I talk to report having enormous application spread, with hundreds or even thousands of applications and data repositories, where a line-of-business manager with a credit card can purchase a new SaaS app and totally redefine the underlying business process.
Application modernization addresses the urgent need to evolve to modern, cloud-native applications. Whatever your starting point, you may be looking at one (or all three) of the following paths:
Despite the urgency of modernization, the challenges are significant. In fact, 74% of modernization efforts fail. That’s quite a stat.
I could list a dozen challenges IT leaders face in modernizing their applications – everything from mandates for multi-cloud, CI/CD, and GDPR, all the way through developer expectations for productivity and the use of MLOps. But in my conversations, these five reasons come up most frequently
In many organizations, business groups have run amok, making technology decisions, like buying or developing applications, on their own without consulting IT. This has resulted in a massive number of apps and data stores, many redundant or overlapping in functionality. Cloud use in particular is out of control in some organizations, since anyone with a credit card can procure cloud services or SaaS applications for a department or division. IT is having trouble reigning in these “shadow IT” activities, which leads to runaway costs and inefficient – because not integrated – business processes.
The approach of app-to-app, or point-to-point, integrations is simply not an option in a world where hundreds — or thousands — of apps are being spun up by pretty much anyone. Deploying a new application is often the result of, or the cause of, a change in the business process. Modernization cannot happen if these new cloud applications exist in silos, as this fragments data across the enterprise. Modernization fails if a new modern cloud application brought in for sales automation, human resources, or marketing can’t communicate with a mission-critical legacy ERP application or integrate with its established business processes.
Many organizations simply make existing applications cloud-compatible by slapping cloud APIs on legacy apps and calling it a day. Although this is the easiest route for getting apps into the cloud, these “cloud-washed” apps are difficult to scale. APIs are necessary but not the whole answer. Application modernization often means refactoring and breaking down big, heavy monolithic applications into a collection of small, loosely coupled microservices developed expressly for the cloud.
Existing tools to help with app modernization are difficult to learn and use, and require special expertise by trained professionals. Also, until recently, there were gaps in the marketplace for necessary functionality that existing tools didn’t cover. A full 78% of your users say they want simpler, more reliable, and easier-to-use tools. Adding to this problem is the need to expand the number of people capable of developing, deploying, managing, and monitoring applications, integrations and APIs. These tools must allow “citizen developers” to work in harmony with “code developers.”
The biggest constraining factor – the one complaint I’ve heard more often than any other – is budget. Yes, of course, you can solve world hunger with an unlimited budget. In the real world, every single initiative is judged by three dreaded letters: ROI. Terms like time-to-value and total cost of ownership are critically important to your application modernization effort.
To meet these challenges, organizations need an approach to application modernization that enables three key criteria for enterprise success: simplicity, productivity, and scale.
On Thursday, February 11, Informatica will host the AI-powered App Modernization Summit. In it, you’ll hear from industry luminaries and real-life customers about proven strategies for application modernization. You’ll also learn about the breadth and depth of Informatica’s AI-powered IICS platform, which delivers the simplicity, productivity and scale necessary for application modernization success.