Two of the unfortunate constants heard around IT in many enterprises are “we don’t have the budget for new applications,” and “it works fine, what’s the problem?” Valid or not, these companies are being left behind by competitors – companies whose applications can deliver smarter data insights and users who can benefit from the latest on-premises or public/private cloud applications with smart features that enable joined-up business operations and thinking.
Whether applications reside within the data center or the cloud, businesses continue to migrate services and applications to take advantage of the endless resources of the cloud and the ever-growing feature set. While in-house applications may require redesign or rearchitecting to support unique customizations and features, increasingly they must link to broader applications to deliver business functionality (and even fresh products) in new ways.
To that end, CIOs and DevOps leaders must take the need for application modernization seriously and deliver proven results of modern applications that meet business needs for now and along the roadmap. As part of that, continuous data replication synchronizes data across sources to ensure continuity.
The drive for application modernization
Application modernization is high on the agenda for enterprises with a growing backlog of legacy applications. As they return to post-COVID forward momentum, many leaders saw the light of modern, agile cloud applications and services.
Those weighed down by legacy applications, data silos, limited connectivity and other issues need to push the issue up the agenda to force change through. After all, every year they remain in place is another year of competitive advantage lost and staff more likely to move to more progressive organizations.
Gartner advised on updating legacy applications before COVID struck, and their advice is even more useful now.
The challenges associated with application modernization
CIOs and IT leaders need to identify the current state of their applications, evaluate the losses they’re incurring from running out-of-date software, and then consider the financial and operational benefits of updating them.
Any new effort, perhaps as part of an overall digital business strategy or a phased process to update applications, needs to align with current and future business objectives and deliver value to users and the business.
For efficiency’s sake, any enterprise should create an action team to follow best practices that identify:
- Applications which can deliver the greatest business
- Applications that can be updated relatively simply
- Applications that can be deleted or integrated into other applications or are too complex or low value to update
New or updated applications should help connect teams and departments, and integrate with multiple data sources to deliver maximum productivity and growth in line with business goals and expansion.
For financial, health and other highly-regulated industries, there remains the need for high visibility and control, balanced with application performance, and data governance to ensure continued availability, security and compatibility. Even those with looser restrictions should follow similar best practices.
Many modernization efforts focus on APIs to create customizable and flexible applications, McKinsey noted of new banking API-based applications: “With their ability to support interconnections among all manner of devices, applications, and data, APIs facilitate a growing range of internal and external bank strategies and activities.”
Continuous replication overcomes unreliable data movement
After the business has understood the need, best practices and processes of updating and/or migrating applications, there are tools and services to help support the application modernization process. These should be chosen based on a best-fit selection process, but can help speed up modernization, limit errors and ensure data compatibility and continuity.
Quest’s Application Modernization solution supports the process by modeling new systems and migrating data safely, which is key to delivering a fault-free upgrade process. Automation speeds the process along, ensuring new applications run at improved speeds and scanning data that may be sensitive to ensure it’s treated with caution.
For applications that prove more difficult to migrate or upgrade, data replication tools help overcome unreliable data movement with continuous replication of data from legacy systems to modernized architectures, ensuring the migration will work smoothly. When the legacy app is ready to be discontinued, the latest data will be available for the new version.
This type of feature helps bridge the communication gap between IT and business users, reducing the risk of confusion between teams and ensuring that data transformations match data type mappings and platform differences.
As big data applications become the norm, enterprises will require applications that are flexible and seamlessly integrate so users can create new business value, all while operating in a reliable, efficient manner and being easier to customize or reconfigure.
As application performance increases and data becomes democratized, business users can find new benefits that deliver value in improved processes, financial gains, efficiency savings or other means. However, none of this can happen with a collection of legacy applications that unhappy users struggle with.
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