Key Challenges to Application Modernization

Alok Kansal Practice Head, AMS

When we think of application modernization, we tend to think “legacy” modernization. It’s assumed that discussion will revolve around mainframe systems and software — but that’s only part of the equation.

Deciding where to start. Most IT organizations are dealing with a complex landscape with multiple technologies and platforms, unsupported environments and legacy applications. Overlapping business processes, dependencies across applications and hard-wired integrations are just a few of the reasons why organizations don’t know where or even how to start.

Measuring the value of existing applications. Organizations that have mature processes and strict governance in place are in a better position to maintain metrics related to application cost, but most organizations lack this multi-dimensional data. There are three metrics that collectively help in measuring the value of an application: license and support contract costs; service, maintenance and enhancement costs; and total application lifecycle cost.

Lack of collaboration among development teams. This is a challenge on many levels, considering that the majority of enterprise applications are multiplatform in nature. The challenge further multiplies if an organization has grown through acquisitions, requiring application and hardware consolidation to the merged organization often a painful process. Despite these challenges, the ability to provide quality application support is critical, with the constant demand for new applications and the need to quickly integrate new technologies (usually with limited resources and funding).

If you’re migrating to the latest platform or upgrading your environment, Application Management Services (AMS) can help to modernize your IT assets all of them, not just mainframe systems and software. At Quinnox, we offer everything from application porting to integration services, web enablement and re-engineering to help you get there.

Modernization involves everything from mobile technologies to process improvements and finding the right combination of assets to ensure technology matches business agility. The scope encompasses all systems, from distributed applications written in Java to Microsoft technologies and object-oriented technologies.

Considering this all-encompassing scope, organizations face a number of challenges when they attempt to modernize their applications, including:

Inflexible, aging and poorly integrated IT systems. This can hinder an organization’s ability to quickly innovate and deliver new products and services to the marketplace. Add to this the challenge of an aging IT workforce, which creates concerns that key IT staff might retire with business and technical knowledge acquired over decades of building and maintaining the applications that run the business.

Identifying applications, data and process redundancies.

As an application portfolio grows over a period of time, many organizations start to see duplication — different users or departments will use different applications for the same business process, duplicating data and doubling maintenance for IT staff. Lack of communication across teams and limited documentation can make it difficult to identify these applications.

Poor alignment between IT and the business strategy.

Business users often complain that no matter what they ask for, IT tells them either they have to use the existing apps or wait until the current multi-year rollout is finished before the problem can be addressed. So existing apps aren’t actually providing value to users when they need it most.