When it comes to modernizing an application, one size definitely does not fit all. In fact, until you’ve fully answered the question of why you’re modernizing a particular application, you cannot formulate a successful modernization strategy.
The reason for modernization must form the basis for your goals, your approach, and (eventually) your roadmap. For example, if the reason is cost optimization, your project must demonstrate success in short time, and everything has to center around speed. In contrast, a modernization project that goes on for a couple of years will likely have a higher cost and take a longer time to break even, so it will have a completely different focus.
Here are my recommendations for creating a business-aligned modernization strategy:
- 1Don’t rule out any options. Modernization approaches can be classified into
four main categories: application re-platforming (change the underlying infrastructure platform), application transformation (reuse application code and transform it to new architecture), COTS/SaaS implementation (use a new vendor solution that provides similar functionality), or custom rewrite (start from scratch and implement a new application).
It’s important to realize that approaches that were formerly not viable have become possible as a result of new tools and technologies. For instance, cloud technology has made re-platforming of mainframe applications on open systems a valid option. Similarly, new tools are available to transform legacy architectures into a modern Java/.NET architecture with code that is fairly modular and optimized. All four approaches should be part of your modernization toolbox.
- 2 Use a structured approach. I recommend using a multi-dimensional framework like the one below to help define which modernization approach is best for which application.
Often, a hybrid approach is the right one, helping you realize certain benefits more quickly or reduce the project’s risk. For example, an application can initially be re-platformed to reduce total cost of ownership and later be re-written or transformed in phases to produce the desired outcome.
- 3 Involve business in the decision making process. Modernization projects can be long and complex. If your business stakeholders don’t understand the drivers behind the approach being taken, they are likely to begin questioning the benefits derived from the initiative as soon as they perceive the project as taking a long time.
Post Date: 04/11/2015