Rewrite, Replatform, Retire: What’s Your Application Transformation Strategy?

Most enterprise IT departments have done at least an initial assessment to determine which applications are the best candidates for cloud migration or modernization. For many clients the results are strikingly similar. Approximately ten percent of application workloads are clear and obvious candidates for the public cloud (that is, cloud data centerdev test environments or websites). On the flip side, cloud migration is a complete non-starter for another ten percent due to security, compliance, or cost considerations.

Which brings us to the 80 percent in the middle.

Most enterprise workloads in the middle fall into a gray area where best-fit suitability for pubic, private, or hybrid cloud models is not obvious at first glance. But at the same time, the middle 80 percent may offer the greatest opportunity to drive business and operational impact.

As they start to attack the middle, IT decision makers are faced with several basic questions:

  • What applications are actually in that middle 80 percent? Due to M&A, employee turnover and underinvestment in governance, many IT organizations have a surprising lack of basic visibility into their currently application inventory. While Initial workload analysis has focused on high-profile applications, in many cases more work needs to be done to understand the true breadth and depth of the existing portfolio.
  • Which applications are most important to the business? Even IT organizations with a solid knowledge of their applications often are unclear about which are truly critical to the business and about how they align and support business goals and KPIs. Many organizations need to fundamentally reassess and realign the portfolio in light of business priorities.
  • How should we rethink our portfolio strategy? The last major wave of application portfolio analysis was done to drive consolidation and cost reduction. New portfolio strategies need to be developed to identify and capitalize on opportunities presented by the 3rd platform and cloud.

This last question in particular creates new challenges for organizations that are under pressure from the business to become more agile, flexible and cost-efficient. It also poses a challenge for those who need to rapidly identify opportunities to:

  • Rewrite applications, particularly those associated with systems of customer engagement, to achieve the promise of the 3rd Platform and microservices architectures
  • Replatform applications to more flexible and efficient public, private, or hybrid cloud models
  • Retire and decommission applications and archive legacy data to reduce cost and risk and to provide a funding source for new innovation

Unfortunately business stakeholders don’t have the patience to wait for a comprehensive, multiyear application rationalization and portfolio strategy development program to address the middle 80 percent. Instead of a waterfall-like approach, organizations need an agile approach to application portfolio modernization that enables them to rapidly identify and rapidly deliver business impact through modernizing and migrating selected applications that represent the greatest opportunity.

EMC Global Services helps clients drive agile portfolio analysis and modernization efforts with a unique, iterative methodology enabled by the Adaptivity platform. By using a common data model and solution to automate application portfolio decision-making analytics, you can dramatically reduce the time, effort, and cost associated with developing a robust application transformation strategy.

About the Author: Scott Bils

Scott is a Senior Director in the Dell Technologies Consulting Services organization. In his role leading the Americas Digital Transformation Practice he is responsible for services in the areas of Cloud Native Applications, DevOps / Infrastructure as Code, Big Data Analytics and IOT. Scott blogs and speaks frequently on the topics of application, cloud and digital transformation. Prior to Dell Technologies Scott co-founded a leading boutique consultancy focused on helping large enterprises and service providers navigate the issues associated with cloud and ITaaS transformation. Scott was also the Founding CEO at Conformity, a venture-backed provider of the first enterprise-class management and governance platform for cloud applications. Prior to Conformity Scott held senior executive roles at Scalable Software and Troux Technologies, and also worked at McKinsey and Co. and Accenture. Scott holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.