Before we dive into application modernisation strategy and the routes available to you, let’s define application modernisation and why we need a strategy for it in the first place.
What is Application Modernisation?
Application modernisation takes your existing application in its current form, perhaps slow and cumbersome and transforms it into a fresh version of itself: agile, fast, scalable and modern. This is done by updating the application to include modern infrastructure, architecture and/or features.
Often, in this serverless time, this will involve migration to the cloud, though this is not an inherent part of modernisation.
The core application modernisation routes available to you are:
- Rehost: Move your application to other infrastructure without changes to the application itself. This includes a simple lift and shift to the cloud.
- Refactor: Optimise the existing code to remove technical debt.
- Re-architect: Materially alter the code and move to a new architecture to make use of new capabilities. This is often done using a microservices model so that modern DevOps can be applied.
- Rebuild: Start fresh and rebuild the application as a cloud-native application while preserving or expanding its functionality.
- Replace: Find a different application to use instead (unlikely to fit for custom software). In simple applications, a legacy app may have a ready cloud-based solution that can be used instead.
Why is Application Modernisation Important?
Application modernisation isn’t simply important, it is a necessity. It allows organisations to take advantage of modern technology and the cloud, it speeds up applications and keeps them secure and user friendly. Additionally, it allows them to keep growing, scaling up, getting new features etc.
Without it, applications fall into code bloat, each time getting slower and more unwieldy, while they become harder to maintain and update for IT staff.
Key indicators you need to modernise your application:
- Code bloat
- Application struggling to scale
- New staff unable to understand the system due to undocumented elements
- Application is getting harder to maintain for IT staff
- Unsupported platforms
- Unable to interact with other more modern applications
- Security or compliance issues
- Application no longer fulfilling user needs
- Application no longer provides business value
What is an Application Modernisation Strategy?
As technology is ever-evolving so must our applications. All organisations must deal with legacy applications and the need to modernise, but an application modernisation strategy is a necessity for the enterprise and SMEs who have a large range of software, custom applications and integrations and must deal with end of life, end of support and slowing applications strategically.
A good modernisation strategy will be an ongoing process to suit the unique requirements and desires of an organisation. Its goal should be to reduce costs, increase speed and productivity, strengthen security and bolster the functionality of the application.
The better an application modernisation strategy, the less technical debt will accumulate.
How to Create an Application Modernisation Strategy
- Perform an in-depth analysis of your application portfolio.
- Determine your organisation’s budget, risk tolerance, digital objectives and business goals.
- Isolate your weak spots such as out-of-support software, products or platforms at end of life and so on.
- Determine what can be done in-house and where you need an MSP or custom software development partner.
- Build a 1, 3 and 5-year plan for your application modernisation.
What you start with in your 1-year plan will depend on the organisation’s individual circumstances. You may need to address urgent fixes such as areas of security risk. Alternately, look at easy wins such as applications that can lift and shift to the cloud now, while larger applications are rebuilt for the cloud.
.NET Application Modernisation
As Microsoft specialists, we are most often involved in modernising .NET, SQL or BizTalk applications, either modernising to remain on-premises or rearchitecting or re-building the applications for cloud migration to Azure.
In some recent blog posts we explored SQL and BizTalk modernisation which are available to check out here:
- Upgrade SQL Server 2012 to 2019 – End of Support SQL Server 2012
- Migrating SQL to Azure- a Look at Benefits and Drivers
- The BizTalk Migrator/Azure Integration Migrator
- BizTalk Migration to The Cloud and Azure Integration Services
Let’s look at .NET modernisation in these two handy slides from Microsoft.
Application Modernisation with Ballard Chalmers
As custom software developers, application modernisation is our bread and butter. From migrating from BizTalk 2013 to BizTalk 2019 or refactoring SQL Server applications for Azure SQL to rebuilding on-premises .NET applications as new cloud-native Azure Apps, we provide outsourced application modernisation for custom software in line with our client’s application modernisation strategies.
Here are just a few examples of application modernisation carried out at Ballard Chalmers:
- Application rebuild: Azure Application Development Good Energy Case Study
- Refactoring an application for cloud migration at end of life: Lighthouse Group Case Study
- SQL Server application modernisation: SQL Server Consultancy for the Energy Saving Trust Case Study
Get in touch for consultancy on your application modernisation strategy or enquiries on specific modernisation projects.