Many organizations prioritize the modernization of legacy applications, ranging from mainframe applications to back-office business software and various other long-running systems. This is a necessary step in transitioning from analog business processes and systems to digital transformation.
Online collaboration and remote working became the mainstay of business productivity as the COVID-19 pandemic became a global issue, highlighting the weakness of legacy systems in catching up to the changing environment. As a result, many businesses were forced to accelerate their modernization efforts to deal with high operational costs, intense competition, slow scaling, and longer time-to-market.
The technical approaches for modernizing legacy applications to run on the public cloud are quite well-known today. But that doesn’t make them easy to navigate for businesses, especially when the goal isn’t just to get to the cloud but to maximize business value once there.
Furthermore, the technical options are just the start. Of course, cloud services are vital, but the success of an application modernization strategy is largely dependent on people. True application modernization necessitates a mindset shift, which can be the most challenging aspect to overcome.
Here are some of the most significant obstacles to app modernization.
Lacking Cloud Infrastructure Mind-set and Experience
The general lack of cloud skills, particularly platform-specific skills, is slowly improving but remains a problem.
However, it’s also a mind-set and culture issue, especially for infrastructure and operations professionals, regarding the IT skills that businesses currently have in-house. Shifting critical systems to the public cloud can be a substantial technical shift for someone who has spent their career maintaining physical infrastructure on-premises, especially given the vast array of services and tools available.
Lack of Experience in Cloud-Native Application Development
Application development and developers are affected by the same problem. Moving to the public cloud often entails adopting new software development and application delivery techniques, such as microservices architecture, distributed systems, and Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).
This change can feel huge if teams are used to designing and deploying monolithic applications and have many hours invested in systems that have typically worked well.
Lack of Cloud Friendly Processes, Tooling, and Culture
Finally, there is often a general lack of processes, tooling, and culture in place that makes cloud deployments and application modernization easier.
Organizations that have previously adopted an Agile or DevOps culture, for example, may discover that they have an advantage when it comes to adapting to new paradigms and patterns that become more widely available – and more important — in the cloud.
Here are a few strategies for addressing the issues mentioned above.
Leading with Empathy is Essential
Upskilling appears to conceal the fact that companies are working with actual people – serious professionals who have been performing their jobs successfully for a long time.
Change management necessitates a significant amount of empathy, preferably from someone who has walked in their shoes. They need someone who knows that hearing that parts of the infrastructure and applications they’ve built are about to be taken down for a newer, faster model isn’t nice.
People should not be thrown into a certification opportunity or a training session by businesses. As part of the application modernization strategy, they must engage in a discourse, provide true coaching and leadership, and offer real opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
Mitigate People’s Pain Points
Businesses should demonstrate how their approach to cloud and application modernization will help them solve their current problems. For a developer, this could mean being able to ship code more quickly and frequently. That might mean fewer on-call rotations or, in general, fewer downtime issues for Ops.
It’s critical to connect modernization to the difficulties that make the team’s job more complicated than it has to be.
Finally, it is critical not to introduce new pain points that can be avoided. A lack of proper budget and organizational commitment is one of the leading causes of additional headaches. For example, management may emphasize the need to modernize the IT portfolio, but the team is essentially asked to do so without the necessary resources. That’s a surefire way to get bad results – and cultural resistance.