A survey published today found 93% of IT leader respondents admitted that application modernization efforts are either extremely or somewhat challenging.
The survey, which polled 150 IT leaders at organizations with at least 1,000 employees, was conducted by Asperitas, an IT services provider. The survey found the primary issues respondents identified were identifying the right tools and technologies (30%) followed by finding staff with the right experience (20%), choosing the right external partner (18%), getting users trained on new systems (17%) and securing the support of management (11%).
More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said the top priority for organizations taking on application modernization should be “getting it right.”
The definition of application modernization is, like many things, in the eye of the beholder. One-third of respondents defined modernization as the use of cloud-based infrastructure while 32% said it was moving legacy systems to the cloud. Another 22% defined it as using cloud-based tools.
More than half of respondents (54%) said employing microservices meant that they were modernizing, while 59% said the use of any cloud-native services indicates as much.
Scott Wheeler, practice lead at Asperitas, said that while there are a lot of definitions of application modernization, it’s clear that the lift-and-shift era of moving applications to the cloud is coming to an end. Organizations are instead preferring to build and deploy applications using a wide range of cloud-native platforms and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments they don’t have to manage.
The challenge is many of these applications are being built and deployed on multiple clouds. More than a quarter (27%) said the biggest multi-cloud challenge was securing applications, followed closely by integration with on-premises systems and other cloud platforms (26%). Another 20% identified ensuring portability between platforms as the biggest challenge.
A total of 80% also noted upskilling of internal staff and making improvements to antiquated processes were extremely important to application modernization. In fact, one of the major issues that organizations still need to address is the degree to which “bad DevOps” practices are being applied to modern application environments, said Wheeler. Much of that issue stems from the simple fact that many IT teams still don’t know how to effectively manage cloud computing platforms, he added.
Well over a third (36%) said that a key application modernization best practice was giving yourself ample time to complete the project while an equal percentage identified avoiding shortcuts, distractions and/or partners that over-promise. Another 34% said the most important lesson was choosing the best tool for the job, while nearly a quarter (24%) identified waiting too long to modernize a system that’s clearly in need of modernization.
A full 100% of respondents said application modernization was very or somewhat important to their business, with 45% reporting the applications they had chosen to modernize were critical. A little more than a quarter (28%) also noted modernization has enabled them to innovate faster and scale more rapidly, while 25% said it could improve end user productivity and 11% said it might make their company more attractive to employees and customers.
Regardless of the motivation for modernizing applications, just about every organization is engaged in these efforts to varying degrees. The issue doesn’t seem to be the willingness to start these projects as much as it is making sure they are completed quickly enough to be relevant to the business.