By E.G. Nadhan
Almost every enterprise has legacy applications. And while the majority of these apps are stable, they can’t always handle the emerging technologies (like cloud computing) needed to keep-up with today’s instant-on customer demands.
But before you can embrace emerging technologies, you first have to know what’s in your applications portfolio to begin with, which is no easy task these days. We all know we need to transform our applications to keep moving forward, but I’ve been wondering if this transformation is a one-time journey that will be completed once we arrive … we can stop and rest on our laurels - or is it more like a dream destination we’re continually striving to reach … aka, our work is never finished?
My guess is that it’s a little bit of both but either way, you’ll need to plan well and pack some necessities to make this journey to your transformed destination easier. Here are my 5 suggestions to help you simplify your journey and ensure you successfully reach your application transformation destination:
- Business Alignment - Application Transformation includes the phased execution of multiple projects over time, and it must align with your business objectives for the Enterprise. Ask yourself a few simple questions in the context of every application transformation project: What are the specific business gains realized through the transformation of these applications?
2. Destination Definition - Like all journeys, your destination must be clearly identified and defined. But, unlike most journeys, the applications transformation destination is an unambiguous description of its inherent characteristics rather than a specific location on a geographical map. Various characteristics like the architectural principles, as well as the overarching future-state architecture lead to the detailed definition of the landscape of business processes, applications, infrastructure and technologies with associated governance. Your applications transformation destination needs to be constantly in sight since some of these characteristics could continually change due to external triggers.
3. Incremental Transformation – Application transformation must happen in small, manageable increments. It’s very similar to the word game where you’re given a starting and ending Word with the game involving the identification of the single letter that is changed each time as you transition from one meaningful intermediate word to another. A single letter is changed each time – a change that can be reversed if necessary and a different route adopted if needed. Application transformation is no different from the staged, simultaneous transformation of many such English words while they are continuously conjugated into different versions of complete sentences at any point in time. It is a journey with multiple stops. Each stop serves as a logical checkpoint to see where you are along with a projection of what remains to be done to get to your destination.
4. Continuous Evaluation - While going through an enterprise transformation, the world around you is constantly changing. Emerging technologies provide alternatives to innovatively incorporate new solutions or revisit existing solutions. Global Positioning Systems support real-time monitoring of the progress made compared to a static printed route map. Business related changes could warrant a re-consideration of the overall transformation approach. Mergers and acquisitions, revisions to product suites by vendors could trigger a change to the original transformation roadmap. Alternatives might evolve for the future-state architecture based upon the evolution of innovative technological paradigms. For example, the urge to effectively utilize limited infrastructure resources across the extended enterprise could drive the increased adoption of cloud computing-based environments.
5. Environment Stabilization - The current machinery must always be in a well-oiled state. Current applications must function properly while meeting SLAs. Enterprises are best positioned to take on new challenges when the existing environment is stable with minimal, manageable disruption of service. The impact of the existing applications that are not being transformed or have already been transformed has to be continually taken into account while initiating new projects as part of the overall transformation journey.
So whether you decide that your app transformation process is a journey that ends once you reach your destination or a life-long cycle of ongoing improvement, I think we can all agree on one thing … you need a good plan to get started. Do you agree?
Check out HP’s Application Transformation Experience Workshop video and viewpoint paper to see how we’re helping clients with their step-by-step plan for the transformation journey and for selecting their desired destination … or at least the choices for desired future state.