Dale Vecchio recently (17 Feb 2012) produced an instructive report titled Code Transformation Solutions Can Provide a Viable Modernization lternative.
In it he describes the issues involved in applying automation to the challenge of migrating an application from one language and database technology to another. In addition, he provides a very useful summary of the major vendors in this space.
Automation is One Element of Continuous Transformation.
Dale touches on the initial phase of analyzing an application portfolio and then dives directly into one of the possible outcomes, which is the use of automated translation to accelerate transformation.
An application portfolio is a continuously evolving entity. Bespoke apps are replaced by COTS or Cloud services. Old technologies are replaced by new ones. The enterprise as a whole is moving towards dependence on a homogeneous but distributed service platform. The analytic methods applied by the HP Application Transformation services are a critical part of managing this continuous evolution.
We can think of the various automated and partially-automated approaches as just some of the elements of the Swiss army knife that we bring to ongoing transformation. We don't pick a single blade and apply it to everything. Sometimes we need a corkscrew and sometimes we need an awl.
While you may engage very focused specialists to accelerate a transformation, it is critical that you have either an in-house team or advisors that can ensure that these niche capabilities are applied as part of an overall portfolio life-cycle. Individual projects will share repeatable processes for the universal transformation functions like testing, training and incremental deployment into production.