The three pillars of app modernization

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App modernization acts as a lever for business transformation across multiple pillars

IT plays a critical role in ensuring that businesses can adapt and succeed in today’s environment by helping deliver breakthrough customer experiences, enabling always-on innovation, and ensuring agility in response to marketplace changes. App modernization is the process of transforming legacy software to make this happen. Broadly speaking, there are two options for app modernization: rehosting – or moving applications from an on-premises environment to a modern cloud infrastructure – and transforming, by refactoring, rearchitecting, or replacing with SaaS.

But app modernization doesn’t represent just a technical transformation. An organization must change across multiple pillars – architecture, technology, and organization – and each must be considered carefully.

Architecture transformation: App modernization begins with a technical change, with organizations shifting from three-tier, tightly coupled, hard-to-change monoliths to a modern, agile, and loosely coupled microservices-enabled landscape that enables greater flexibility and agility. The journey starts with having the right architectural framework that incorporates industrialized design patterns and implements best practices focused on simplifying application development and maintenance cycles. It includes domain-driven design, the de facto architecture pattern for cloud-native architecture, that breaks up complex business domains and monolithic applications into smaller data-driven microservices and helps define clear boundaries for each context.

It takes an API-first design approach to ensure that the microservices conform to enterprise-wide consumption and comply with security and governance requirements. Asynchronous architecture allows reduced dependency on complex integrations and brings in autonomous behavior that results in parallel builds and faster deployments. Additionally, architecture is designed for network and system failures and leverages 15-factor design principles rather than the typical 12-factor approach to achieve agility, scalability, and operational efficiency.

 Technology transformation: Adopting modern, cloud-native technologies such as containerization, serverless, microservices, and PaaS are key to achieving maximum benefit from app modernization. But the massive scale of modernization requires that the technology foundation go beyond updating functional capabilities to also focus on establishing DevOps and quality automation pipelines that can continuously bring the development and maintenance costs down and help improve operational excellence. Additionally, with app modernization, organizations shift from open-source technologies with limited re-use and on-premises infrastructure to leading-edge solutions on three PaaS patterns: traditional, custom, and public.

 Organizational structure transformation: To support the modernized architecture, silos across development, quality assurance, testing and the business need to be broken down and replaced with self-sustaining domain-driven teams. Whereas in traditional development approaches there are separate resources to support development, infrastructure, and quality assurance with large teams of 30 or 60 people per project, in a modern approach the same resources need to be responsible for development, platform operations, and automation scripting.

For example, in Capgemini’s Product-Oriented Development (POD) as a Service model, a single team of cross-skilled people works closely together across all aspects of maintenance and development to ensure optimal outcomes. If a team owns a feature, it owns it end-to-end, so there is no longer a single team or individual responsible for testing and nothing else. It’s a you-build-it-you-own-it model where everyone shares responsibility to maximize speed and agility. In the POD as a Service model,  a product director, scrum master, product lead, technical product analyst, full-stack developer, backend developer, SDET, and DevSecOps automation engineer work together in an agile, DevOps manner as they develop and maintain applications while making enhancements to incorporate emerging technologies and reduce technical debt.

For more information on each of these components of app modernization and how to use them as a lever for business transformation, please check out The app-modernization manual: The definitive guide to building intelligent apps from Capgemini or reach out.

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