September 16, 2019 By Candice Zheng 2 min read


Customers today are no longer satisfied by the traditional consumer-business relationship. Instead, they expect engaging and informative digital experiences. In order to match these expectations and stay ahead of the curve, organizations must lean into digital transformation. Businesses need to modernize both customer-facing and enterprise applications to support a customer-centric approach to business. Developing a strategy to cloud-enable applications is crucial in gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage, especially when, according to a Forrester study, by 2023, 90 percent of current applications will still be in use, but most won’t have received sufficient modernization investment. This means there’s an opportunity for businesses that invest now in application modernization.

Application modernization: Taking a phased approach

Cloud-enabling applications doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Application modernization is best achieved by taking a phased approach, one that’s tailored to business goals and application architecture.

Companies can simplify and extend functionality while still meeting business and IT requirements by carefully choosing which applications to prioritize when modernizing for a hybrid cloud environment. This allows organizations to capitalize on the benefits of the cloud without disrupting existing workloads in on-premises environments.

Prime applications for digital transformation through the following four steps to gain a competitive edge.

1. Simplify with containers

Containerizing existing applications is the first step to simplifying application deployment and management. Containers encapsulate the application with minimal or no changes to the application itself, enabling consistent testing and deployment that reduces costs and simplifies operations.

2. Extend with APIs

Extend existing applications with APIs that securely expose their full capabilities to developers. The applications become reusable across clouds to easily access and build new capabilities. Beyond APIs, this approach relies on an agile integration strategy that supports the volume of connections and variety of architectures required.

3. Decompose with microservices

Use microservices to break down monolithic applications into deployable components, where each component performs a single function. Businesses can then further enhance development agility and efficiency by putting each microservice in its own container. Using Kubernetes, companies can then manage and deliver the microservices of existing applications.

4. Refactor with new microservices

Refactoring involves building new microservices. In some instances, it may be easier to develop new applications utilizing cloud native development practices instead of working with a current monolith. This provides teams with the ability to deliver innovation to users, encourage creative thinking and allow developers to experiment in a low-risk fashion.

Find your next step to modernize applications

Application modernization is a critical aspect of business modernization. Leading organizations that prioritize cloud-enabling their applications are breaking away from the competition by enhancing customer experiences and accelerating development and delivery.

Read the smart paper “Simplify and extend apps with an open, hybrid cloud” to learn more about application modernization and the unique approach, tools and solutions offered by IBM for application modernization.

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