January 14, 2019 | Written by: Tom Crane
Categorized: Think 2019
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Today’s enterprises are struggling to keep pace in a business world increasingly populated by nimble startups. These enterprises once relied on their IT cores as a source of competitive advantage. Now, those same IT cores increasingly make it difficult for them to adapt to a “New Normal” defined by speed, efficiency and resilience:
Speed: Traditional release cycles took months. With the help of agile development methods, today’s leading businesses are able to deploy every few seconds, allowing them to introduce new features and capabilities on a continuous basis.
Efficiency: Through greater business integration, automation and the adoption of agile principles, organizations can become more efficient. Prioritizing business requirements and driving out unnecessary scope and feature bloat are key.
Resilience: With multiple levels of proactive self-healing mechanisms, today’s organizations are making zero-downtime systems a reality.
To adapt, organizations must replace or modernize their applications, and that is easier said than done. Gartner predicts that every dollar invested in digital business innovation through to the end of 2020 will require enterprises to spend at least three times that to continuously modernize the legacy application portfolio.
Organizations need a new approach to application development and maintenance (ADM) to enable digital transformation, make good use of their modernization spend, and keep up with a changing marketplace. This means a multispeed approach to application modernization, where the organization pursues three different “performance zones” simultaneously:
- Optimize the core
- Unlock legacy
- Unleash digital
A modernized approach to business process optimization (BPO) can play a key role in helping an organization become a Cognitive Enterprise. We’re seeing a shift away from traditional BPO—which is primarily about doing the same tasks more efficiently—toward automated, cognitive BPO, which can be a catalyst for innovation and digital transformation.
Optimize the core
By continuing to use traditional ADM techniques, but refining them with modern tools and approaches, organizations can optimize their existing IT cores to help cut costs and maximize efficiency. This could include the use of automation and artificial intelligence to help ensure quality, as well as DevOps practices to help shorten deployment cycles.
Optimizing the core is a good fit for systems that are extremely difficult to change, such as complex enterprise continuity systems. These applications are typically important, but not a source of differentiation for the business.
Using a hybrid model, organizations can unlock new value by deploying modern features and capabilities around their existing applications and enterprise data. This puts them in a position to innovate and keep up with fast-moving competitors, even in situations where they’re not ready to jump into a full-blown cloud transformation. One example of this is using new technologies such as containers, API integration and microservices to enable easier access to legacy data and processes.
Unlocking legacy is a good tactic for systems that could benefit from improved speed, flexibility and user experience, but are too complex or costly to fully move to the cloud yet.
By capitalizing on cloud-native, born-digital technologies, organizations can help deliver added speed and growth, create improved customer experiences and develop speed-optimized innovation capabilities.
In the unleash digital performance zone, full-stack, product-centered teams are the norm. Development processes are centered around a minimum viable product (MVP), short feedback loops, and test-driven development. It’s a good fit for projects that are highly focused on driving rapid innovation, experimenting with new technologies or leveraging IT services that are unique to the cloud.
The IBM approach
At IBM, we understand the challenges that enterprises are facing when it comes to next-gen ADM. We work with our customers to develop an ADM strategy that can help them target all three performance zones simultaneously, then shifts to focus more on unleashing digital capabilities as time goes on. We believe this is the best way for our customers to help them grow revenue, increase speed to market, overcome talent deficits and meet their financial priorities.
To learn more about the ideas presented in this post, register to attend Think 2019, the flagship IBM technical conference. There, you’ll be able to hear directly from some of the leading minds in the next-gen ADM space.
Also, learn more about how application services from IBM are helping organizations modernize their IT cores for success going into the future.