Define a Business Outcome as the First Step in Modernizing an Application

3 min read

When combined with using distributed cloud services, a clear understanding of customer needs goes a long way in reducing confusion related to IT complexity.

Results of an IBM-commissioned Forrester study indicate that there is a continuous rise in use of both public and private cloud container platforms as well as virtual machines (VMs) [1]. Companies aim to gain competitive advantages and build lasting relationships with customers through digital experiences. Critical to their success is how these companies handle the challenges of complex digital transformations and cloud platforms.

As their teams implement a cloud native strategy for achieving the organization’s business objectives, these three challenges put constant pressure on DevOps and IT leaders:

  1. Maintaining existing legacy systems, modernizing as needed.
  2. Modernizing, building and deploying applications with consistent security across different systems and platforms.
  3. Growing skilled development and operations teams capable of implementing resilient customer experiences with speed and agility.

Considering that pressure, the key to modernizing any application is to first define a clear, achievable business outcome. That means aligning all stakeholders across the business in a common understanding of what customers actually need now. With that clarity, it’s much easier to define what application experience the team minimally needs to create. Improving on an initial value delivered to customers demonstrates ongoing commitment.  

Modernizing with service partners kickstarts teams acquiring new skills

Effectively modernizing an application requires adopting and learning how to use new technologies. But it also calls for new ways of working — based on Agile principles — and a different approach to application architecture.

Survey respondents say they need services partners to fill key skills gaps. With IBM Garage™, experts in cloud tools, services and development practices embed in client teams to collaborate in either building new cloud native applications or modernizing existing ones. Teams learn the skills needed to deliver the specific improvement — or minimum viable product (MVP) — that customers most want.

In starting work with clients, the IBM Garage brings together everyone with a stake in customer success with the first goal of identifying very specific business outcomes the company needs to achieve — for example, a specific application improvement, a better functioning piece of middleware or customer-facing controls. Whatever the team chooses to modernize must come from what end users actually want.

After defining the outcome, the team then reviews the goal in terms of how to do it faster, spend less money, achieve higher performance and maintain consistent security. Though it’s a common assumption that speed always wins the argument, too many enterprises equate speed with hacking things together. Testing or piloting half-baked ideas can leave the team wondering why modernizing yields little return.

Reducing complexity with distributed cloud tools and services

By providing portability, container-based platforms enable hybrid cloud and multicloud application deployments. Yet, differences in specific environments often block full access to the promise of portability. With distributed cloud solutions, services partners like IBM, through IBM Cloud Satellite, provide consistently deployable services in any environment. DevOps team get the same experience everywhere, enabling their work to gain speed through familiarity; and the consistency creates many opportunities for automation.  

Security and compliance

Many organizations need to run applications in close proximity to data sources in order to meet low-latency demands and regional-residency requirements. With IBM Cloud Satellite, teams can use a single identity and access experience across environments without needing to connect through the internet; and applications running locally keep data local.

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