Why IT Leaders Are Fast-Tracking Application Modernization Solutions

3 min read

Updating core business applications requires a customized approach.

Change and innovation are often cited as the twin engines for powering business growth and success. This holds especially true in relation to modernizing core business applications. But many enterprise-level organizations in global industries like banking, insurance and telecommunications continue to face roadblocks involving complexity and cost.

For starters, traditional systems designed for on-premises use do not integrate easily with modern software applications. This has many large enterprises dealing with the technical debt of disparate patches and upgrades, and software is often left siloed — resulting in limited visibility and reduced quality. And then there’s the complexity of implementing new systems and processes, which can disrupt business and slow down overall operations without the proper strategy.

These and other issues have IT and other business technology leaders scrambling for ways to modernize their application portfolios to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness and provide more engaging experiences for internal stakeholders and customers. In fact, according to a 2020 Forrester Consulting study commissioned by IBM, modernizing existing applications and infrastructure is a top digital transformation goal for over 40% of IT decision makers.

The journey to application modernization

Application modernization refers to updating outdated business systems and applications. The primary challenge lies with taking monolithic, on-premises applications and modernizing their platform infrastructure, internal architecture and/or features. To embark on an app modernization journey, IT leaders need architectural flexibility coupled with leading technologies like AI, containers and automation. These resources can be found within a robust hybrid cloud strategy that will help optimize business needs.

That said, each organization’s application modernization journey looks different.

For some companies, it’s about application architecture. This may involve integrating systems with APIs or doing a full lift and shift of infrastructure and software. For others, it’s about improving data accessibility and implementing AI throughout the business lifecycle. For many, it’s a combination of services that requires a strategic approach involving moving existing legacy workloads onto a modern cloud platform and breaking monolithic applications into microservices.

The recently released IBM Application Modernization Field Guide can help by offering IT leaders a customizable roadmap for updating an existing business framework with more modern and agile solutions that are scalable, highly available and secure.

Build once and deploy on any cloud

  • Assess your applications: Identify applications that can be readily moved into the cloud platform and those that will require refactoring.
  • Build applications quickly: Create containerized workloads through the Red Hat® OpenShift® Container Platform to serve as the foundation for applications and services thanks to their scalability, openness and portability.
  • Automate deployments for productivity: Use DevOps pipelines to automate deployments quickly and reliably.
  • Run and manage consistently: Consolidate operations for all applications into a common management approach to ensure reliability.

Choose the approach that best meets your needs

  • Containerize monolithic applications: Define business opportunities and drive new insight into existing ideas. Define the opportunity, prototype with your developers and co-create a solution.
  • Expose on-premises assets: Utilize application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable existing assets that would otherwise be difficult to move to the cloud.
  • Refactor into microservices: Restructure workloads into smaller, deployable components based on maturity, modernization objectives and requirements, then sunset monolithic applications.
  • Add new microservices: Innovate incrementally, reduce complexity, gain deeper visibility and establish success early. Incrementally sunset the monolith.

Building a foundation for telco innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the critical importance that telecommunications infrastructure plays in keeping businesses, governments and societies connected and running. To meet the increase in demand for greater network efficiency, telcos are racing toward digitizing network operations. This means moving off-ground from traditional infrastructure like towers and fiber and building 5G networks with edge capabilities that go hand-in-hand with cloud-based solutions. This is an instance where application modernization services can help pave the way for a successful digital transformation.

Telefónica, a leading European telecommunications company with over 300 million internet and television subscribers worldwide, recently faced the challenge of bringing all the leading public clouds — including advanced services for AI and blockchain — into a single, seamless space where the underlying IT would be transparent to customers.

The company worked with IBM to build out its first-ever cloud-native, 5G core network platform, using the IBM Cloud Pak® and Red Hat® OpenShift® on IBM Cloud solutions.

This revolutionary platform now provides Telefónica’s clients with flexibility to develop and run their applications on-premises or in the cloud environment of their choosing. The platform also speeds how clients can securely create cutting-edge applications that improve quality and efficiency across core business activities, from AI-powered customer-facing interfaces to edge applications that can analyze inventory on a factory floor.

In today’s fast-changing digital climate, the need to access, modify or replace existing core business applications has become imperative. Learn how to unlock more business value with the help of IBM’s application modernization services.

Explore the IBM Application Modernization Field Guide.

Accelerate your application modernization journey with IBM Consulting and Services.

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