To deliver better quality software faster, and with greater frequency that enables the business to stay agile and respond rapidly to changes in the market, IT organizations must transform their culture, tools, and processes. The DevOps movement was born from this need, and includes core tenets such as collaboration, transparency, automation, and continuous delivery of software.
However, for the majority of businesses, legacy applications are still an essential part of the company’s value chain, providing core capabilities and data for the business. The architecture, infrastructure, and technology used by legacy applications do not easily lend themselves to modern software development, limiting the ability of your IT teams to deliver software with the speed and stability the business requires.
The answer is to incrementally, but continuously, modernize your legacy applications. By gradually transforming them, you can reduce technical debt, improve the value and performance of each application to the business, and support the shift to DevOps in your IT organization.
Here’s a pragmatic strategy for continuous application modernization:
- Step 1: Set goals for the modernization.
- Step 2: Make sure you thoroughly understand each of your applications.
- Step 3: Choose the optimal modernization approach for each application.
- Step 4: Monitor and measure changes against your goals before, during, and after modernization.
- Step 5: Start over with step one.
Before we discuss each step in more detail, there’s a critical success factor you need to keep in mind: your data. Not just any data, but contextual information about your infrastructure and applications and their impact on your customers and your business. Without this data, you’re essentially going into the modernization process blind, with limited ability to minimize risk; avoid missteps; and accurately assess, predict, and confirm improvements.