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The methods and motivations behind application modernization efforts

Most business leaders understand the importance of bringing their applications and infrastructure up to date, but many are grappling with the question of how best to go about their modernization efforts. The secret may lie in the growing abundance of cloud-based applications and networking solutions.

The cloud isn’t merely an improvement upon existing database technology—it’s an entirely distinct networking environment that demands a new approach from the organizations that hope to capitalize on it. As the use of cloud computing becomes more common, modernization will similarly become a crucial component of readying your enterprise to tap into the cloud.

Initially, some elements of the industry assumed that cloud computing would be limited to smoothing out workload traffic that would otherwise bog down legacy IT infrastructure and speed up program deployment speeds. However, the common understanding of the cloud’s capabilities has evolved, and savvy enterprise leaders should be aware of the cloud’s utility when it comes to a wide variety of applications, including e-commerce, networked devices, and more.

The cloud itself is a constantly evolving phenomenon, now encompassing “multi-cloud architectures” that function differently from traditional data centers. For this reason, applications designed to be used on legacy networking hardware must also be adapted to coexist with “the new cloud.”

Revolutionary developments are also occurring in the virtual layers that bridge hardware and software, creating “microservices” that are opening up a new frontier of application management, integration, and portability. This signals a very real change to the nature of IT itself across multiple industries, from research and manufacturing to commercial enterprises.

On top of being deployed in new ways, applications are now playing very different roles in daily life as the cloud continues to play a bigger part in the modern world. With information constantly streaming through cyberspace, legacy networking infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the intensifying demands of application support. The lesson is that while applications grow in complexity, so must the systems that allow them to function.

These myriad factors are adding up to a global data environment that is more connected and efficient than ever before. Developers are now able to launch into production easily and with little delay thanks to new containerized microservices that help them transition smoothly between computing environments. However, these advances are only possible when an enterprise embraces cloud-native development systems and infrastructure, and care must be taken to migrate to these systems without compromising regular business operations.

A significant portion of the business community has come to the same conclusion.

In a recent IDG survey of IT professionals, 60% of respondents said they have already started to repurpose their applications into a cloud-native design, with the remaining 40% saying they are in the process of developing a modernization strategy.
 

However, many respondents also reported difficulty in their modernization efforts, specifically in regard to protecting their data and managing security risks.

There are multiple avenues for an organization to approach modernization. DevOps, an organizational transformation practice that involves close coordination of teams and the adoption of automation wherever possible, is the most common method according to the survey: 78% of respondents indicated that they are either already adopting it (38%) or are currently testing it with some applications (40%). Another 10% are in the planning stages of DevOps utilization.

In a close second place is container technology, with 72% of respondents claiming to have either adopted it (38%) or started testing it (34%), with 16% planning to adopt it. Continuous delivery is less popular, with 68% of respondents indicating that they’ve adopted (36%) or have started to test (32%) the method, and only 28% reporting that they are actively planning to utilize it.

Of interesting note is that 22% of respondents reported having already adopted all three approaches, suggesting that the IT industry is realizing that infrastructure modernization is crucial to survival in the era of cloud computing, AI, and predictive analytics.

The struggle to modernize and keep up with the ever-changing world of cloud computing has more than its share of difficulties. Companies surveyed by IDG indicated that putting into action the many crucial improvements necessary to keep pace presents a significant challenge. Nearly half (48%) of respondents reported that implementing DevOps practices would burden and strain their IT resources, with another 46% voicing similar concerns about refactoring and/or rebuilding their applications for the cloud.

With these challenges in mind, it’s vital for the modern enterprise to be aware of its options when it comes to technology partners who can empower application modernization efforts. The CBTS Application Services team has a proven track record of working closely with clients in a wide variety of verticals to modernize their applications for cloud environments.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can enable your application modernization strategies.

Top 5 issues facing today’s enterprises

It’s never easy for enterprises to keep pace with the latest technologies — but the rise of the digital workplace often gives them no choice.

It’s all about bring-your-own-device and chasing the latest cloud collaboration tools — all the while dealing with shrinking IT budgets and “do-more-with-less” demands from the corporate suite. These issues come to a head for companies that merge or experience rapid growth:

  • Executives must find common ground in competing styles and philosophies within a short time frame.
  • Large data sets need to be migrated into a unified platform and then mined for intelligence to drive innovation and increased revenue.
  • Multiple teams must work together to consolidate processes and data systems.
  • Leaders must choose optimum digital workplace tools to elevate employee experiences.

Successful enterprises hope to boost collaboration, document tracking, and remote and mobile accessibility while optimizing the efficiency of their IT infrastructure. If it works right, they get lower TCO and more engaged employees who are happier and increasingly productive.

A lot of organizations answer these demands with a blended solution that gives workers powerful tools for sharing files and collaborating with colleagues and suppliers around the world.

To pull everything together successfully, companies must work out five fundamental issues:

1. Reconciling employee/IT conflicts

Employees chafe against workplace technology that bogs down their collaborations with co-workers, vendors, managers, and everybody else. IT professionals chafe against constant pressure to accept new technologies that seem to arrive every week.

There’s a tendency in enterprises to assume these conflicts are the natural state of things — with each side insisting the other is oblivious to their needs. This divide is unnecessary: There are plenty of tools to streamline the productivity of today’s digital workforce without compromising the legitimate security, compliance, and governance concerns of the IT department.

Indeed, Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint have deep, rich toolsets that can help reconcile the demands of mobile workers and IT people responsible for keeping cybercriminals out of corporate networks. These tools can be integrated with powerful CRM and ERP software to help companies realize their visions of digital transformation.

All this can be accomplished while fulfilling regulatory and security requirements. And it can work on any infrastructure — cloud, on-premise, or hybrid.

Many of the most powerful capabilities of SharePoint and other enterprise apps are buried deep within the feature set and unknown to all but an elite cadre of power users and system integrators. That’s why enterprises adapting to the digital workplace often prefer to work with a seasoned partner who knows how to look at a company’s business challenges and IT infrastructure and tailor a custom solution.

2. Streamlining document management

Enterprises need robust document management systems that can inventory documents, eliminate duplication, and make everything searchable. Otherwise, workers waste time tracking down files they need or needlessly creating documents that already exist.

Fortunately, SharePoint has everything enterprises need to build sophisticated content management systems that are well organized, indexed, searchable, and fully capable of meeting the collaboration needs of today’s workforce.

As a Microsoft Partner and a veteran of more than 200 SharePoint integrations, OnX, a CBTS company, has the kind of expert-level knowledge and experience companies need to design and build a custom content management system that gives workers quick, easy access to the files they need to get their work done.

3. Empowering remote and mobile workers

Remote and mobile workers need access to more than documents. They must be able to use and approve schedules, forms, and applications on any device in any location with an internet connection.

Increasingly, companies see that allowing remote work and empowering mobile workers is good for recruiting, retention, morale, and productivity. And they acknowledge that encouraging employee productivity can ease the pressure to control costs.

But they may not have the tools in place to embrace these realities. One fix is to develop a project portfolio management (PPM) system that helps manage digital workers effectively, encourage collaboration, and enhance productivity. Microsoft Services have great tools for building an enterprise PPM system, but again, companies often need help designing, configuring, and implementing these systems.

4. Embracing the consumerization of IT

Mobile workers want to bring their favorite devices and apps with them everywhere — and they expect their employers to adapt. If they prefer iOS over Android or a tablet to a smartphone, it’s the IT department’s job to adapt.

This underscores why the consumerization of IT has become so pivotal for enterprises. It’s no longer an option to impose old-school enterprise applications on the digital workforce. People who get fed up with one company’s balky technologies will be easy prey for more adaptive competitors.

Fortunately, the rise of software-as-a-service and cloud consumption is making it easier for companies to be a leader in the workplace and market as a whole. Enterprises need to work with agile, adaptive cloud technologies and make sure their in-house networks have enough capacity to handle the traffic of mobile-ready users, especially with the rise of bandwidth-heavy video services.

5. Simplifying identity management

The complexities of logging into corporate networks annoy mobile and remote workers to no end. Most people prefer a strong identity-management program that enables a single sign-on for all their devices.

Microsoft Azure’s Active Directory technology includes single-sign-on in its identity management suite. Most enterprises worldwide already use Active Directory, so it’s not a huge challenge to implement some of its more advanced features. It’s just a matter of having an experienced partner to help implement it on your systems.

A partner for today’s digital workplace

We address these kinds of challenges every day. As a premier North American technology integrator and a veteran Microsoft partner, CBTS has the people and the tools enterprises need to evolve with each generation of new workers and technologies.

We have the certified Office 365 and SharePoint IT consultants you need to develop robust, secure architectures, design easy-to-use interfaces, and implement solutions that do just what your people need. And you can focus on your key business goals and keep your IT people doing what they do best.

 

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