There are many reasons why a business should consider moving its apps into the cloud. Firstly, legacy apps usually have a high-maintenance cost. Secondly, apps designed 5 or 10 years ago typically were created with a specific purpose and requirement in mind, but huge changes can happen over time. So, as new requirements arise, additional functions are added on top increasing complexity and maintenance cost. Ultimately, the business reaches a point where it needs more flexibility to meet current and future business requirements. That’s often the point where app modernisation comes onto the agenda.
Three ways to approach App Modernisation
Typically there are three broad options for any business looking to re-energise their apps, each with relative merits:
- Refine and enhance the app on-premise
If you need some simple back-fixes and perhaps some additional features, that can often be achieved without moving the app from your on-premise infrastructure. Of course, that doesn’t take away the maintenance requirement and cost, but it provides some short-term gain.
- Ongoing modernisation
Ongoing modernisation allows you to replace individual components one at a time with a modernised version but leaving the rest of the app intact. This works well for businesses who don’t want to rewrite the whole app but want some improvements and a path for continuous improvement. That can include creating a copy of the app in the cloud with migrated production data which integrates to cloud services instead. Once in the cloud, the business also benefits from a replicated environment for immediate business continuity ongoing feature enhancement. Check out how Indigina cut their app maintenance costs by following this path.
- Complete re–architecture
In some instances, a complete app re-rchitecture in the cloud presents the best ROI. Met Office recently modernised it’s Weather Observation Website (WOW) in this way. Provisioned 6 years ago as a monolithic legacy application, it had gained far more traction than initially expected and as a result could no longer scale to meet requirements or integrate new data streams. Rearchitected as a modular cloud native app using PaaS in Azure, it now swiftly and cost-efficiently integrates new providers and the API can be modernised easily. It has scalable background processes so if one data stream needs to scale up because it has ten-fold of data, we can scale that single aspect without incurring additional cost by scaling up other, unrelated parts of the system. The net result? It helps them optimise cost, performance and flexibility of the service and they have a future-proofed app that can keep adapting to meet requirements well into the future.
Being realistic will help your business foster success
When considering the right route for your business, try to balance the initial upfront investment required with the long term savings. A successful app modernisation project requires involvement and ownership from different stakeholders within the business.
Also consider the relative performance gains. Many businesses will enjoy consistent if not improved performance with cloud apps as well as significant business continuity gains. However, apps which have been heavily optimised to a specific use case, using specific hardware, may require additional optimisation in the cloud environment to maintain the high levels of performance.
Lastly, it’s vital to be realistic about the cost of running apps in the cloud. The Microsoft cloud is capable of processing millions of messages per second but don’t mistake scalability for cost saving. No matter if you send ten messages or 10 million, the platform will cope but at either end of the scale you will pay for what you use. However! There are also sizeable cost gains to be had. In the cloud, you don’t need extra engineers as you scale, many of the everyday management tasks are completed for you, you don’t face the incurred cost of outages, and so on. Ask yourself, how much time will you save on installing windows updates, planning server restarts, doing back-ups, auditing, and all the tasks that people take for granted?
Our final tip – keep your roadmap front of mind
The decision to modernise apps is increasingly becoming a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. Is the time right for your business?
Consider your future business roadmap and try to envision where the business needs to be versus where you are right now. What steps do you need to take to move there? This decision-making process ia an intrinsic part of business transformation. When we engage with businesses, we help them to bridge this gap, so they can transform their use of technology to drive closer to that desired end-stage. If you need help to move to that point, get on contact.