Journey to the cloud: Your Roadmap to a Successful Digital Transformation

July 6, 2021

RedBit Team

Moving to the cloud is the foundation of a successful digital transformation. From security advantages and organizational control of data to ease of use and increased agility, cloud-based tools can help your organization achieve its goals. Before beginning this journey, it’s important to have a clarity about the destination you want your business to get to and the pit stops along the way.  

A well-thought-out strategy can help you get started and work towards achieving both efficiency and innovation in all your business domains and applications.  

App Modernization: First step towards digital transformation  

There are over hundreds of definitions of App Modernization on the internet! Application or App Modernization, simply put, is the process of taking existing legacy applications and modernizing their platform infrastructure, internal architecture, and/or features to better support business goals and processes. Modernizing and migrating your applications and infrastructure to the cloud can provide agility and scalability to your business and ensure better preparedness for future contingencies. You can choose to modernize, migrate, or build cloud-native solutions depending on your business goals.  

*The five R’s of app modernization:

According to Microsoft, the most convenient way to think about modernization is commonly called “the five R’s: Retire, Replace, Retain and Wrap, Rehost, and Re-envision. The strategy you adopt depends on your business drivers and migration goals. You might adopt multiple patterns. Because these approaches depend highly on the situation, application, and types of cost involved, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Retire: If a legacy application is providing little value compared to its costs, your business should consider retiring it. When few people are using an application relative to its cost impact, the enterprise needs to run a cost–benefit analysis to determine if it is worth the expense.
  • Replace: Many legacy applications were originally built because there was no alternative at that time. A modern, readily available application that is better suited to running in the cloud—most cost-effectively of all, a SaaS application—might now exist that you can use to replace the older one. In addition, when a legacy application is replaced with a more comprehensive modern solution, there might be a chance to consolidate functionality from several older applications, thereby replacing multiple applications with a single system.
  • Retain, wrap, and expand: If a legacy application is providing good value and not incurring a high TCO, the best approach might be to retain it but put a modern “wrapper” around it in order to gain additional value and benefits.
  • Rehost: If a legacy application is providing good value but is expensive to run, it might be a candidate for rehosting. Rehosting involves keeping the same basic functionality but moving it to the cloud where it is easier to manage and less expensive to run. This is also called “lift and shift.”
  • Re-envision If a legacy application is providing good value but cannot be easily moved, the best solution might be to re-envision it and build it again in the cloud. This is a process of rebuilding the application in the cloud using modern technology, a new architecture, and best practices; it normally also involves adding more business value to core functionality, such as improving market differentiation. Re-envisioning an application might require rewriting the main logic using a modern development language and tools and making it service oriented.  

*Source: Microsoft e-book Enterprise Cloud Strategy for Nonprofits, Chapter 3, Page 17 | Evolution of the five R’s of modernization

There are many ways to think about your strategies for legacy applications. One way is to consider them by workload as shown in this image:

*The Three Stages of Cloud Migration

When planning migration to the cloud, there are many ways to think about a roadmap. A note, however, before we begin our discussion: in almost every case we’ve seen, these three stages do not take place in order; rather, often they occur all at the same time. The reasons why might not be apparent at this moment, but (briefly) what often happens is that one group in the enterprise will be experimenting with certain applications in the cloud while others have already moved on to, for instance, a SaaS application. In other words, you don’t need to wait for the experimentation phase to complete before trying something transformative, and so on. These three stages are:  

Experimentation

In the essential experimentation phase, two processes take place. In the first, the engineers and others create the IT department’s first cloud applications, with the objective of learning what the cloud is all about: how to develop for it, how to test, how to deploy, and how to monitor and maintain a cloud application. Concurrently, businesses and IT departments envision the art of the possible; design new solutions to demonstrate how to advance the status quo; and envision a newer, expanded, more agile and better application or service.  

Migration

In the migration phase—in many ways the most demanding of the phases—the bulk of the IT portfolio is moved to the cloud in one form or another. This requires cooperation and collaboration across a number of different enterprise functions, including the technical staff, the operations staff, as well as the executive team, business sponsors, security professionals, regulatory compliance staff, legal, and HR. We spend a significant amount of time in this book covering migration in all its aspects.

Transformation

In the transformation phase (which will often coincide with the migration phase) selected applications are redesigned to take maximum advantage of the cloud—using the platform as a service model—affording greater scale, greater integration with other cloud services, and numerous other advantages. Moving forward, the now-cloud-native applications can take advantage of cloud services such as machine learning, big data, streaming analytics, and many others—making them much, much richer in function and feature than before.

*Source: Microsoft e-book Enterprise Cloud Strategy for Nonprofits, Chapter 3, Page 19 | Cloud migration: three stages

The path you take towards transforming your business is going to be based on your goals for modernization and the application that needs to be modernized. Evaluating the key business drivers can help you assess what needs to change and how it can be changed.  

In the coming weeks, we are going to share more about app modernization and how it is at the heart of any digital transformation process. Stay tuned!

*Source: Download Microsoft e-book Enterprise Cloud Strategy for Nonprofits Azure_Migration_eBook_Enterprise_Cloud_Strategy (5).pdf

Courtesy of: Microsoft

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