Modernization vs. replatforming

Charts!
Modernizers reported better outcomes across the board compared to migrators, according to IDC’s paper.
Modernizers reported better outcomes across the board compared to migrators, according to IDC’s paper.

The most popular digital transformation initiatives for IBM i shops, according to IDC’s survey.
The most popular digital transformation initiatives for IBM i shops, according to IDC’s survey.

IDC questioned all four cohorts (IBM i shops that modernized, IBM i shops that migrated, System z shops that modernized, and System z shops that migrated) about their satisfaction across a range of metrics before and after their move, including: customer experience; overall performance; security, availability, and disaster recovery capabilities; agility, microservices, and DevOps; ease of finding talent; ability to incorporate AI and IoT; and API, mobile, and Web enablement.

Across all seven metrics, the IBM i and System z shops that modernized their “legacy” systems scored higher than their IBM i and System z colleagues who chose to migrate off their systems. What’s more, organizations that modernized instead of migrated reported paying less on hardware, software, and staffing, and reported higher revenues to boot.

Making software better rather than just lifting and shifting it usually works out better.

Source: Modernization Trumps Migration for IBM i and Mainframe, IDC Says e

Putting together your application modernization strategy

A two part video/podcast, with white-boarding and stuff. Rohit Kelapure knows his stuff from years of first-hand work. If you’re working in an enterprise on software, and especially if you’re an enterprise architect, you should check these out. The real work of application is modernization isn’t rewriting and re-platforming, but it’s the analysis that goes into finding and ordering what to modernize and then the process that runs your program over the next few years. Rohit boot-straps you into that.

  1. Eating elephants one bite at a time, large scale application modernization with Rohit Kelapure, podcast version, show notes.
  2. You can’t do everything at once, very quickly, large scale application modernizing, podcast version, show notes.

Large scale application modernization with Rohit Kelapure 

Whatever you want to call it, “legacy” software is a problem. In one of our recent surveys, 76% of executives said they are too invested in legacy applications to change how they do software. It can seem hard, but fixing that blocker is possible. As with all things in software, there is no quick fix, it just takes discipline, work, and time. In this episode, Coté talks with VMware Tanzu’s Rohit Kelapure who’s been working in application modernization for years. He goes over the initial portfolio analysis and thinking that the Pivotal Labs application modernization teams walk customers through.

Governance hacks – business cases

Cut from my writing up of AirFrance-KLM’s modernization strategy for it’s 2,000+ apps.

For each major decision (like modernizing an application, moving an application team to a new toolchain, putting a new platform in place, and other major changes to do how you do software), always have a business case. You have to avoid local optimization too: make sure you focus on the big picture, looking at dev, ops, and the overall business outcome. What does it mean to speed up the release cycle? Does introducing new services and capabilities make your daily business run more efficiently, or attract new customers? Does it help prevent security problems or add in more reliability? As they say “what is this in service of?”

This is especially important for avoiding gratuitous transformation, gold-plating, and other fixing it if it ain’t broke anti-patterns. Also, it will help you show people why it’s worth changing if everything seems to be going well. “[T]eams have applications who are working and sometimes are working quite, quite well,” Jean-Pierre Brajal says, “So people come to us and say, “well, why do I have to cancel my application? It’s already running.” You can use a business case to show the benefits.

Also, he notes, it’s important to make sure you’re improving the process end-to-end, not just one component. Let’s say you make automating testing the software better, but don’t address deploying the software. Now, when you’ve moved the team off their old system – that was working – you’ve introduced a new problem, a new bottleneck that they didn’t used to have to deal with.

There’s a lot more in the talk.

🗂 Link: VMware plan elevates Kubernetes to star enterprise status

A swag at how many new apps will be created to run on kubernetes cloud stuff. I assume this is actually existing, modernized apps and net-new ones despite the wording:

VMware says that from 2018 to 2023 – with new tools/platforms, more developers, agile methods, and lots of code reuse – 500 million new logical apps will be created serving the needs of many application types and spanning all types of environments.

Source: VMware plan elevates Kubernetes to star enterprise status

🗂 Link: Financial services and cloud: Delivering digital transformation in a highly regulated industry

“The most difficult part of what was a 10-month programme of work was that we were working to transform the current application, which was manually built, on-premise, and converting that into infrastructure as code,” says Niculescu.

“So we essentially took what would be manually-built environments that would usually take us weeks and months and numerous contract amendments to essentially grow and scale environments, and transformed it so that we could do them within the day – but now we can do all of this within 40 minutes, roughly.”

Source: Financial services and cloud: Delivering digital transformation in a highly regulated industry

Link: IBM fuses its software with Red Hat’s to launch hybrid-cloud juggernaut

The effort has started with IBM bundling Red Hat’s Kubernetes-based OpenShift Container Platform with more than 100 IBM products in what it calls Cloud Paks. OpenShift lets enterprise customers deploy and manage containers on their choice of infrastructure of choice, be it private or public clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba and IBM Cloud.

The prepackaged Cloud Paks include a secured Kubernetes container and containerized IBM middleware designed to let customers quickly spin-up enterprise-ready containers, the company said.

Five Cloud Paks exist today: Cloud Pak for Data, Application, Integration, Automation and Multicloud Management. The Paks will ultimately include IBM’s DB2, WebSphere, API Connect, Watson Studio, Cognos Analytics and more

Source: IBM fuses its software with Red Hat’s to launch hybrid-cloud juggernaut

Link: Assessing IBM i’s Role In Digital Transformation

Making the financial case:

“This is going to sound silly,” he says. “The hardest part isn’t necessarily the refactoring. The hardest part is convincing people to do this. Because, let’s be honest the upfront cost can be very scary, man. It can be frightening. The business is going to say, ‘We just put in X amount of dollars last year to support these kinds of environments.’ You kind of have to ask the question, what’s going to happen five years from now?”

While the legacy application may not be “broken,” forward-looking companies will consider the lost opportunity costs that are inherent when an existing system is not agile enough to support new opportunities and initiatives.

“You’re going to have to have the conversation where you can’t integrate with cloud at all, or you can’t integrate with data analytics, or you’ve failed to do cognitive system and your competitors are because RPG can’t support this stuff?” Kleyman says. “But just because it’s working doesn’t mean necessarily it’s bringing value back to the business.”

It’s easy for an executive to identify problems when servers are down, the application is throwing errors, and the day-to-day business is being impacted. It’s much harder for the executive to be able to identify the ways in which a legacy system could put hamper growth in the future.

“Honestly that’s one of the best approaches, when things aren’t on fire, to start asking some of these difficult questions,” Kleyman says. “It’s kind of like in a relationships. When everything’s going great, you don’t want to bring up any sore points. But realistically speaking, you don’t want to start arguing when everything’s wrong and you start bring up the pain points.”

Source: Assessing IBM i’s Role In Digital Transformation

Maybe the legacy organization actually knows what they’re doing

Usually we’re told that improving IT means changing the old organization. I’ve been re-reading The Art of Business Value, and re-came across this, to the contrary:

This way of thinking has always struck me as a little strange. Our goal is to deliver value, to figure out how to meet the needs that are determined by the organization, and yet we consider the organization to be the biggest impediment to doing so. The only explanation I can think of for this is that we are implicitly assuming that there is a stable, objective, preordained definition of business value, and we are determined to deliver on that definition despite the organization around us. In my experience, this arrogance is not warranted; in fact, the organization probably understands value in ways that the Agile team does not, and the obstacles to Agile adoption actually tell us something useful about business value in the organization.

Because, in fact, the organization knows the “business value,” the strategy, it’s in charge of reliving:

The organization has had to learn what business strategies, values, protocols, and behaviors work in its environment to support its ultimate aims, whether those are maximizing shareholder value or accomplishing mission objectives. That learning forms the basis of tacit assumptions and norms, the organization’s collected wisdom about what behaviors foster success. And if success means accomplishing the ultimate goals that serve as the sources of business value, then the Agile team must come to understand those values, strategies, goals, and operational modes that are embedded in the culture around it—that is, the business values that have been known to foster success.

From The Art of Business Value.

Link: Enterprises taking path of greatest resistance to cloud, survey shows

Still a lot of stuff on-premises, and people want to move it to public cloud:

‘More than 80 percent of respondents have more than 100 applications under their purview, and a solid majority have a good deal still managed on-premises. The survey finds 74 percent stating at least half of these applications are on-premises. Another 71 percent of respondents see many of their on-premises applications as mission-critical to their business.’

How they’re moving apps:

‘Yet, the report’s authors state, “enterprises are choosing the path of most resistance, unintentionally creating a self-induced cloud skills gap.” That consists of cloud migration strategies that require the highest degree of IT skills — 49 percent cited refactoring or rewriting applications as their primary modernization strategy.

‘One in five, 20 percent, say they are rewriting core applications from scratch using cloud-native PaaS services. Another 28 percent are refactoring applications for the cloud using cloud-natuive and traditional applications. Another 20 percent are outright replacing applications with SaaS-based applications. About 12 percent are taking a “lift-and-shift” approach to simply move entire applications to hosted services.’

Survey of 450 “executive,” by 451 Research.
Original source: Enterprises taking path of greatest resistance to cloud, survey shows

Link: Enterprises taking path of greatest resistance to cloud, survey shows

Still a lot of stuff on-premises, and people want to move it to public cloud:

‘More than 80 percent of respondents have more than 100 applications under their purview, and a solid majority have a good deal still managed on-premises. The survey finds 74 percent stating at least half of these applications are on-premises. Another 71 percent of respondents see many of their on-premises applications as mission-critical to their business.’

How they’re moving apps:

‘Yet, the report’s authors state, “enterprises are choosing the path of most resistance, unintentionally creating a self-induced cloud skills gap.” That consists of cloud migration strategies that require the highest degree of IT skills — 49 percent cited refactoring or rewriting applications as their primary modernization strategy.

‘One in five, 20 percent, say they are rewriting core applications from scratch using cloud-native PaaS services. Another 28 percent are refactoring applications for the cloud using cloud-natuive and traditional applications. Another 20 percent are outright replacing applications with SaaS-based applications. About 12 percent are taking a “lift-and-shift” approach to simply move entire applications to hosted services.’

Survey of 450 “executive,” by 451 Research.
Original source: Enterprises taking path of greatest resistance to cloud, survey shows

Link: Enterprises taking path of greatest resistance to cloud, survey shows

Still a lot of stuff on-premises, and people want to move it to public cloud:

‘More than 80 percent of respondents have more than 100 applications under their purview, and a solid majority have a good deal still managed on-premises. The survey finds 74 percent stating at least half of these applications are on-premises. Another 71 percent of respondents see many of their on-premises applications as mission-critical to their business.’

How they’re moving apps:

‘Yet, the report’s authors state, “enterprises are choosing the path of most resistance, unintentionally creating a self-induced cloud skills gap.” That consists of cloud migration strategies that require the highest degree of IT skills — 49 percent cited refactoring or rewriting applications as their primary modernization strategy.

‘One in five, 20 percent, say they are rewriting core applications from scratch using cloud-native PaaS services. Another 28 percent are refactoring applications for the cloud using cloud-natuive and traditional applications. Another 20 percent are outright replacing applications with SaaS-based applications. About 12 percent are taking a “lift-and-shift” approach to simply move entire applications to hosted services.’

Survey of 450 “executive,” by 451 Research.
Original source: Enterprises taking path of greatest resistance to cloud, survey shows

The coming billions in updating bank’s COBOL stacks

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, for instance, replaced its core banking platform in 2012 with the help of Accenture and software company SAP SE. The job ultimately took five years and cost more than 1 billion Australian dollars ($749.9 million).

Being conservative, multiply $500m across the top 20 banks, and you’ve got $10bn, using $749.8m directly, you get much closer to $15bn.

Better start planning.

Source: Banks scramble to fix old systems as IT ‘cowboys’ ride into sunset