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Modernizing apps and migrating to the cloud: Challenges and trends

Ovum's Margaret Goldberg says many businesses talk about migrating to the cloud, but they don't realize how difficult the task can be.

What application modernization trends are driving people to use more service providers? How should service providers be selected? What are the specific challenges in regard to service providers and migrating to the cloud?

If we look at application modernization, historically it used to be trying to reduce the costs associated with having bulky, not-so-Agile, not-so-flexible applications -- that was key to driving down costs. Now, we are seeing a few other things. Obviously cost is still going to be a driver, but also a changing role of the chief information officer and IT. It's more about trying to drive the business requirements and business needs and leveraging different technologies to reach that.

For example, if there are compliance or regulatory concerns that a healthcare provider or financial services organization needs to meet, a lot of times they try to leverage changes with their application structure. On the other side, there are enterprises trying to leverage new technologies (social media, cloud, mobile) for a competitive advantage. Enterprises can really leverage new Agile technologies and new Agile platforms in order to achieve that.

Choosing a product

Overall business knowledge is critical to understanding what kind of regulatory requirements, market forces and changes an enterprise needs to adapt to. At the same time, there is a certain level of understanding that must happen, where a vendor needs to know what is going on within the client as well.

Not every legacy application is suitable for the cloud.

An enterprise needs to find a vendor that fits its needs; this is especially crucial if drivers are coming from the business side. What we are seeing is that, a lot of times, application modernization is part of an overall business transformation. If an enterprise needs to adapt to a changing industry or comply with regulations, looking for a vendor who has knowledge of the industry and experience helping customers with those challenges in that type of environment is really important.

Challenges of migrating to the cloud

In terms of migrating to the cloud, we are seeing companies investigate application modernization as part of a way to leverage cloud as a platform and reap the cost benefits there. One of the biggest problems is that frequently, enterprises say they need to move to the cloud, but they don't really understand why, nor do they realize how difficult it can be.

For example, not every legacy application is suitable for the cloud. We've seen a lot of enterprises have challenges when trying to re-host. It takes understanding what can be moved to cloud and can't be moved to the cloud at all, as well as interconnectedness between applications. If you move one application to cloud and that has business logic or IT logic to another application that isn't migrated to cloud, you might run into issues.

Margaret Goldberg, Ovum IT associate analyst Margaret Goldberg,
Ovum IT

Editor's note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.

About the author:
Margaret Goldberg is an associate analyst at Ovum IT. Her research areas include application services and social customer relationship management outsourcing.

Editor's note: This expert advice is taken from an interview by SearchSOA Executive Editor Jan Stafford and Associate Site Editor Maxine Giza.

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Is your organization considering migrating to the cloud and looking into service providers?
We have gotten to the point where all of our new customers are deployed in the cloud, sans those who insist on having their own servers behind their corporate firewalls. On a support level, the cloud servers are much easier to administer and assist our customers with issues, the time savings alone to get access to the devices and monitor for issues is huge.