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Asperitas Survey Finds IT Leaders Struggling With Application Modernization

93% said the process was challenging due to staffing, tools, training and other issues

 Asperitas announces the results of a survey on enterprise application modernization. A key takeaway is that despite broad agreement on the value of application modernization, many enterprise IT executives are struggling with the process.

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According to Gartner, application modernization is the process of migrating legacy systems to new applications or platforms, including the integration of new functionality to provide the latest functions to the business. Application modernization has become popular in recent years as IT leaders recognized how modern technology can help a company scale and innovate faster.

To better understand the latest thinking, Asperitas asked 150 IT leaders, ranging from managers, directors, VPs and CIOs in companies with at least 1,000 employees, for their views on application modernization. Everyone who responded has been or currently is involved with an application modernization project, and the responses highlighted several key trends:

Application modernization is critical to the business

100% of IT leaders responding to Asperitas’ survey said that application modernization was very or somewhat important to their business, and 45% said the applications they had chosen to modernize were critical. Meanwhile, 28% of respondents said modernization had enabled them to innovate faster and scale more rapidly, 25% said it can improve end user productivity, and 11% said it might make their company more attractive to employees and customers.

Despite the benefits, application modernization can be challenging

93% of respondents said their modernization experience was extremely or somewhat challenging. 30% of IT leaders said identifying the right tools and technologies was the most difficult part of the process, while 20% said it was finding staff with the right experience. Other top challenges included choosing the right external partner (18%), getting users trained on the new systems (17%), and securing the support of management (11%).

Asperitas also asked IT leaders about application modernization challenges in multi-cloud environments. 27% felt the biggest challenge was securing applications, and 26% felt it was integration with on-premises systems and other cloud platforms. Another 20% thought the biggest multi-cloud modernization challenge was ensuring portability between platforms.

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One-third of respondents said their definition of modernization was using cloud-based infrastructure, while 32% said it was moving legacy systems to the cloud, and 22% thought it was using cloud-based tools. Meanwhile, 54% said leveraging microservices meant that they were modernizing, and 59% said the use of cloud-native services indicates as much.

Despite the varying opinions, 8 out of 10 of IT leaders said upskilling of internal staff and improvements to antiquated processes was extremely important to application modernization.

Time and tools are the key to success, while shortcuts and distractions are to be avoided

A plurality (36%) of respondents said that a key application modernization best practice was giving yourself ample time to complete the project, while 34% said the most important lesson was choosing the best tool for the job. In terms of pitfalls to avoid, 36% said the biggest issue was avoiding shortcuts, distractions and/or partners that over-promise, and nearly a quarter (24%) said it was waiting too long to modernize a system that’s clearly in need.

At the end of the day, getting application modernization right is what matters the most

78% of IT leaders responding to Asperitas’ survey said the top priority of application modernization should be “getting it right,” giving far less importance to speed and cost.

“Leveraging cloud-based tools and services clearly is part of the application modernization process but applying these technologies alone neither solves your application problems nor helps you attain your modernization goals,” said Scott Wheeler, Practice Lead at Asperitas. “The goal should be to create a measurable process that looks at all key elements of modernization, and build a plan to execute against those goals. To get here, companies need partners and staff who have experience using the right tools and connecting business outcomes to best practices.”

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