App modernisation with Azure: the journey to the cloud

It’s common to hear that companies need to modernise themselves in order to remain competitive in the different markets and industries in which they operate. We often use the buzzword “digital transformation” to rationalise the many decisions that companies have to make when choosing which technologies to implement, which processes to automate and which applications to develop to continue offering the best services and products to their customers. The term “digital transformation” sounds great, but the gains will only ever be as consistent as the robustness of the initiatives carried out.

Technology innovation is constant, and companies increasingly need to build highly personalised systems and infrastructures adapted to their specific needs and challenges. The concept of app modernisation emerges precisely because of this continuous evolution. But what is it all about – what does app modernisation actually mean? Put simply, it is the process of analysing existing applications, some of which may be legacy applications, and modernising their infrastructure, architecture or features. Many applications fail to keep up with technological innovation. As such, they become applications that are hindered by some limitations, both when solving identified bugs and updating the app itself. And so, the cost of maintaining such applications becomes significant, leaving companies with a complex situation to manage – often having to carry on maintaining some applications on which they have become (too) dependent.

The benefits of app modernisation are many: greater efficiency, more flexibility and scalability and better resource management, among others. Still, and as happens with all change processes, the key to success lies in the defined strategy and the decisions to be made. So how should this process of analysing and migrating your applications to the cloud begin?

Cloud migration: the three (first) steps to consider

The migration of applications to the cloud does not need to be a complex process. Still, the success of such projects is due, as previously mentioned, to the strategies that organisations adopt. Ultimately, the decision to make (or not to make) a migration must be made based on the benefits that will result from that same process, such as the speed that the technology offers, scalability, flexibility and the development of new features – benefits that allow the application to improve the organisation’s processes and end up positively impacting on its customers’ experiences. For this reason, before embarking on a project like this, it is essential to:

1) Do an application inventory

Before even thinking about starting a migration project, it is necessary to make an inventory of all the existing applications used by the organisation. This step is essential to understand which applications are most used by the organisation and, more importantly, which are critical applications for business. Having completed this inventory, it is possible to get to know the current status of the business and what its most pressing challenges and most urgent needs are: this knowledge on the business allows you to start making decisions and defining priorities. After prioritising, you’ll be prepared to go to the second stage of migration to the cloud.

2) Carry out a technological analysis

After making an inventory of your existing applications, you can start making a more exhaustive technological analysis: on the one hand, you can analyse your in-house tech stack, and on the other hand, you can do a more exhaustive analysis of the organisation’s architecture. This will be key information that can potentially influence some decisions later on in the process: should the application be reengineered, should processes be reengineered or would none of these options work? There’s nothing better than having the information available to answer questions that will certainly arise during the app modernisation process.

3) Prioritise and define an action plan

Finally, it’s time to set priorities. You’ve made a list of all existing applications that would benefit from modernisation and you also have information about your organisation’s architecture and technological stack. At this point, what’s most important is that you define which application(s) should be migrated to the cloud. This prioritisation can take several factors into account, but it is important to prioritise the applications that would have the greatest positive impact on the organisation or that would bring a significant improvement to the consumer experience. The application with the best effort/benefit ratio, should be one of the first to be migrated to the cloud.

Cloud-native: a relevant decision to make

This app modernisation step is just the first step on the journey for organisations to become cloud-native companies. By taking this first step, they become more familiar with designing initiatives that are oriented towards a cloud reality. The applications are then built with all the benefits of this approach and the mindset of the organisation and its employees will be fully aligned to this positioning, preparing organisations to continue to as be highly competitive and innovative as the market currently requires.

At Xpand IT, we are Azure experts and have been working with this technology for several years, building solutions that take advantage of different Azure components. Whether building native applications in the cloud or to accompany the entire app modernisation process, the solutions we implement always serve the same purpose: helping our customers become the companies of the future. Get to know one of the projects we developed in Azure for one of the biggest Portuguese companies.

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Filipa MorenoApp modernisation with Azure: the journey to the cloud

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