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5 Steps to Modernizing Applications for the Cloud

In today’s digital environment, modernizing applications presents the opportunity to increase business value, generate ROI, and rapidly create change. At the same time, app transformation empowers organizations to reimagine and update their customer experience, which is vital in an increasingly social, mobile, and easy-to-use world.


Engaging applications that cut through the noise have quickly become integral to enterprise success. As many businesses look to migrate their application portfolio, including apps that rely on traditional data center infrastructure, they need to establish a useful roadmap for modernizing applications that will guide them to get the most value from the transformation.

Rooted in the cloud, our team applies industry best practices and the most innovative technologies to accelerate and deploy successful cloud migrations that are scalable, flexible, and agile. In our recent webinar, App Modernization 101: Taking Legacy Apps to the Cloud, we explored this timely topic as more businesses rapidly move to the cloud. The impactful 30-minute discussion drilled down on strategies, obstacles, opportunities, value, and more. With a wealth of knowledge in app modernization, this webinar sheds light on the processes, strategy, and approaches enterprises should take when migrating legacy apps to the cloud. 

Keep reading for the top 5 takeaways from this insightful virtual presentation with Maven Wave’s Senior Principal, Paul Nelis, and Adam Matthews, Manager of User Experience and Design.

1. Building Your App Migration Roadmap

As with any transformation, it’s essential to build a robust blueprint to help you reach your goals. This journey should launch by taking a comprehensive inventory of your apps. By analyzing your applications, businesses will leverage valuable insights to drive value and cost savings. Whether your organization has configuration management systems, a spreadsheet, or needs to put a mechanism in place, this information will identify which apps will stay, go, or head into the sunset. This first step is critical to cloud migration success. 

Once you’ve got inventory details, it’s time to make the first cut. During this stage, businesses need to weed out applications with outdated purposes and determine which apps are viable to migrate to the cloud. Is the application on a path to be decommissioned? Is it already SaaS? Will the app soon be in the cloud? Some applications may not be good candidates for the cloud. After a more sophisticated review, enterprises can start comparing the value of the prime migration candidates.

2. Scoring Apps Against the 6 Rs

Assigning value to each application by scoring it against the 6 R system clearly defines opportunities and an app’s value proposition. So what are the 6 Rs of cloud migration? In short, they are different strategies to apply when migrating apps. Each R represents a different method, value, and disposition. In ascending order of value, the 6 Rs to success are Retire, Retain, Rehost, Replatform, Replace, and Refactor. Each R valuable in its own right, this system is essential to delivering a greater return on your cloud migration investment.

3. Finding Balance and ROI

As businesses continue their cloud migration journey, they need to establish a realistic formula to show ROI from modernizing applications. Many companies make the mistake of only considering the sum of the old, minus the new. This formula is not an accurate tabulation. Instead, leaders must arrive at the benefit by taking the on-premise (old) less the combination of the cloud operations (new) and the cost to migrate. Always consider the cost of change when moving to the cloud before finance comes knocking at the door!

Finding the right balance between changing enough to capture the most beneficial cloud features and changing too much at once, which can ruin your ROI, is key when modernizing applications. In comparison, it’s like adding too much salt to a dish. Your environment needs the flavor of change, but don’t sprinkle on too much at once. Besides, businesses struggle internally with too many changes at once. Some of the cloud features that companies need to capture are zero-downtime deployments, cost-per-transaction, dynamically scaling infrastructure, on-demand services, and ultra-low cloud storage, which is significantly less than on-premise storage.

4. Leveraging Cloud-Friendly Design Patterns

As you look at the different kinds of things you can do with refactoring, you’ll want to consider cloud-friendly design patterns that have a positive effect on your bottom line. Injecting as many cloud-friendly design patterns into your app enables enterprises to design and deploy highly reliable, scalable, and secure applications in the cloud. Additionally, these design templates allow for increased agility and reduced errors, opening doors for quick hits. 

If your app is not stateless, you’ll want to change enough to move the application to a stateless or restful approach, which will open up other valuable design patterns. Similarly, you can add value with isolated or atomic transactions, enablers for microservices architectures. By leveraging modern caching technologies in the cloud, businesses can save a tremendous amount of I/O for their system and end-user. A classic example of this would be hosting an application through a CDN, if the app is angular or reactive it can be cached at the edge so people can get that quickly down to the desktop and start working. Moreover, other cloud-friendly design patterns support scalability and enable worker patterns and queuing mechanisms that bolster scaling and improve I/O in and out to your customers. 

5. User Experience, Reimagined

Now that you’re already making changes by modernizing applications, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your user experience. With experiences now being the most significant differentiator across the marketplace and workplace, companies should consider how digital design and experience can elevate your app. Putting people at the center of technology to achieve business outcomes is at the heart of enhancing the overall end user experience when interacting with a brand, platform, website, and more. 

With two types of approaches to tackle digital design, from a more modern lightweight approach to a comprehensive, research-driven strategy, enterprises have the power to transform their user experience. At Maven Wave, we use a four-step method for both approaches. When using a Lightweight DXD, a more collaborative approach to discovery and definition, the project can be executed in as little as 2-6 weeks. This rapid brainstorming design process, called SPRINT, pioneered by Google Ventures, includes ideation, asking the experts (gut check the direction by talking to more people), sketching, and concepting & user stories. 

On the conversational design path (leveraging DXD for designing bot experiences), the four stages encompass conversation mapping, asking the humans, validating the conversational model with other people, defining contexts, and configuring Dialogflow. Once you build the app, you can maximize ROI by updating your customer experience using an agile-integrated design. With Gartner stating that a well-designed chatbot can resolve 80% of customer interactions, now is the time to reimagine user experience.

While there are different methods for modernizing applications, it’s essential to work with a team that can deliver the experience and expertise large companies demand when facing complex migration challenges and seeking rapid outcomes. With 10 Google Cloud Specializations, including Cloud Migration and Application Development, Maven Wave works with organizations to find the right balance, define priorities, inject cloud-friendly designs, and reevaluate user experience across disciplines.

Stream the webinar recording now on-demand. Then, contact us to discuss your application modernization needs and how Maven Wave can help.

October 28th, 2020

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