Before getting into app modernization, let’s try to clarify what does it entail – starting with what it is to how one can achieve it.
In short, a modern app emulates one or more of the three fundamental tenets of digital – design thinking, keeping humans as the center of all innovation; open thinking, ensuring access for stakeholders to content and data within an open, well-architected platform; and platform thinking, enabling both external and internal stakeholders to do business more easily with the organization – by leveraging modern technology constructs. Setting clear guardrails around what one wants to achieve and how helps people understand what their respective responsibilities are and paves the path for a successful business endeavor.
|The industry is strewn with examples of failed digital transformations – remember GE? It used to be the poster child of digital – for that matter, the term internet of everything and fourth industrial revelation were associated with GE in ~2010, way before it became common amongst the masses, Nike? It also had a tough time when it first started. P&G? Yes, they too were early adopters and had to stall the initiatives. Any guesses why companies that were leaders in their sphere failed? They decided on technology and then searched for issues that the technology could solve. I think the image on the right does a great job explaining what I want to explain.|
By the way, two of the three above – P&G and Nike, relaunched their digitalization initiative, but this time it started with what and how came second, and they have really done well.
So, the first learning is, “start with what you want to achieve.” This doesn’t mean that technology or tools to achieve the goal aren’t important. They are important, as they give your idea legs.
Now that we are clear about the definition let’s delve into breaking down ideas into executable plans. This is where the rubber hits the road. Based on a recent McKinsey study of business decision-makers, 85% of technology executives believe digital would be crucial for their business strategy by 2023. And while the number of failures quoted is all over the place, most data put the failure rate anywhere between 70% and 84%.
So, the second focus area for us was to identify and document the guidelines and the five key items that we see again and again:
- It’s still about business outcomes
- Learning is easy; unlearning is tough. Focus on upskilling
- Cloud is an enabler, but its ability depends on a lot of other factors such as IT strengths, ability to influence change, priorities, and more
- It Isn’t about apps or infra, but apps and infra. There is no use of one in the absence of the other. So ensure the two teams reinforce each other
- “Systems of engagement” are changing, but not many tinker with the “Systems of Record” still
Finally, it’s about making the technology talk. We believe a “Successful Modernization” initiative could be broken into 4 or 5 distinct stages – one can think of prepare and execute as one or separate:
While it all starts with the customer defining its business priorities, out here, we will discuss items that fall under IT control.
It starts with the customer understanding the application and infra landscape. Using smart tools, proprietary knowledge, and experience working with 1000s of customers, VMware can build a detailed architectural overlay of different applications and infrastructure. At the end of the phase, the customer will have a high-level understanding of applications that exhibit common characteristics and have similar disposition. This could easily manifest into applications that are good candidates for a particular cloud, others where VMware Cloud would add more value, third that could be retired, and fourth that could be tweaked for better performance.
While the discovery phase is all about technology, planning overlays business priorities, internal strengths, and other guiding characteristics to refine the content of the last phase and get more granular.
Once the IT strategy is finalized, one should work on closure, coming up with detailed wave plans and associated resource ramp-up plans, and additional risk mitigation to ensure BAU is maintained. VMware recommends that there should be an overlap between the prepare and execute phase. As one would say, test the waters before taking a deep dive. This is the time when trained VMware resources help the customer with their initial application modernization and is synonymous with the “Train the Trainer” phase. This has dual benefits; one, the customer can further fine-tune the transformation plan based on the initial learnings, and second, this helps train the customer’s team to learn by doing so they can build on the initial success once the VMware team hands it off.
Execution is all about moving the workloads to a VMware-powered public cloud. We don’t want the customer to pay to the existing infra provider and the cloud, as that is one thing that blows the assumptions and cost off. Powered by VMware HCX, customers can live migrate workloads with the click of a button.
PS: What enterprises forget is the cost involved have three elements – infrastructure, humans (there is a huge bump as whoever you work with usually would do it for the entire environment, and one would need dual IT if old and new environments need to coexist), and opportunity cost (any cloud move entails change which usually takes the IT resources to focus on non-value added activities and while this is intangible, it’s the one that one needs to preserve the most)
The image above gives a rough comparison of the cost structures of implementing VMware Cloud as compared to any other CSP offering. Additional costs trickle in at different points in time, and to top it all; there is a definitive improvement in the time to market or the value realization schedule. Time is money, and VMware cloud lets you achieve the transformation much faster
Finally, modern application is one that can adapt to evolving customer needs. It just isn’t about using modern technology tenets but also about application development velocity. With vRealize product suite and Tanzu integrated within VMware Cloud, customers can try to roll out things such as DevSecOps, Chaos Monkey, Blue-Green deployment, and more. The best part is that customers can manage virtual machines and containers from the same console.
Now that we understand the high-level picture let’s delve into Part 2 of this blog series.