It can be difficult to know where to start with your legacy system modernization. Do you need a complete, ground-up digital transformation? Or should you focus on upgrades to specific applications? Some companies do not need to engage in a blank-slate approach to modernization; updating individual key apps may be more than enough.
But how do you decide which modernization strategy best fits your company?
In this blog, we will go into the details of application modernization and cover four specific application solutions that can help modernize any company.
Most companies that seek to update and optimize their application suite consider the following four categories of cloud solutions for streamlining their business applications: web applications, cross-platform mobile applications, API development and integration, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). These encapsulate the vast majority of app modernization solutions in today’s landscape, creating new efficiencies across a variety of tasks, platforms, and workloads that can empower a company to achieve greater growth.
Another, and more urgent, reason why companies consider app modernization is because changing customer behaviors are disrupting their industries – leaving companies vulnerable to losing market share and customers to more agile and modernized competitors.
Therefore, investing in modernization can help companies develop new differentiators and enable an effective step change strategy that lets them go on the offensive to gain more business.
Migration from mainframe or desktop applications to a web application is still a very common legacy system modernization strategy for many organizations. As your company proceeds into a more cloud-based environment, web applications and other application services enable your team to work faster from anywhere. These applications run exclusively in web browsers and perform their tasks over the internet – meaning employees that utilize them can log in from anywhere, a key feature of today’s mobile and hybrid workforce.
Many modern companies rely heavily on web applications for process automation, project management, marketing analytics, time-tracking, collaboration, and more. Though some tasks may be handled by pre-built apps, it’s important to consider if you should buy or build an app to solve your unique need. To help you decide whether to build or buy, we created a helpful guide you can read here.
Cross-platform mobile applications are applications built for mobile devices that can run on multiple mobile operating systems. Where many mobile applications are single platform — i.e., only Android or iOS-compatible — cross-platform applications work agnostically.
This type of application, like web applications, typically operate on cloud platforms and provide hyper-mobility benefits to any team that is on-the-move. While there is sometimes overlap between web applications and cross-platform mobile applications, the two are distinct enough that organizations that are looking to modernize can find themselves confused as to which types of apps are the best solution for their company structure. That’s why we highly recommend a modernization partner like Core to help you approach your new application suite.
API development and integration is often considered the most critical of the four primary application modernization solutions because an API is not simply an add-on to your existing suite; it’s a foundational approach to application development, linking and optimizing apps within your unique organizational structure.
In short: APIs are the key to your successful application modernization.
As InfoWorld states, “API stands for application programming interface, a concept that applies everywhere from command-line tools to enterprise code, microservices, and cloud-native architectures. An API is an interface that software developers use to programmatically interact with software components or resources outside of their own code.” API development is the creation of a new API for companies with limited or nonexistent API code, and API integration is the sometimes tricky process of connecting and syncing your API with your company’s app suite.
APIs link multiple apps to common sources of data, either publicly or within a single organization. This creates a “single source of truth,” or shared knowledge base, from which a company’s applications can quickly, efficiently, and seamlessly pull data and communicate amongst each other.
Of course, an API is only as helpful as it is expertly developed and integrated into your particular company. To discover more about our approach to API development and integration – and how cloud, hybrid, and on-premises-based companies can reap its benefits (with the right partner) – read our blog on the subject here.
An expertly integrated API is absolutely central to a modern organization’s success. Data that may otherwise have to be manually shared can be easily accessed via applications pulling from a shared backend. Your IT stack will be well-organized and developed from a singular base (versus individual systems containing siloed data), making it far easier to create new systems and store additional datasets in the future, without added organizational headache.
Ultimately, API integration improves company efficiency, productivity, and agility. By the numbers: 83% of IT executives consider API integration crucial to their overall business strategy; 59% saw increased productivity; and 51% saw increased innovation as a result of recent API integration.
Microsoft and Cisco provide a robust toolset for API development and integration. Microsoft Azure’s capabilities are comprehensive and agnostic, containing dev tools with utility across platforms and languages, as well as an API development portal that tracks all API documentation. Azure also provides access to unique legacy assets and assistance tools for learning dev teams.
Cisco also offers similar and complementary API tools to Azure, with a focus on enabling API development for companies looking for greater scale and scope of assets, as well as increased security. Cisco’s toolset features networking, datacenter automation, and IoT device management, among many other utilities.
AI and ML are last on the list of application solutions because they are more complex than the other solutions and require a robust data foundation to get any value from their development. They are perhaps the most future-forward solutions in application modernization, powering automation of repetitive tasks and simplification of numerous legacy processes.
These solutions can take many shapes. For example, chat bots that quickly answer customer questions on your website, image and document digitization and analysis to streamline data input and search, fraud prevention for increased security, and even improved hiring.
Modernization can be a complex process for many organizations, especially those with multiple distinct systems, app environments, and data storage structures. It can be difficult to know where to start, or where to focus modernization efforts. But partnering with a consultancy like Core BTS enables you to simplify and streamline your application modernization process and increase and enhance your company’s capabilities through web applications, cross-platform mobile apps, AI & ML, and (perhaps most importantly) API development and integration.
Though modernization may seem daunting, it will ultimately provide value by letting your organization scale and respond to market conditions faster. To achieve that, you need an expert modernization partner that’s as agile as they are knowledgeable. Contact us to discover how we can bring your applications into the modern day and beyond.