One of the things that I have learned and is a substantial challenge for enterprise technologists, is the exceedingly large estate of legacy applications, that lock a treasure of enterprise information and process deep inside. The sad truth is that these legacy applications are costing more to operate than ever before because of license burden, infrastructure expenses, ever more rare skill sets, and even middleware and consultants that are needed just to add the features the business demands. Gartner estimates the enterprise application marketplace at $120B/yr(2013) and growing at 4% CAGR.
I know that the increasing cost of application maintenance [hospice care for dying applications] is preventing businesses from investing forward in innovation and new projects/programs. The untold story is the opportunity cost of the wealth of data that is locked deep inside those legacy applications. After all, isn’t the job of an application to enable people to interact with data, and isn’t Information Technology (IT) all about Information?
Simon Wardley of the CSC Leading Edge Forum has been looking at new ways to help enterprises manage/map their service portfolio with a focus on
strategic differentiation and creating the value map, to help understand
the systems and information linkages and uncover new ways to plan for modernization and differentiation in light of the legacy and the emergent commodity sedimentation.
These techniques really help a CIO get a grip on where to spend their precious investment, but we still need to figure out how to modernize those legacy systems which remain critical to the business, but need to be re-platformed, re-skinned, re-factored, so that they can better meet the mobile, web, cloud, data-insight driven requirements that dominate the current application landscape.
Today, CSC and HCL are announcing that they have formed a strategic partnership in which the two partners will co-invest in people, processes and technology in order to “modernize the worlds applications”. At first glance, this may seem like an odd pairing, but what I see are two very highly complementary geographic, vertical, customer and people companies, who, by combining their scale, can really create advantage for customers. For I believe that there are a limited number of application patterns, and a finite number of treatments (porting tools, translation tools, and the like) for which scale helps to both uncover the common patterns, but also enables the continued advancement of Applications Modernization tooling and best practices.
A few specifics:
- Partnered Delivery Centers: HCL and CSC will create a world-class application modernization delivery network to enable enterprises to shift from legacy technologies to a cloud-enabled platform. The first delivery centers will be launched in Bangalore and Chennai. These delivery centers will lower the risks and costs for clients transitioning to the cloud and benefit from a shared knowledge base and scale of skillsets.
- Vertical Focus: The application modernization offering will be enhanced with vertical specific initiatives starting with Banking & Financial Services through the creation of a banking center of excellence. The partnership will be standardizing the delivery of modernized applications and enable them to be brokered onto any cloud environment, using platforms such as CSC’s ServiceMeshTM .
- Shared Cloud Vision: HCL will leverage, as one outlet, CSC’s Gartner MQ IaaS/ Cloud as a target for workload deployment [ scale matters in cloud operations in improving operational and capital efficiency.
And I really believe that this turns the landscape to look a bit like this:
Celestial Alignment? CSC and HCL are both on the path to help enterprise take advantage of the digital/information economy by unlocking information, improved agility and reduced operating burdens. All of this enables an enterprise to execute on their growth strategies, create customer delight and do so with a new agility across their IT estate.
Take Away: CSC is building a cloud agnostic platform for its clients as they prepare for a multi-vendor, multi-cloud world. This collaboration with HCL will enable CSC to modernize applications at scale, orchestrate them through the policy controls of ServiceMesh, host them on either CSC’s Cloud or third-party cloud infrastructure, run them on AT&T’s scalable and secure network, and add complementary big data, cyber security and storage services!
The apps modernization to the cloud is one side of the equation. Considering client budgets, the apps modernization to the cloud will take a phased approach to implement. Also, depending on maturity, there would be clients who would want to modernize apps to be “cloud ready” and not necessarily “deployed on cloud”. This modernization effort is still focused on “Operational transformation” for the client.
Is there a “Business Transformation” side of the apps modernization equation that will help client to quickly provide outcomes to their customers?
This is where I think along with apps modernization, we should integrate the building of a “Connected ecosystem” of client’s existing apps and other external sources (devices, social, GPS, RFID etc.). For e.g. bring in our OmniLocation MachinEdge (PTC Thingworx) M2M offering or other M2M-like platforms along with apps modernization initiative.
Understanding every client has different needs and different purse strings, yet shouldn’t we be in parallel convincing the client and addressing the “Business Transformation” side? As part of apps modernization should we not also study opportunity to build a “Connected Ecosystem” that will allow clients to get a 360 degree view of information and insights to take effective decisions.
You poke at a very clear challenge for most large companies, namely, the need to transform their culture and aspects of their business models to enable them to gain the agility of operations to truly be able to participate in the co-creation/outside-in economy. Mobility, M2M, IoT, engaged consumers, social, fast-big-data and the 3rd platform will judge the companies that lead and those that struggle.
CSC via the Leading Edge Forum and our Consulting team are helping firms transform the role of IT, and the use of information & technology in their growth strategies. Apps Modernization is just one leg. Thanks! Dan