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5 Ways To Modernize Your Application Portfolio

Posted by Neil Sheppard on February 12, 2024
5 Ways To Modernize Your Application Portfolio

Application modernization is not a clear path from clapped out to cutting edge. Discover five ways you can update your application portfolio to drive innovation and performance.

Application modernization is a process of providing your organization with the tools it needs to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. Of course, money and resources aren't infinite and identifying where to invest and when to retire legacy applications is a delicate balancing act.

In this article, we'll explore five ways that you can identify areas of investment to empower your organization to achieve all its goals. The key to each is to have clear oversight of your application portfolio and how it connects together.

To gain that oversight, you need the LeanIX Application Portfolio Management product. Book a demo of our platform below:


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1 Cloud Migration

"I don't need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster... carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison."

Steve Jobs (1997)

It was nearly thirty years ago that Steve Jobs explained the value of cloud computing. Put simply, if you can access a shared internet where all your data is stored from anywhere, then why do you need to carry around a complete computer with a hard drive all the time?

This, however, goes beyond data and into your compute load. Why run the same application on every device, when you can move your applications to the cloud and provide your workers with devices that simply act as an interface into one central application?

To illustrate, it's the equivalent of saving fuel, pollution, traffic congestion, and expense, by everyone taking the bus, instead of each driving an individual car. Running everything from a cloud server produces economies of scale and avoids the errors that can be created from having copies of copies of copies of application data.

Best of all, cloud services are significantly more scalable than on-premise options. If you need more space or compute, you can simply rent it until you're done with it, rather than having to purchase and integrate an entire physical server, then decommission it when not needed.

All this means you can gain significant cost savings, scalability, and value from migrating your application portfolio to the cloud. This is the first, and most obvious, route to application modernization.

Of course, moving data off-site and out of control is a security concern for many IT leaders. However, we can leave the final word on that to the former CIO of the US government:

"Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies."

Vivek Kundra


2 Cloud Repatriation

Even as companies are leveraging the power of cloud migration to save money and increase resilience, some are finding some gray in the cloudy skies. Sometimes, application performance can suffer and bandwidth costs can spiral.

Constantly running your applications remotely can place strain on your network. You need to not only expand your bandwidth to accommodate, but optimize its reach to ensure high performance, which could be expensive enough to negate the savings you achieved by moving to the cloud.

451 Research found 54% of surveyed companies moved some of their IT landscape back to on-premise solutions during 2022. So is that the end of the cloud revolution?

In fact, cloud is still the way forward for most situations, just not all of them. On the one hand, your low-bandwidth, low-priority applications that are in use by remote workers are perfect for the cloud, while those that require constant access to data and rapid response for on-site workers are best kept on-premise.

Looking through your portfolio to identify applications that are performing poorly in the cloud and bringing them back on-premise can enhance your IT landscape. This can feel like a step backwards, but getting smart about when to use the cloud and when not is an evolution of all-or-nothing cloud thinking.

Identifying what applications are best in the cloud and which need to remain on-premise requires a cloud-readiness assessment. This is yet another reason to maintain a detailed, simple-to-view application repository.


3 Leveraging AI

We're sure you guessed it was going to be on this list. Generative artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLM) like ChatGPT are the cutting edge of enterprise technology and can reduce workload and accelerate execution, so of course you want them in your application portfolio.

The question that's facing enterprise architects, however, is where in your application portfolio you can leverage these tools and how best to do so. This has led to the emergence of the new field of LLM operations (LLMOps).

Enterprise architects can support LLMOps by treating AI technology like any other new application. Assess the functional and technical fit of the AI application, check its security, compare it to similar applications on the market, ensure it's fairly priced, and you can't go wrong.

The key for leveraging AI technology is to understand the market and your application portfolio, so you can see what AI tools are available and where they can fit into your IT landscape. It may well be the case that there aren't any suitable AI tools that will support your business strategy, in which case you don't have to use any.

There will, of course, be a lot of pressure from leadership to leverage this new technology, often to draw the attention of investors and partners. This, however, is precisely why you should be ready to respond with a full report on available AI tools and their potential functional and technical fit in your landscape.


4 Sustainable IT

Artificial intelligence (AI) may be an obvious area to consider, but one thing you may not be thinking about is IT sustainability. This, however, is increasingly a concern for regulators.

According to Ericsson, the IT sector’s carbon footprint is equivalent to 730 million tonnes, which is close to the 800 million tonnes generated by the aviation industry. When the regulators start asking questions about sustainability, your C-suite may call on IT leaders to reduce their contribution to your organization's carbon footprint.

While we're focused on functional and technical fit for applications, it's also worth considering the environmental impact of that application. It could be worth migrating to an application that uses less electricity, even if your current application is a high functional and technical fit.

That's why we worked with PwC to create an environmental, social, and governance capability map that you can use to identify the sustainability of your applications. To find out more, read our previous article:


READ: Sustainable Enterprise Architecture For ESG Transformation


5 Technology Obsolescence Risk Management

What do your IT components have to do with your application portfolio? Well, your application portfolio runs on IT components.

If your cutting-edge, artificially intelligent technology is running on a Windows 3.1 system on a server from the 1960s, you aren't going to get the full value out of it. Updating or, at least, managing your legacy technology is key for getting the most out of your application portfolio.

To make this affordable, however, you need to prioritize the components that you actually need to replace. Doing this requires knowing which components support which applications, and which of those applications support essential business capabilities.

This information isn't stored in your configuration management database (CMDB). That's why our Technology Risk and Compliance product will import data from ServiceNow and allow you to map out how your IT components relate to your applications and capabilities.


How LeanIX Can Help

The LeanIX application portfolio management product is the ideal solution for optimizing your application portfolio. Reducing complexity, managing cost, and aligning applications with critical business capabilities requires a well-organized, up-to-date application repository like the one our platform can create for you.

An overly complicated spreadsheet isn't going to be up to that task. You need a platform that can store all the information about your application landscape.

To find out more about how the LeanIX platform can discover your application portfolio, highlight the work that you need to do to modernize it, and even plan out your road map for development, book a demo:


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