Does Partial Refactoring Make Business Sense?
CIO’s of large enterprises are aware that Digital Transformation cannot succeed without a good strategy for handling legacy applications’ modernization. The immediate driving factors for considering application modernization are:
- Security and Scalability challenges. E.g. Microsoft’s recent announcement for Windows 2008 end of support
- Business units demand technology solutions at a faster pace which cannot be supported by traditional development models
- Push to adopt cloud services for scalability and on-demand pricing
- Increasing cost from support and maintenance of legacy stack
- Unavailability of skills in the market
However, 56% of CIO’s surveyed recently, acknowledged that, while there is a prevailing sense of urgency to modernize and digitally transform their business; the big-bang approach to migration/modernization poses significant risks to ongoing business functions.
Risks with the modernization of applications are primarily driven by 3 major changes that accompany a typical modernization project at large enterprises.
Modernization beyond AS-IS
Allocating budgets for any business-critical applications’ modernization (funded by either business or technology) is difficult unless new feature requests are considered as part of modernization. On the other hand, when new feature development is taken up side-by-side with modernization, it is a recipe for failure as one has to migrate, modernize, re-platform, recode & enhance an application all at the same time.
Cloudification of application infrastructure
Every modernization project also involves consideration for some form of cloud (Public/Private/Hybrid). But cloud operations can get tricky. When used judiciously, it can result in significant cost savings & flexibility. However, poorly executed cloud operations may end up escalating your applications’ runtime cost. Existing IT and infra teams cannot scale up overnight to understand and run efficient cloud operations, coupled with changes due to application modernization. This mandates a cautious and phased approach to cloud movement.
The mandate for modernizing an application is generally two-fold. Reducing support & maintenance effort, as well as increasing the speed of new feature delivery. Both of these objectives require the IT team to adopt DevOps culture and invest effort in building faster release pipelines. But similar to any culture change, move to DevOps is better adopted by teams when done in a phased manner.
One does not climb Mt. Everest in a single streak. Planned Base Camps along the way provide security, comfort, and strength, thereby improving chances of success. Partial Refactoring of legacy applications is akin to these Everest Base Camps in your Modernization Journey.
In order to manage each of the above changes in a structured manner, organizations are increasingly turning to Partial (Staged) refactoring as a more promising approach to enterprise application modernization. This approach benefits an organization on three fronts:
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