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Selecting Apps to Modernize

In the previous blog, I provided an overview of App Modernization. Once a client decides to embark on an App Modernization effort a very common question asked is “where to start?” Fortunately, the goals are straightforward: 1) maximize ROI and 2) minimize risk. You’ll keep both in mind throughout the process. Wow, that was easy! The actual process of planning an App Modernization effort, however, can be tedious and time-consuming, especially a large scale one.

Here are some criteria for selecting your first round of apps to modernize:

  • Apps that use old technologies that might be unsupported, or technologies for which is difficult to find experienced developers
    >Maximizes ROI and minimizes risk

  • Apps that require specialized hardware or operating systems that are costly in some way (e.g. mainframes, AS400, Windows 95)
    >Maximizes ROI and minimizes risk

  • Apps with a code base that is archaic or difficult to maintain, such that changes and enhancements require significant effort/cost
    >Maximizes ROI

  • Apps that are relatively small and simple, and not mission critical
    >Minimizes risk

  • Apps that are not tightly coupled or dependent on other apps (e.g. we can move/modernize app ‘A’ without affecting other apps, but moving/modernizing app ‘B’ would break apps ‘C’ and ‘D’)
    >Minimizes risk

  • Apps whose features and requirements are well known, so that your team will be able to test them thoroughly and feel confident when they are ready to ship
    >Minimizes risk

While there may be other deciding factors, this a key list to help you get started in selecting which apps to modernize. This list should bring your most painful/costly and least risky applications to the forefront. Those are your high ROI targets. Again, our goals are to maximize ROI and minimize risk, so start with some small, non-mission-critical apps, and use those apps as a learning exercise. After modernizing a few of those apps you will have firmed up your app modernization approach and gained experience with the process so that you can take on the next round of apps with confidence.

Up next: Selecting Your Go-Forward Technical Approach

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About The Author

National Azure Solution Manager

Vince is a National Azure Solution Manager based out of Cardinal's Columbus office. He helps companies across the U.S. succeed in moving to the cloud – specifically Azure – with a particular focus on App Modernization, DevOps, and IoT. He loves building and fixing things, and working with teams to achieve success. For over 25 years, Vince has been applying those passions to the IT industry. As a former certified trainer he has enjoyed training hundreds of students, and is active in the community presenting technology topics at IT conferences and user groups. For the last 15 years, Vince has specialized in Microsoft’s technology stack and is always striving to learn more effective ways to build applications that solve challenging IT problems. While work is his main hobby, Vince also enjoys bicycling, hiking, and traveling with his family.