June 08, 2021
Podcast: How Do You Define Modern Applications?
In this episode of our podcast, we discuss how to define modern applications, how businesses are delivering value to customers & what's driving them forward
In the seventhepisode of our Get IT: Finding Successwith Hybrid Cloud in Canada podcast, KJ Burke andGlenn Gerrard from CDW and Henrik Gütle, General Manager, Microsoft Azurediscuss how to define modern applications, how businesses are delivering valueto their customers and where that is driving the business forward.
Here are some of the highlights of their conversation:
Buildingmodern applications in the cloud
From atechnology perspective, we see customers leveraging modern cloud technologies,such as containers, serverless, microservices and even low-code environmentsfor building modern applications in the cloud.
At the sametime, many companies need to reskill their developers to work in these newmodern environments. Think about concepts like DevOps and DevSecOps, or aboutproduct management as a discipline. With most of our customers, we're actuallyseeing this joint conversation on the technology side as well as on theorganizational side.
The importance of risk mitigation andthe freedom to fail
We have oursix R's we always talk about, whether you're repurchasing, rehosting,replatforming, refactoring, retiring or retaining. Those six R's are important,but we can also add a seventh R, which is risk mitigation. How are you going tomitigate risk with what you're doing? You need to be assessing where you cantake risks, because if you can't fail, you're not going to be able to innovate.You need the freedom to fail.
Next you needto understand the regulatory environment of the apps that you want to move ormodernize. You need to focus on security and scalability and you need to getthe people side right. The keys to delivering any solution are people,processes and technology, and in almost all cases, technology is the easiestone to get right.
You need toget out there, plan for success, start small, focus on what works, where you'reOK to fail. See where you're going to get some impactful outcomes, and thenmove fast. Crawl, walk, then run.
What separates top-performingcompanies
Microsoftreleased a study with McKinsey called DeveloperVelocity, whichsurveyed a large number of companies to identify what separates top-performingcompanies from bottom-performing companies. These weren't traditional IT companies;these were companies across financial services, retailers, energy companies andso forth.
One of thekey findings was companies that invested in developer velocity wereoutperforming other companies in terms of profitability, as well as time to marketfor new, innovative products. And the goal was really around how do they enabletheir companies to become software companies? How do they enable theirdevelopers to produce applications, new features, new functions much morerapidly than they've done in the past.
It wasinteresting to see how app modernization leads to companies becoming softwarecompanies, and clearly separates top-performing companies, in whatever industrythey're in, from bottom-performers. Some of the recent things we've seen throughoutthe pandemic have only accelerated that.
How to define success in adoptingapplication modernization platforms
When we'retalking to customers, where they're seeing the most value is general isefficiency. Once they get to that run or fly piece of crawl, walk, run, flythey're able to reuse code, quickly iterate, do A/B testing with theircustomers. So there's a lot of efficiencies that get driven into that.
When you moveto a microservices architecture, the crawl, walk phase is work. But then afterthat, you're starting to simplify, and you're very quickly able to recyclecode, for example. That in turn drives a bunch of other benefits like serviceimprovement. I can work quickly to spin something up for a customer, arequirement or a new feature, whatever the case might be. It ends up being alot more fiscally responsible for the company.
And folkstalk about that and say Oh, the company's going to save money on X or Y.True. But coming back to the developer side, when you get that type of internalculture, you're going to attract better developers that want to come and workwith you. Surely all these things drive better response to your end customersas well. We now know that customers want this feature, so we can quicklyiterate and add that feature, add, remove and change things as required.
4 things to consider when startingwith application modernization
In theirconversation, Glenn Gerrard touched on four challenges you need to solve forwhen considering app modernization:
- Youneed to look at what can be automated, because human intervention causeserrors.
- Youneed to ensure you get clarity on who owns which issues, as you will run intoissues.
- Youneed to ensure that whatever metrics for success you have are actually going tomatch your desired outcomes. It's better to actually improve your performancethan it is to just drive activity.
- It'scritically important for the operations side to help build newer capabilities.They need to become closer with developers and start to learn a bit about theirside to develop understanding and empathy.
Again, comingback to technology, people, process technology is the easiest part. It's thepeople part we really need to get right.
For more insights on modern applications, listen to Episode 7 now. And tune in weekly for additional podcasts in this series!