Out with the old, in with the new. The new year is a perfect time to take stock of your business operations. Identify what’s working well, what needs to be tweaked and what is no longer meeting the needs of your growing business.
It’s also a perfect time to look at the performance of your core applications, which are the lifeblood of your business. After the last two years of the pandemic, we’ve put our systems through their paces and pushed the limits of what they may (or may not) have been designed for.
This evaluation is particularly important in a world where the workplace has been fundamentally and irreversibly changed. It has accelerated the need to have modern applications that can support the demands of today and the future.
Application Modernization Signals
One of the toughest things for many business leaders is knowing when software has reached or is nearing the end of its lifecycle, and it’s time to consider application modernization. Here are some signs to look out for:
- End of life—software support, security and patches coming to an end
- Usage drops, particularly for customer-facing apps
- Increasing complaints from end-users and IT staff
- Applications not compliant with updated accessibility legislation
- Performance issues like speed or missing functionality
- Maintenance costs are going up
- Worried your applications are not secure enough
- System is bloated with too many redundant, disconnected apps
- Applications not adaptable to changing business processes & growth
- Simply not creating any value for the business anymore
It’s important to remember that application modernization does not always mean a full rebuild or replacement. In our experience, application modernization strategies typically fall into one or more of these categories – Refresh, Rehost or Rebuild/Replace. To help out, we’ve published a detailed Application Modernization Guide with checklists, action plans and tips.
Resolve to Modernize
While application modernization might seem daunting, there are very good business reasons to make 2022 the year you make application modernization your top business resolution.
Improve Application Security
The average cost of security breaches in Canada is more than $6 million, and ransomware attacks are on the rise. Risks to businesses increase when software is misconfigured, outdated, or not built with proper safeguards in place.
With remote work continuing, and teams accessing critical business applications from home or public internet, companies have opened themselves up to a whole new world of security vulnerabilities. Are your applications able to deflect breach attempts? If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” it’s time to consider modernization.
Improve the Hybrid Experience
By 2023, IDC says digital transformation and business volatility will drive 70% of G2000 organizations to deploy remote or hybrid-first work models, redefining work processes and engaging more diverse talent pools.
Many businesses were able to quickly pivot to a remote workplace and provide people the tools they needed, but is the approach sustainable? Are the applications that were deployed in a hurry the right choice for your business long term? Employee experience, enhanced collaboration and security need to combine to deliver an approach to hybrid work that empowers productivity, growth and well-being.
By 2025, while a portion of the Canadian workforce will be back in the office, IDC predicts the share of workers working from home will be twice as large as what it was pre-pandemic. IDC
“There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy.” Milind Govekar, Gartner. “New workloads deployed in a cloud-native environment will be pervasive, not just popular and anything noncloud will be considered legacy.”
We’ve been talking about cloud solutions for many years and it may seem more like a 2018 resolution rather than 2022. But the reality is many organizations still host their applications on prem (for various reasons), and until they embrace the cloud, they won’t be able to tap into many of the trends, experiences, and business intelligence required to compete effectively for sales and talent.
95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021. Gartner
Supply Chain Focus
The fragility of our supply chain was exposed during the pandemic and remains a challenge for many businesses who are facing higher costs or a lack of availability of supplies. The BDC is expecting bottlenecks to remain throughout 2022.
Today’s supply chains need to be “elastic” to respond to market fluctuations. EY says companies looking to transition from survive to thrive in this environment will “increase overall investment in digital supply chain technologies and replace legacy platforms in order to gain end-to-end visibility and bring risks under control.” Legacy applications will hamper supply chain management and stifle growth in a critical time for many businesses.
Many companies are considering turning to Supply Chain as a Service solutions, which are delivered in the cloud. So whether you’re looking to upgrade your software or outsource the work, a certain level of application modernization will need to take place within your organization.
60% of companies are dissatisfied with the fit between their supply planning objectives and supply planning capability. Gartner
Streamline Software Solutions
As digital transformation accelerated, so did the number of software solutions deployed within our organizations. While many of these applications fulfilled a single objective, or were used for a period of time, surveys are showing that only 45% of company apps are being used regularly.
Now is a good time to complete a detailed inventory of all the applications being used within your business (both internal and customer-facing) and analyze how well they’re working for you. Do they align with your business workflows? Do they speak seamlessly to each other or create redundant work? Do you have a complete and cohesive view of all the analytics being generated by these apps? Can any of the applications be purged or combined?
There are many options for addressing all these issues such as building integrations, fully custom software solutions, low code development, off-the-shelf software or a mix of all. An experienced software partner can help you work through that and recommend a solution best suited to your business needs.
By 2025, 70% of new applications developed by organizations will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020. Gartner
Sales Future is Digital
When it comes to sales, brands and businesses need to deliver what Forrester calls “anywhere commerce” and will be making investments in the technologies necessary to make this happen.
We have seen a dramatic shift in how we interact and connect with customers, who expect to be able to seamlessly transact with your business on and offline. Think in-app purchases, in-store pick-up, a mix of ecommerce and in-store shopping sometimes all in the same day. Like the hybrid workplace, this shift will continue, and your business and software need to be able to support what your customers want.
This year, organizations that allocate 50%+ of their software development projects to customer facing initiatives will see revenue grow 15% faster compared to those that focus more on internal projects.
Focus on Experience
2022 is the year to take ownership of customer experience at every point, deliver on customer expectations for the quality of the experience, and leverage modern architecture to get there. Forrester
According to ZDNet, CIOs are focusing on how organizations use data to provide personalized services and products to customers. To make this happen, we need to understand what our customers really want using information-based insights and use software and solutions to create customer-friendly experiences that keep them coming back.
Outdated applications that were designed without a customer-centric focus will not succeed in delivering the best user experience, and will likely not provide the business intelligence you need to continually improve that experience.
Improve the Bottom Line
By now you get the technological, user experience and changing times reasons for which to consider application modernization. And while it all makes good sense, all you can think of is the dollars flying out of your bank account to undertake all this necessary work.
But this is an investment in your business. One which will generate return by way of more customers and revenue; satisfied, engaged and productive employees; and in the case of custom-built applications, by increasing the value of your business because the software you own is an asset on your balance sheet.
And you can bet your competitors are making these investments to improve their competitive advantage.
In Summary: It’s time to let legacy go
User experience, customer engagement, business intelligence and enhanced security are just some of the reasons businesses need to regularly review their operations and the applications that support it. Without effective, modern platforms, business growth can be hampered, and opportunities will be missed.
We know the process can be intimidating, but you don’t have to tackle it alone. At Whitecap, we have a proven process for assessing your existing applications and putting together a customized modernization strategy, like we recently did for library services provider Whitehots.
If you’ve resolved to make 2022 the year you modernize your operation, we can help. Let’s chat.