IT leaders struggle with application modernization, survey finds

Nearly 93% of IT leaders surveyed said that they found the process of application modernization challenging due to issues such as staffing and unavailability of tools, according to an Asperitas Consulting report.

Software development

A majority of IT leaders said in a recent survey that they struggle with the process of application modernization, according to a report from Asperitas Consulting.

Application modernization, according to Gartner, is the process of migrating legacy systems to new applications or platforms, including the integration of new functionality.

The concept has gained popularity due to enterprises’ efforts to scale and innovate faster, and all respondents to the Asperitas survey say that application modernization is in fact critical for their businesses.

More than 45% of IT leaders polled say that the applications they have modernized so far were critical to their businesses, followed by 28% saying that the completion of the process enabled them to innovate faster and scale rapidly.

At least 25% of respondents said that modernization improves productivity, followed by 11% claiming that implementing the process could make their enterprises more attractive to employees and customers.

Staffing, training issues plague modernization efforts

The report, based on a survey of over 150 IT decision makers working for organizations in the US with more than 1,000 employees, says that 93% of respondents say that they found application modernization challenging due to issues such as staffing and availability of proper tools and training.

More than 30% of respondents claim that identifying the right tools and technologies is an issue, followed by 20% saying that finding staff with the right experience is  another barrier to implementing application modernization.  

Another 18% say that choosing the right external partner is a challenge, with 17% claiming that training users on new systems is a another issue.

Nearly 11% of respondents say that securing the support of management is a challenge for them, according to the report.

Despite these varying opinions, the survey says that there was widespread agreement that upskilling and setting new internal processes was essential for successfully modernizing applications.

Nearly 82% of IT leaders claim that upskilling of internal staff and improvements to antiquated processes is extremely important to application modernization.

Multicloud poses security issues for application modernization

As part of the survey, IT leaders were asked about application modernization challenges in multicloud environments and they say that security is the biggest challenge, followed by integration with other platforms.

As many as 27% of respondents say that securing applications is a key issue, the report shows.

More than 26% of IT leaders feel that integration with on-premises systems and other cloud platforms is another challenge to application modernization in a multicloud environment, the report says.

Further, another 20% of respondents think that the biggest multicloud modernization challenge is ensuring portability between platforms.

Varied understanding of application modernization concept

The IT leaders polled have differences in their concept of application modernization.  While 33% of leaders say their definition of modernization is using cloud-based infrastructure, almost 32% say it was moving legacy systems to the cloud. Another 22% of respondents feel that it just means using cloud based tools, the report shows.

However, a majority, at least 59%, feel that using cloud-native services would ensure application modernization, according to the report.

Another 54% said that leveraging microservices meant that they were modernizing.

Time, proper tools are key to app modernization success

The report also points out that time and proper tools are key to success for an application modernization undertaking.

Nearly 36% of IT leaders polled say that a key application modernization best practice is giving yourself ample time to complete the project, and 34% say that the most important lesson is choosing the best tool for the job.

In terms of pitfalls to avoid, 36% of respondents say that the biggest issue is avoiding shortcuts, distractions and/or partners that over-promise, and nearly a quarter say that the biggest problem is waiting too long to modernize a system that clearly needs to

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