Application modernization makes a dent in the technology universe

Survey finds on average, IT managers report at least three to four measurable improvements from IT modernization efforts.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

"Application modernization" has been an endeavor on IT's overflowing work palette for decades now. Now, a recent survey suggests that it is finally making inroads into amping up companies' digital capabilities.

Photo: Joe McKendrick

The recent survey of 400 IT leaders, commissioned by Insight and conducted by IDG, finds "modernization efforts to-date are already generating measurable improvements in service quality, user experience, and cost-efficiency," the survey's authors state.  

So what is "modernization" in a 2022 context? Just few years back, it meant pulling away from mainframes and midrange-class servers to Windows and Linux (and Unix). Then it became moving from Windows/Linux server collections to cloud-based services. And now? It means continuing embrace of wholesale digital transformation for the business as a whole, built upon "As-a-Service" environments that provide capabilities ranging from artificial intelligence to IoT data management.  

The survey may help IT modernization proponents go their C-suite decision-makers to show the benefits of moving to new platforms. On average, managers report at least three to four measurable improvements from IT modernization efforts to-date, with the top ones being improved quality of service and improved user experience. 

Here is what has come out of IT modernization efforts so far: 

  • Improved quality of service  44%
  • Improved user experience/satisfaction 40%
  • Improved business continuity 35%
  • Cost-efficiency/savings 34%
  • Resource optimization 33%
  • Increased agility 32%
  • Increased innovation/creation of new revenue-generating products 32%
  • Faster time to value 31%
  • Improved risk profile 30%
  • Increased availability/uptime 30%
  • Increased TAM by accessing different/new revenue streams 24%
  • None 1%    

IT managers also see greater potential for the business as they increase their modernization initiatives. A total of 90% expect IT modernization to have a transformative or significant impact on long-term growth. In addition, 65% of respondents place "high importance" on accelerating application development and modernization to enable innovation. This is consistent across company size, from small to enterprise-scale.

As-a-Service platforms seen as critical to modernization efforts include Network as a Service (53%), Infrastructure as a Service (52%), Hybrid Cloud as a Service (51%), and Security as a Service (50%). 

To move forward with IT modernization, most respondents prioritize observability, security, and governance. At the same time, close to two in five respondents (39%) report that infrastructure holds their organization back from innovation. "Many are finding their infrastructures aren't properly optimized to support digital dexterity, a culture of practices that empowers employees to deliver stronger value, faster, from ongoing digital initiatives." 

Skills issues and lack of dexterity in current infrastructures hold back IT managers' efforts to deliver value to the business:  

  • Gaps in technology skills & knowledge 44%
  • Infrastructure is not optimized to support digital dexterity 39%
  • Inadequate data analysis capabilities for decision-making 39%
  • Budget constraints to fund innovation 37%
  • Cultural misalignment/disconnects between IT operations & development teams 37%
  • Technical debt (resulting from a reliance on siloed, legacy systems & processes) 34%
  • Lack of a unified, proactive approach to security & governance 31%
  • None 6%  

As mentioned above, IT modernization has been a long-term, continuing effort. Today's shiny new systems are tomorrow's rigid legacy systems. All part of keeping up with the business. 

Editorial standards