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Integration & IT Modernization

Mastering Cloud Transformation for Business: Portfolio Transformation

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In this blog series, we’re exploring the four pillars of a successful Cloud Transformation: Program Model, Cloud Foundations, Portfolio Transformation, and Enterprise App Migration.  The first in the series focused on designing a successful cloud Program Model, and our second blog provided an overview of Cloud Foundations to start your cloud transformation journey on the right track for sustainable success.

Today, we are covering the key elements of Portfolio Transformation. Get excited, because this is where all the strategy and foundational work in which you’ve invested starts to produce business outcomes you’ve been pursuing around modernization, automation, agility, resiliency, data insights and new feature delivery!  And with app modernization, you’re very likely going to see FinOps impacts around cost savings and improved ROI, and ESG/sustainability impacts by moving to a cloud platform and improving your application performance and energy consumption.

As part of your cloud strategy, you’ve determined the hosting strategy you’ll use for modernizing and migrating your workloads, solutions, applications and data (your “Portfolio”).  This may be a cloud-first approach to a single public cloud provider, a multicloud approach or a hybrid cloud approach that includes your existing data center investments.  From there, you’ve aligned on the application platforms and service models that will act as your runtime platforms. You may be targeting cloud-native PaaS services, Kubernetes, OpenShift, serverless, or other options for your service enablement.

Remember, our primary goal is to enable your product teams to deliver on your organizational mission with a secure and governed approach, delivering unambiguous business value that clearly demonstrates the return on your transformation investments.

The Four Phases of Portfolio Transformation

Organizations progress through four phases of an app modernization journey. We believe in “strategy for the real world” and creating cloud programs that are strategically aligned and foundationally sound – and at the same time quickly demonstrate tactical progress that builds trust, excites teams, and confirms stakeholder buy-in.

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With your initial cloud strategy, cloud foundations and organizational alignment in place, you are at the starting line for your App Modernization program:

Phase 1 of Portfolio Transformation: Discovery and Assessment

During this phase, the focus is on discovering, inventorying, and assessing your server workloads, applications, and data. We recommend intelligent tooling such as CAST Highlight for rapid application assessment to quickly inform direction and prioritization of your portfolio.  This phase includes a series of business, technical, and architectural workshops, including current-state analysis, future-state architecture and design, mapping critical dependencies, considering data strategy, planning for interoperability, conducting gap analysis, and creating a DevOps and automation strategy.

After completing Phase One, you’ll have a better understanding of your portfolio and be able to make informed decisions about the modernization path ahead.

Phase 2 of Portfolio Transformation: Portfolio Rationalization

Phase Warning! Rationalization can be tricky and is a common pitfall for transformation to stall out. To avoid this, commit to discovery tooling to lead your vision forward, and plan for an immediate “Wave One” migration and modernization effort with a small subset of applications to prove out your vision, gain cloud team buy-in, and remediate any bumps in your plan that may emerge as hands start to hit keyboards. It’s okay if things aren’t perfect – this the ideal time to assess and improve your migration strategy – and you’ll likely discover some existing application issues to address along the way (security gaps, hardcoding, configuration issues, etc.), so plan for some remediation time here as well.

During this phase, your modernization program takes shape, your vendor and partner teams define their roles and collaborate, and your migration strategy solidifies based on your cloud strategy and technical vision. Perform an ROI/TCO assessment and cloud cost estimation to ensure your business case remains solid. Define your key migration team roles, define your migration scope, create your migration backlog and roadmap, and select your initial wave of applications.

Remember, the goal is to work toward tangible progress! PDFs sit on shelves. But pilot migrations transform enterprises.

Phase 3 of Portfolio Transformation: Portfolio Migration

This phase steps on the gas pedal. Migration waves are increasing in scope and your teams & pods are adding velocity, perhaps at a global level. Your migration runbook is starting to evolve to meet various application needs, and the migration teams are making informed modernization choices for each application (we’ll talk about the ‘5Rs of App Modernization’ in the next blog post).

During this phase, automation is key for infrastructure and application deployment pipelines. Data integration should align with overall data strategy and fit into the APIM & interoperability vision. Quality assurance is critical to ensure performance, security, integration and feature reliability is working as expected. This is an exciting time for IT leaders as velocity is increasing and early investments are paying off for organizational transformation.

Phase 4 of Portfolio Transformation: Portfolio Operation

In this phase, Operations becomes a first-class citizen! The focus is on ensuring comprehensive monitoring, selecting appropriate tooling (likely a mix of cloud-native monitoring and logging, along with a third-party toolset for single pane of glass visibility – or integration with on-prem monitoring investments and processes.)

Cost management is critical, and we recommend CloudBolt for optimizing cloud spend and identifying remediations and savings recommendations. Analytics and intelligence capabilities now emerge for further business and operational insight, and additional enhancements and innovations start to enter the backlog. A sometimes-overlooked aspect is to sunset legacy applications and retire hardware to maximize savings and improve operational efficiency.

Knowledge sharing with internal operational teams and mobilization of a managed services partner often occurs as part of this phase to ensure seamless transition into the “Run” phase of the solution lifecycle – make sure to include planning for this early in the program so mobilization is seamless, and all teams feel ownership of the transformation journey.

Modernization Impacts

Whether you are migrating 10, 20, 500 or thousands of workloads, you are well on your way to changing how your organization delivers business value to your employees and end customers. You have set the path for impactful data insights, the emergence of incredible AI technology capabilities, and the ability to bring new features and product offerings to your customers faster than ever before. It’s an exciting time!

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The last segment in our blog series will dive deeper into enterprise app migration and modernization, reviewing the various approaches to application transformation that provide direction for at-scale transformation programs. Be sure to check it out.

For more in-depth solutions for IT leaders, we highly recommend checking out our free guide called the “VP of IT’s Guide to Transforming Your Business.” This guide provides further insights on how to achieve success in cloud strategy, data, DevOps, and product development to set your organization up for continued growth and success.

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