A non-modernized digital business is an oxymoron. In a climate rife with disruptions and innovations, organizations are moving at a pace that needs to put their Modernization imperative into perspective. Digital Transformation thrives on the modernization paradigm for a robust architectural roadmap. Business models and IT architectures are evolving in tandem; to build and sustain the digital ecosystem. McKinsey cited in its report that outdated IT systems are often the biggest Achilles’ heel for established companies to successfully compete and they would need an IT architecture that is ‘modular, simple, customer-centric and configurable’ to enjoy the same cost and performance benefits.

Customers would be most impacted through their cumulative journeys, not just individual touch points. While CX deals with the influence on a customer with any part of the organization, Digital CX deals with the Digital touchpoints that seek to influence a customer’s experience. In this age, digital CX plays into every aspect of your lives- deeply questioning your brand to build value in every channel for a holistic interaction. An underlying attribute of better Digital CX is improved operations. An IDC survey conducted in 2016, of more than 150 executives across diverse industries have chosen ‘better operations’ as the top focus area for their digital efforts. It stands to reason that if business transformation through operations doesn’t happen first, customer facing-initiatives would not see the light of day!

Frequently Chosen Digital Oppurtunities

Better operations would only come about through architecture modernization.  Building modern software is the first step in realizing this reality.

Architecting your Modern Software

Your Digital CX narrative needs a multi-dimensional approach to software modernization. This would result in creating a truly modern software having attributes like:

  • Scalability and Availability
  • Adaptive/Self-Learning Ability
  • Resilient/Highly secure software infrastructure
  • Performance
  • Technology-Agnostic Behaviour
  • Reusability

Before charting your Modernization roadmap that identifies your end-goal, you would do well to understand your current state and direction through an Architecture Consulting exercise to identify potential gaps. Modernizing software can be a rewarding experience if you know what’s in store for you. One must avoid the common mistakes of underestimation of efforts, time and resources throughout the modernization journey.

Key factors while considering a modernization drive would include:

  • Customer Expectations
  • Security
  • Continuity and Future Readiness
  • Cost
  • User Experience

Architecture Modernization Trends

As Digitalization aims at maximizing business value, rational IT modernization is the need of the hour. Technology would always be central to your digital strategy. Leaving behind a legacy, quite literally is the path to digital excellence.

IDC estimates that at any point of time, enterprises are actively evolving only 25% of their applications. With data gravity moving to the cloud, application platforms are taking to the cloud to deliver the flexibility and scalability that organizations desire. Subscription-based models would emerge as newer consumption patterns lead to a more defined revenue pattern. SaaS is on a growth trajectory to meet an inflexion point as more organizations are taking to this model. Core CRM systems are also moving to the cloud. Hybrid models of on-premise and cloud is also on the rise when the network and data-center infrastructure is constrained. Mobile apps built with hybrid architectures would balance portability with native features to manage criticality.

According to a 2015 Gartner survey, 45% respondents indicated that application modernization of installed on-premises core enterprise applications was a top 5 priority. Applications are gaining autonomy with the three building blocks- Containers, APIs and Flexible Cloud Infrastructure. Application modernization would involve redesigned, repurposed applications with best-in-class tools and technologies to become containerized or service-oriented. Microservices as an architecture pattern is gaining prominence. Next-generation cloud native apps would be built with superior application design to accommodate the new microservices architecture. Tools that are focused on Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps will fortify the Microservices ecosystem.

This would deconstruct the monolithic application into independent functional components, reducing the integration overhead. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75% of application purchases supporting digital businesses will be ‘build’, not ‘buy’.

Light-weight infrastructure would be the key differentiator to augment agility within your enterprise. 

With a light-weight infrastructure, orchestrating data flows would be more seamless. Leading-edge hybrid integration platforms are evolving as organizations are looking to optimize the data that the Nexus of Forces brings. Gartner’s prediction is that by 2020, 75% of organizations would have deployed Advanced Analytics into their architectures to improve business decision-making.

Complexities can, however, arise with the data explosion from IoT and the device mesh.

With the expanding device mesh defined as end points people use to access information and applications for interaction with a large number of stakeholders, enterprise architects must ensure that security is not compromised. For this, an adaptive security architecture that mitigates risk must be built. By 2020, Gartner has predicted that 60% of enterprise information security budgets would be allocated to rapid detection and response.

Advanced machine learning and deep neural nets (DNNs) have created smart machines that can perceive the world autonomously. Competitive advantage could be built by applying such technologies for more intelligent insights. As smart machines and the digital mesh rule the world, it would call for ultraefficient neuromorphic architectures to proliferate into the tiniest IoT endpoints.

GE is planning to drive $700 million of productivity gains by the end of 2017 through its industrial cloud-based platform, Predix. This is a reflection of their corporate vision to reshape the industrial world through advanced software.

Predix is an example of how superior software can lead to productive outcomes.

It’s time to sow your Modernized Architecture. Now!

Watch our Webcast on “Why Your Digital CX Story is incomplete without Architecture Modernization” for more insights.

Vishwas Anand

Vishwas Anand

Thought Leadership & Research Lead at Aspire Systems
He is currently working as a Thought Leadership & Research Lead and is a co-creator of Aspire's Digital Transformation framework. He is an MBA(2012-14) from IIM-Kozhikode and a published poet and writer, having written for the digital section of The Washington Times, Copperfield Review, Aquillrelle among other publications.
Vishwas Anand