Modernization is more than a buzzword. It is a real, mission critical endeavor, essential for security, efficiency, and mission success. When modernizing IT systems, especially in the federal government, one size does not fit all so strategic planning is paramount.

We know trying to understand your entire application portfolio from a modernization perspective is daunting. That’s why we do what we do. You might be asking “where do I start”?

Our approach to the IT modernization journey always begins with something called application rationalization – a data-driven analysis and evaluation of the current state and target future state of the architecture, based on both business and technical needs. Our process is multiple steps, but the important part is that it’s repeatable, scalable, and tailored for any customer we’re working with.

First, Understand the Business Value & Analyze the Investment Strategy

We start by using tools like questionnaires, interviews and automated harvesting of existing data to gain an understanding of the business value of each application in consideration for modernization. We want to know what role this application plays in the business and what activities and functions it supports to ensure that the future state of the application can meet those needs.

For each application in consideration, it’s important to also consider the investment value. Considering all that is uncovered through our business value research, each application is scored onto a matrix where it will fall into one of four recommendation quadrants: Retain, Reinvest, Replatform, or Retire. Is there a reasonable business case for us to replatform? Does the analysis represent a diminishing value proposition that suggests retirement? The result of this process is a clearer view of the environment in which we’re working – where to invest and where not to invest, so we can keep our modernization efforts targeted and focused.

Next, Transformation Planning

For any modernization effort, one of the biggest challenges is knowing your options. Every day there appears to be a new choice in the marketplace. With our knowledge and experience of what’s out there, and our analysis of your business, we use this step in our process to determine whether applications selected for investment can be effectively and economically transitioned to a new delivery model. Our key is remaining business-aligned as we filter through alternate deployment models to determine the most appropriate fit.

Third, Design and Blueprinting

With this step in the process we find another challenge for many organizations – what should that target state design look like and what could I break when we switch to it?

We leverage a tool based design approach to convert current application profiles into comparable virtual machine configurations tuned for optimum performance for placement into your target state environment.  The result of this step is a visualization of this information known as a Blueprint, just like the blueprint drawing of a building is a representation of how the building is constructed.

This blueprint then becomes a critical tool for completing our analysis. Using our current state assessment, we identify complexity, risk, and business impact of the recommended migrations to the new architecture. Having an eye-catching drawing is one thing, but understanding how the switch will impact your employees and business is vital. We look at the complexity, dependencies and relations of the application to other applications and systems it relies upon – can I just move my app, or will I have to move other dependent entities as well?  All of this leads to risk mitigation strategies targeted to the specific tasks required to complete the migrations, which is what you want – no surprises.

And Finally, a Prioritized Roadmap

Technically two very detailed separate steps, I combine them here because they work together to round out our approach. First, we look at our blueprint and, based on dependencies, complexity, and business needs begin to bundle your applications and servers into prioritized deployment packages. Not a simple step by any means, we take into consideration all prior analysis components and add in things such as the client’s timeline, budget, and the availability of the resources that will be required for deployment and post-deployment.

From this final step, we can outline our roadmap forward. Depending on the degree that you want our team involved in the road ahead, we’ll provide a detailed project plan and budget for execution including everything down to skills planning for future work and maintenance.

With the type of in-depth strategic planning we complete through the application rationalization process, we gain a more accurate assessment of your applications and their environment, resulting in lower risk and a streamlined, efficient modernization process. Totally worth it every time.