Tech debt is the number one inhibitor to digital transformation. Thoughtful application modernization is a prerequisite for digital progress. Modernization reshapes legacy environments to fuel digital capabilities, boost agility and bolster resilience. It also reduces the costs associated with carrying unproductive technical debt.

But what if the most common approach to application modernization — lifting and shifting legacy applications to the cloud — actually creates new problems of its own?

That’s where we are today. Many organizations are learning just how much the cloud can increase their operating costs. As for those applications that are so old, they no longer serve the needs of the business, now they’re old and not serving the business in the cloud.

Yet done right, application modernization can deliver big and valuable results. These include:

  • 39% cost savings due to reduction of technical debt
  • 42% faster time to value
  • 37% of applications discovered as redundant and able to be retired
  • 43% reduction in carbon-dioxide output from IT operations

However, none of these gains are likely to come by simply moving legacy applications to the public cloud. Clearly, a better way is needed.

Taking stock

True modernization success requires much more than a simple lift-and-shift. The first real step is taking an inventory of the organization’s application estate: Which applications does the organization have, licensed for how many seats, and at what cost? While that may sound obvious, some large organizations have literally thousands of applications (or much more!), so tracking each app can be a massive job.

Once this is done, the second key is identifying the organization’s ideal end state. This is ascertained by asking open questions: How many, and which, applications does the organization truly need to support the business? Which of its current applications can be retired or consolidated? Which new applications will the organization need to acquire, and what’s their expected return on investment?

Given the scale and scope of these jobs, they far outstrip the capacity of staff manually update spreadsheets. There are simply too many variables. What’s needed instead is an approach that uses intelligent automation for both scale and speed. Even better would be an approach that also lets organizations benefit from the application-modernization learnings and experiences of others.

Learn from others

That’s exactly what DXC Technology has developed with the DXC Modernization Studio. This cloud-based platform, using IP from DXC and its partners, contains tools and a databank of all our apps modernization customers, all data masked for anonymity and privacy. This lets us identify modernization patterns that can be applied to new projects.

To date, we have collected data on 645 customers, involving nearly 2 million application updates across various industries and geographies. The learnings from these prior engagements benefit existing and new customers offering a powerful way to supercharge their application modernization roadmaps.

The DXC Modernization Studio works, in part, by applying AI and machine learning to help customers better understand the applications they have. For example, one of our customers recently discovered, with our help, that it runs over 9,000 applications. Another “discovered” applications on some 170,000 virtual servers. These numbers are simply too big for manual accounting.

The DXC Modernization Studio allows our customers to compare their application inventory to other organizations within their particular industry or region. Our algorithms recommend best practices appropriate to their own modernization challenge. As each migration customer’s data is added to DXC’s databank, our valuable insights continue to be refined for the next customer.

That led the CIO of a large Asian bank to tell us, “DXC Modernization Studio is the best thing I’ve ever seen.”

Learn more about DXC applications modernization.


About the authors

Neil Waller is general manager of applications modernization at DXC Technology. In this role, he leads DXC's portfolio of innovative IT transformation services for our enterprise clients who want to reduce operating costs and increase agility. These services tackle the metamorphosis required in technology; process and people to deliver superior business performance.

Slava Petrova is an advisor for DXC Modernization Studio.