Webinar: Taking the risk out of application modernization with integrated DevOps
On February 27th, Rocket VP of Solutions Sales, Dan Magid, alongside Senior Sales Engineer, Charles Jones, hosted a webinar about the risks of application modernization, and how to minimize them with integrated DevOps. Dan and Charles described how modernization with integrated DevOps has resulted in huge successes for our customers, and we wanted to review some of the biggest takeaways. (You can watch the full webinar here.)
Where to begin—and how
Host-based businesses run on various core applications that have been developed and perfected over decades. While this IT provides a solid foundation for business, it’s limited in its ability to support the modern user experiences customers and employees have come to expect. End users are looking for enhanced digital experiences that make it easier to do their jobs and interact with your business, but the easier you try to make things, the harder it gets to manage all the moving parts. (Of course, the end user rarely knows that building a cleaner order management application could require up to ten different data sources that are distributed across three different platforms, but we digress.)
Dan Magid likened this problem to ordering coffee for a group of people. Accommodating every stakeholder’s numerous, nuanced requests in the final experience (the “order”) is akin to a barista mixing up a dozen unique coffee drinks, some with caramel drizzle, some lactose free, some venti, some tall. And on and on. Get one part of the order wrong and no one gets coffee. Get one part of the new web or mobile application wrong, and the digital experience you were hoping to deliver fails. Now the customer can’t order, and the employee doesn’t have a UX to serve the customer.
As the complexity of these projects goes up, the risk of failure increases. Developing engaging web and mobile experiences requires joining together a lot of disparate pieces. Get something out of sequence in the build or miss something in a deployment and the whole process can break down. The answer is to integrate automated DevOps into your modernization projects to better handle the complexity of connecting all those puzzle pieces, and deliver consistent process regardless of platform.
In today’s era of digital business, everything is interconnected. Even if you connect things via APIs, the complexity of interdependencies and ensuring everything is built correctly can be daunting. Integrated DevOps processes simplify development management and help ensure the applications don’t break.
How to begin
So, how do you take advantage of all these modern opportunities, and yet do it in a way that does not put your existing systems at risk? Well, we’ve seen Rocket customers take a few different approaches.
Buying the new technology outright
Though definitely the most extreme approach we’ve seen, buying a new out-of-the-box solution is always an option. Presumably, it’s technology that’s been proven in the marketplace, though it likely requires months and months of retrofitting to support one’s unique value propositions. There is also a steep training requirement.
Developing a bespoke solution
Often referred to as “we build ourselves,” this approach has many benefits, but it’s very expensive, and has many unknown factors. It’s hard to predict exactly when a solution like this will be “done” because not only do you have to recreate existing functions that were built over decades, but you must do it keeping in mind that your market and your business will continue to change. Time-to-market for this kind of custom solution is hard to predict.
The main reason we’ve seen these projects fail is because companies underestimate how much the original legacy apps control.
Seen as the least extreme option, incrementally modernizing applications and experiences has proven to be far more successful for our customers. Most start with their highest priority experiences, and simply work down the list.
How Rocket helps
What we do at Rocket is provide an integrated environment where customers have both the tools for building modern experiences (Rocket API, Rocket LegaSuite,) but also provide the multi-platform DevOps automation to manage them (Rocket Aldon Lifecycle Manager.) Combining solutions like these ensure you can modernize, and manage applications in a structured, repeatable, and measurable way.
Let’s say you want to build a new experience that depends on data from some very important IBM i applications. The new application will talk to your IBM i through a “services” layer. Rocket API is a tool that lets you take existing IBM i functions and expose them as SOAP or RESTful web services.
Let’s say you’re looking to create a RESTful service. First, you create these web services directly from IBM i apps by recording a single screen interaction. Rocket API then generates a web service interface—the API. Then you can call that service from whatever application you like.
Now that you’ve created your new web and mobile application, you need a holistic way to manage it regardless of code languages, and formats (distributed, open source, IBM i.) Rocket Aldon Lifecycle Manager lets you manage all those interactions with automation and consistent processes to ensure development success—everything from “hey, I need something new!” through to final delivery.
Modernization with integrated DevOps work on a singular principle: simplify!