The cloud is no longer merely viewed as a storage solution, for a growing number of enterprises, it is predominantly a strategic one.

A new generation of digital challengers; shifting customer behaviours; running costs of maintaining on-premises infrastructure; and the need to fully harness evolving possibilities in areas such as machine learning APIs and real-time analytics, are just some of the trends driving the acceleration of digital strategies across a number of sectors. The question is not “when” one accelerates; it is “how?”.

But digital transformation is only possible if one is developing in the cloud. In the past, corporates forged in a pre-digital age have been accused of being slow to unlock the possibilities available in this space. All too often, this characterisation is unfair. Such enterprises have long recognised the benefits and necessity of moving operations to the cloud, but a high operational reliance on business-critical legacy systems hosted on-site has necessitated a greater degree of caution and deliberation. Unfortunately for them, a new generation of competitor does not face such issues.

The arrival of a wave of challengers in the financial services sector, for example – platforms that have been built in the cloud from the ground up – has dramatically altered expectations around functionality and customer-focus, while also serving to showcase the agility and speed that can be unlocked by harnessing the cloud’s power. These digital arrivistes were once viewed predominantly through the prism of challenging incumbents when it came to attracting a new generation of tech-savvy customers, but Covid-19 has seen the mass adoption of digital solutions among a far wider range of demographics than pure digital natives.

Addressing technical barriers

New-breed digital platforms and changing consumer habits are not exclusive to the financial services sector and the need to move at speed is clear. Traditionally, a major issue preventing faster migration in a number of sectors has been security. That aspect has become less of an issue as both solutions and legislation have evolved. Now the stumbling block is more often technical. Legacy organisations, operating across extensive geographies and offering an array of legacy products and services are faced with the task of moving hugely complex on-site and co-location IT infrastructure developed over the course of many years.

Within that infrastructural landscape, the number of custom applications in play can be significant. These applications may be robust and time tested, but they are seldom cloud friendly. Moving them to the cloud in such a way that modernises as well as migrates is a costly and time-consuming process. A simple “lift and shift” approach will often not suffice, but manually altering specific parts of existing code to ensure applications are able to make the most of cloud-native functionality can be a risky, costly and hugely time-consuming procedure.

Enterprises with legacy, monolithic applications on Java or .NET have therefore been severely constrained in achieving their cloud migration goals. It was recognition of this fact that led global IT consulting and digital solutions provider Hexaware to bring AMAZE for Applications to market earlier this year.

AMAZE is an automated application replatforming solution for mass cloud migration which automatically analyses applications, replatforms them based on their criticality, and can move them to any public cloud platform. Its automation capabilities have been specifically designed to efficiently move applications built on Java and .NET to the cloud.

Cutting time and cost

Through automation, an application can be accurately and thoroughly assessed and estimated in a matter of hours. Whereas manual replatforming efforts can take six to nine months, legacy applications can be replatformed and deployed to the cloud in just six weeks using AMAZE.

Service providers are not always able to take the next step from code analysis and recommendation to action. AMAZE not only analyses and recommends, but also refactors the codes with high speed. In that sense it is neither a pure product nor a pure service, but a mixture of the two. Reducing implementation outlay and total cost of ownership, while increasing execution speed, performance levels and productivity levels, ROI can be achieved in the first 12 months.

A recent success story, see attached case study above, was Hexaware’s work with one of the largest banks in the US, an undertaking that involved the migration of a complex, business-critical Java web application developed more than a decade ago. As is so often the case with such legacy applications, much of the brainpower behind the app’s original development was unavailable for consultation. Despite these challenges, application cloud replatforming was completed using AMAZE in just six weeks, delivering more than 50% reduction in TCO and implementation cost, and cutting manual efforts by 50–75%.

In the digital era, the benefits of migrating legacy applications in order to unlock scalability, enhance customer experience and gain flexibility are myriad, but so too are the costs of getting it wrong. For businesses travelling to the cloud from a legacy application ecosystem, it is imperative they embrace the power of automation and fully investigate the suite of solutions available to help plot and lead the migration journey.