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Application Modernization - Empowering Banking During Covid-19 And Beyond?

Neelesh Kripalani, Sr. VP & Head - Center of Excellence, Clover Infotech

Neelesh brings more than twenty years of experience in the IT industry, which in fact is a perfect blend of IT services and BFSI sector experience.

As the Coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown gripped the country, many businesses were adversely affected and the banking industry is no exception. Customers are reluctant to reach out physically to bank branches to avail services. Hence, banks need to make efforts to bring services to the customers through their online platforms and social media handles in order to ensure that the customer service is at least on par with pre-COVID levels, if not better. One way to achieve this is to provide enhanced digital experience to the customers through immersive mobile apps. However, if these apps are built on legacy technologies, then it poses a series of challenges such as interrupted experience, slow to load and security perils.

As per recent reports, nearly 80 percent of bank operations leaders say their organizations’ existence could be threatened if they don’t update the technology to become more flexible and capable of supporting the rapid innovation that is required to survive in the new normal. Thus, modernizing application landscape and the underlying infrastructure is on many CIOs’ priority list.

The benefits of application modernization can typically be summarized as improving the development and deployment timing of applications, enhancing its speed and features, and most importantly making it scalable and flexible to accommodate increased loads in uncertain times. However, CIOs are faced with many pressing questions while embarking on this journey. These challenges boil down to cost and complexity. Undertaking the modernization and migration exercise with no long-term thought and strategy will prove to be a futile effort.

The key to success in application modernization, like most things, ultimately comes down to strategy

and picking the right approach. The right approach must let organizations access the benefits of cloud, speed, performance and scale while being aligned with the business strategy to enhance the ROI.

Here are the key steps to reap maximum benefits out of the application modernization and migration exercise:

Start the process with an application landscape assessment - One of the first steps in modernization is typically conducting a complete assessment of application landscape to get a better understanding of the organization’s current modernization quotient.

Pick up the most compatible approach for application modernization - There are a handful of well-known approaches to application modernization that focus on a combination of the platform, the application’s architecture, and exposing an application’s functionality via API.

As per recent reports, nearly 80 percent of bank operations leaders say their organizations’ existence could be threatened if they don’t update the technology

Lift and shift model: This approach involves moving your application’s underlying resources from an on-premise data center to the cloud as-is. In this option, the application codebase remains the same, the infrastructure is migrated to cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), including cloud-based storage, compute, and network resources.

Re-platforming: This approach is also known as ‘lift-tinker-and-shift’. In this approach, a developer might make a few cloud (or other) optimizations in order to achieve some tangible benefit, but they aren’t otherwise changing the core architecture of the application.

Re-architect: In this approach, the legacy monolithic application is re-architected according to the micro-services model, and containerized to roll out modern DevOps practices. This involves decomposing or dividing monolithic application into a collection of services that can be built, deployed and managed independently. It involves materially altering or decomposing the application into services rather than a complete rebuild. It is done by breaking down a monolithic application into a collection of small, loosely coupled micro-services.

Re-building: Contrary to other approaches, in this approach legacy application codes are re-written keeping cloud-native environment in mind. Outdated legacy platforms are replaced with modern framework such as Java & .NET. This approach might take up a lot of resources. However, in the longrun, it yields maximum benefits for being a true digital-native organization.

Whatever the approach may be, in this multifaceted business environment, the banking industry needs to rationalize their complex, ineffective, expensive to manage and outdated IT systems into a simpler, efficient and cost-effective IT portfolio. To achieve this, the IT landscape must be aligned with the organization’s business objectives and must be flexible enough to survive trying times. This implies that legacy applications, traditional operating models and low performing assets and processes must be quickly assessed and upgraded or decomposed basis their effectiveness with respect to future objectives.

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