Three key principles for successful Application Modernisation

Daniel Whitmarsh, Head of Consulting Services and Digital Technology at Telstra Purple

The increasing pressure on the IT department to drive innovation whilst keeping costs low can be difficult to manage at the best of times, but it’s even harder when a lot of time and money is spent on maintaining legacy applications or simply ‘keeping the lights on’.

Legacy applications still power a large proportion of enterprise IT infrastructure stacks, as organisations are often apprehensive to spend money on something that still does its job. Although these short-term gains aren’t likely to garner long-term benefit, as maintenance costs swell and performance drops over time. 

According to a report from the Hackett Group, spending 3 per cent more on technology can lead to a 29% saving in overall costs, with particular benefit reaped from “aggressively” sunsetting legacy systems to maximise performance. 

That’s why crafting an effective application modernisation strategy is so important, as it allows organisations to eliminate technical debt, reduce long-term costs, improve productivity, and deliver better customer experiences. 

However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to application modernisation and organisations tend to run into a few key challenges when they look to start on the modernisation journey. These include; 

  • Project duration and cost planning: One of the biggest and most common pain points for project managers is budget overrun. However, it’s a misconception that system/cloud migration and the associated refactoring work must be a costly affair. Cloud represents IT’s biggest money saver, as all other costs of modernising pay for themselves eventually. 
  • Attaining stakeholder buy-in: A smooth and successful modernisation of applications in the cloud depends on the buy-in from key stakeholders and application owners. Organisations should clearly demonstrate the benefits of app modernisation and cloud at all levels, including end-users, as successful modernisation requires a whole-of-business paradigm shift, with every team member on board. 
  • Identifying the right skillset: The most common challenge we hear from our customers is that they do not have the right skillset and internal cloud technical capabilities to undertake app modernisation. While there is a considerable skills gap in the market, most organisations overcome this by upskilling their teams and building a cloud center of excellence (CCOE), incorporating every stage of cloud adoption. 

In a previous article, we explored why organisations are embracing application modernisation and broke down the key benefits it offers. In this piece, we’ll explore how organisations can execute a successful modernisation strategy that’s robust and built for the future.

Here are three key principles organisations must follow, if they wish to modernise their apps successfully and fully reap the benefits that cloud has to offer.

 1. Carefully develop the right strategy and modernisation path 

It’s critical that organisations craft an application modernisation strategy that takes a business-first approach, as opposed to purely being technology-focused. The value lies in thinking strategically, becoming a trusted advisor to business heads, and planning across all domains. 

To get started, it’s important to look at your entire IT landscape to understand what should be modernised and what approach is needed. Understand how people and processes need to transform alongside the technology to get the most out of the investments. 

This can be accomplished by

  • Fostering an agile, DevOps ways of working 
  • Shifting to product-centric modes of delivery
  • Embracing a cloud-native approach

Your approach to application modernisation depends on your landscape. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, and each approach has different outcomes and ROI, based on business needs. 

2. Application assessment and discovery

Application assessment and discovery is an important way to start any application modernisation project.

Most organisations do not maintain an up-to-date configuration management database (CMDB), which makes it difficult to understand and gain insights into their application portfolio. Taking an inventory of what you have is almost always one of the best ways to start modernising applications. 

An assessment will give you an in-depth understanding of the current application landscape and provide critical information that will form the basis for a strong business case and modernisation roadmap. 

It must span across multiple dimensions, including application portfolio, infrastructure, costs, cloud readiness, and resource allocation. It helps identify what to eliminate, consolidate, modernise, replace, or remove, as well as where to invest in the future.

3. Building the roadmap

Developing a strong business case and a feasible roadmap is crucial. A roadmap helps in prioritising initiatives like cloud transformation, modernisation, automation, and DevOps by considering them in relation to timelines, costs, and the findings of the assessment and discovery phase. 

Modernisation roadmaps should align and categorise business needs to the value of applications, outlining where to invest and tolerate or eliminate and consolidate.

How we can help you 

At Telstra Purple, we work closely with our customers to understand their business and cloud objectives We partner with organisations to help establish a strong business case for application modernisation, establishing an effective application assessment and an outcome-oriented modernisation roadmap. 

Our modernisation approach involves three phase


● Applications inventory & technology stack details

● Identify the key applications & grouping

● Identify application dependencies

● Legacy applications

● Understand current limitations & challenges


● Identify framework version and modernisation options on cloud

● Cloud migration readiness assessment.

● Service mapping in public cloud.

● Microservices, DevOps & Automation.


● Application prioritisation.

● Modernisation roadmap & phase migration strategy.

● Design best practices for operating in cloud.

In the discovery phase, we conduct several workshops and interviews with key stakeholders and application owners to understand their key pain points and challenges, including current SLAs, as well as compliance, and security requirements. 

We take inputs from the discovery phase and perform an in-depth assessment of your applications, as part of our analyse phase. The stage is very important, as it allows us to begin building a roadmap that’s relevant to your business.

To carry out assessment and discovery, we often work with several partner and third-party assessment tools such as CloudPilot, CAST software, Turbonomics, and more. 

Our assessment focuses on application readiness for cloud, application compatibility for the selected modernisation approach, analysis of inter-dependencies and compatibility against selected cloud services for hosting, and the identification of potential modernisation blockers. 

Finally, we produce detailed application modernisation plan and the road map that works best for customer’s budget and the goals

An investment for the future 

App modernisation is an investment into the long-term prosperity of your business. It can be an expensive proposition and it’s not always straightforward, but it results in higher long-term revenues and helps cut costs stemming from the maintenance of complex legacy and large monolithic applications. Download our application modernisation guide here to see how you can fast track your modernisation journey with the Telstra Purple Talk to our experts, if you are looking to modernise your applications by choosing an approach that best meets your business needs.