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Future-Proof Your Business. An Expert's Take on Navigating App Modernization

With innovation progressing at an unprecedented pace and customer expectations escalating even faster, many businesses find themselves at a critical crossroad: embrace modernization or risk obsolescence. We sit down with IT modernization expert, Thomas Tomow, to discuss the journey toward futureproofing businesses through application modernization.  


Modernization Guided by Business Needs   

Thomas starts by urging us to expand our understanding of Application Modernization. It's not about simply replacing one technology for another but rather an active process of supporting fluid business needs.  

Business changes, evolving customer needs, changing landscapes, and rapid tech developments all contribute to shifts in business goals and, consequently, business needs. These changes necessitate businesses to switch to new ways of thinking and working. So, it is crucial to understand that "App modernization" is not a fleeting trend. It is an ongoing process that allows businesses to futureproof their organizations. The expert likens outdated applications to old infrastructure - (sometimes) functional, yet far from optimal. "It's about keeping your business not just running but thriving and ready for future opportunities."   

"Modernization is not an IT project; it's a business survival strategy"  

According to Thomas, there are several business needs that prompt modernization. Security, in particular, is often a hidden driver for modernization, as outdated applications and infrastructure cannot protect against modern cyber threats. Additionally, some enterprises also seek app modernization to stay competitive. The decline of MySpace, once a major social networking site, was largely attributed to its inadequate technology base, unlike Facebook, which was better prepared for scalability. Furthermore, an often overlooked business need is employee satisfaction. Old software can often be inconvenient and challenging to work with. Providing employees with updated, intuitive-to-use software will contribute to the organization's productivity and overall satisfaction.   

Ultimately, your technology should be adjusted to your business ambitions, not the other way around. 

Modernization Vs. Culture:

Modernization cannot happen in isolation. Societal culture plays a massive part in the extent and speed of its implementation.  For example, Germany's cultural apprehensions and the country’s stringent regulations regarding new IT practices often make German companies hesitant to adopt new technology, which places them behind more agile markets.  

"It's not about reluctance but careful evaluation" Thomas explains. However, this caution sometimes leads to inertia, leaving businesses vulnerable in a market that rewards agility and innovation.  

The Risks of Stagnation:  

Technology is increasingly integral to business operations, with even traditional companies embracing digital transformation to stay competitive. As a result, more companies are becoming tech companies, opting to develop custom software to suit their unique needs and heavily in their IT infrastructures. In this environment, the stakes are high - companies that fail to modernize may lose their competitive edge and, ultimately, their relevance.  

Smartification: How AI can support Modernization 

Thomas acknowledges that sometimes companies cannot replace critical components within their tech infrastructure. Factors like software nature or utilization, budgetary constraints, and others can limit the possibility of modernization.   

In those cases, he introduces to us the concept of "smartification." This approach leverages AI to bring legacy systems up to speed with current business demands, providing a happy medium for companies struggling to make the transition.   

Software that is (currently) not changeable can be connected to software with a bit more AI capability to compensate for the requirements.  For times when the shifts in business needs are not dramatic, this approach can be a more accessible solution to many. 

What Does the Future Hold

With AI making waves in all industries, most organizations must build or, at least, reform their current infrastructure to fit within this new norm. According to Thomas, AI integration is quickly becoming the norm rather than an exception. However, while the expert’s insights reveal a landscape ripe for transformation, much work must be done to lay the groundwork for many companies.  

Additionally, he emphasizes that the modernization journey can only start with recognizing the business need driving the change - arguably, —the most delicate step of the process. It's a journey that begins with awareness and is realized through strategic implementation.  "A successful modernization project begins with the right strategy," he notes. 

Reflecting on the conversation, Thomas' expertise illuminates the importance of evolving IT practices—not as a response to trends but as a proactive measure. His analogy of modernization being like renovating a home resonates with the need for a solid foundation before embracing the future.  


This article offers only a small glimpse into application modernization's vast potential. App Modernization is unavoidable to ensure a business’ survival and vitality in the long run. So, why not do it right? For businesses ready to take the next step, Xebia offers resources and expertise to help you navigate this journey with confidence. 

Do you want to learn more about App Modernization?
Download the eBook Application Modernization: Strategies for IT Leadership and Innovation

App Modernization Roadmap


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