Modernize Your Data, Applications, Cloud — And Your Organization 

To unlock all the benefits of the cloud — faster time to marketagility, scale and optimized economics — continuous modernization must be part of a holistic digital transformation.   

That’s because digital transformation is not just about technology; its about business processes and organization. Aligning those processes to your goals — such as delivering new products and services faster and superior customer experiences — is foundational to leading in this everything-as-a-service era.   

It also means getting the right data to the right applications at the right business moment. Optimizing applicationsmeans fitting the infrastructure to what the application needs, not the other way around. Similarly, deploying your applications and data sources to the right cloud enables better agility, performance, and economics.  

By modernizing applications, data, cloud and organization, your business can not only accelerate the delivery of new products, services and experiences, it will also increase business agility — the ability to rapidly adjust to evolving (or radically changing) business circumstances.  With the speed of business accelerating along with customer demands, an agile infrastructure and application strategy is imperative. 

Myriad goals, successful outcomes 

Organizations come to understand the necessity of modernization for many reasons, but the benefits are uniformly undeniable.   

For Delmar International, a global transportation and logistics company, strong international growth through acquisitions was hampered by aging data center infrastructure, degraded application performance and the challenges of integrating all the existing infrastructure from those acquired companies.   

Traditionally, the company owned all its IT infrastructure. The downside to that, of course, is spending time on infrastructure and not laser focused on the business along with a lack of scalability and agility. After getting buy-in from company leaders, CTO Ron McIntyre moved a single application to public cloud. Reports that were timing out after 1,200 seconds were suddenly being completed in 12 seconds.  

It was a light bulb moment for McIntyre, who moved to develop a comprehensive strategy to modernize, integrate and optimize Delmar’s entire technology stack from applications to infrastructure 

[Read more: Process First, Technology SecondDelmar Partners with Rackspace for Application Modernization] 

Modernization is about more than apps. For Feeding America, the goal was to get out of the hardware business and find a managed services provider, allowing the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief and food rescue organization to focus on its mission.  

Moving Feeding America’s infrastructure out of its colocation solution to a managed private cloud brought additional benefits, allowing the organization to tap into best-of-breed technologies that can rapidly scale up or down to fit its needs, with an operational cost as opposed to a capital expense outlay that has been reduced by a whopping 45 percent.  

[Read more: No Time for Managing Hardware in the Fight Against Hunger] 

For Boozta Nordic multi-brand ecommerce site that attracts more than five million visitors a month, the goal was to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance customer experiences and drive growth. But first, it needed to make sure it’s infrastructure could cope with the increased traffic those technologies would bring. A move to public cloud was the first step, but then Boozt leaders needed to make a decision: go out and hire and build what it needed or find a partner who had done it before.   

The company chose Rackspace, which helped them maximize their chosen cloud platform and integrate cutting edge data analytic, machine learning and AI. Already, Boozt has seen a 50 percent increase in click-throughs on recommended items, thanks to better use of relevant customer data.  

[Read more: Helping Boozt Maximize the Results of Increased Customer Demand]  

Overcoming the challenges of modernization 

These successes are undeniable, but the challenges each company faced are common. Traditional IT structures, siloed and proprietary applications, outdated processes and resource-intensive operations can all slow the pace of modernization.    

Deeply embedded traditional applications and infrastructureare a major roadblockas these were designed to automate now out-of-date business processes using inflexible technology stacks.  

Even the very first step — understanding current business and IT processesin order to re-align or redesign them to drive superior customer experiences, accelerating new products and services — can be a roadblock, as this work requires bandwidth your business and IT teams may not possess. Yet this step is critical to leading in an everything-as-a-service world.  

That’s where an expert partner can help. Given the complexity of today’s IT landscape, it almost never makes sense to go it alone. But how do you assess potential partners’ capabilities? 

Be on the lookout for companies that understand modernization is not as a one and done activity but should be considered a continuous process. The right partner should also be able to:  

  • guide you through the early work of establishing the right business processes and systems to support agile execution;   
  • look beyond the current organization to build out a talent pool able to scale and support the organization’s digital initiatives through a new ecosystem;
  • anticipate and implement innovation quickly, with the right vision of what modern applications can be and understanding different cloud models;
  • customize, modernize and migrate existing applications to integrate and scale with the latest technologies and meet the demands of the business and 
  • rebalance the operating model to optimize applications and infrastructure and reduce costs. 

Continuous modernization requires that organizations take a comprehensive view of their application and infrastructure environment. It is thinking beyond just applications and infrastructure and expanding to consider how applications impact and are impacted by business processes, new and rapidly changing data, a DevOps culture and tools, cloud infrastructure, continuity and deployment options.  


If you’re looking for a strategic trusted partner to guide your modernization journey, consider Rackspace:  

Pierre Fricke leads portfolio marketing for Rackspace. Pierre is responsible for developing and implementing the integrated portfolio narrative and messaging framework globally for our full services portfolio, specific segments, and core customer challenges, plus ownership of the integrated, customer-facing roadmap. Pierre Fricke joined Rackspace in 2018 as the company's senior director of product marketing for private cloud. He led a team working to expand knowledge of the opportunities private-cloud-as-a-service can offer enterprises as part of their digital transformations. Pierre co-led Rackspace’s effort to define and lead this new category and help companies understand how it fits into today’s multi-cloud world. Prior to Rackspace, Pierre worked for EnterpriseDB as vice president, product marketing, responsible for leading product marketing to build the business. He co-lead EDB’s effort to liberate companies from database vendor lock-in, allowing them to invest in other digital initiatives to drive growth. From 2005 through 2015 Pierre was director of product marketing for Red Hat JBoss Middleware products. He co-led product strategy and expansion into the application and data integration market. In 2008-2009, Pierre co-led the launches of JBoss SOA Platform and JBoss BRMS, which laid the foundation for a complete open source integration, process and decision automation strategy. By 2015, these products were the unit volume market leader or emerging strong challengers to long time incumbents as well as significant Red Hat businesses. Pierre was chief analyst for D.H. Brown Associates’ middleware and product lifecycle management infrastructure services in the early 2000s. Before that, he held a variety of engineering, engineering management, product management and strategy roles at IBM. You can find him on Linkedin at linkedin.com/in/pfricke, and Twitter @pfricke

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