Today, with technology playing a major role in businesses, almost every enterprise has turned into a technology company, irrespective of what their core business is!
Technology is an essential instrument enabling businesses to effectively interact with their clients and manage their production or service processes. Digital native companies are already using technology to build differentiated offerings. To compete with them, established companies also need to go beyond using technology as just an enabler. Hence it becomes essential to ensure that this technology back bone remains fighting fit, making modernization inevitable. Modernization can take different shapes – from simply upgrading to newer versions to ensure supportability, to building modern interfaces around existing legacy ones and developing new systems altogether.
But this can be a complex and time-consuming process, which poses several challenges:
Lack of resources: Enterprises may lack resources like skilled talent pool, needed to modernize their applications effectively. This can force significant investments in training and hiring and can also slow down the modernization process.
Complexity of modern technologies: Modern technologies offer attractive benefits, but at the same time, they can be complex and difficult to understand. Enterprises may struggle to implement modern technologies effectively and spend a lot of effort and time to comprehend the nuances and use them properly.
Standardization and best practices: With modern technologies, the best practices and standards are also evolving constantly. It can be time-consuming and complicated to collate the best practices and enforce them throughout the organization in standardized way, leading to technical debt build-up and inefficient use of systems.
Security and compliance: Organizations must ensure that their applications are secure and compliant with relevant regulations and standards, while being modernized. This can be a significant challenge, particularly when dealing with sensitive data and critical systems.
These are just a few key challenges that often result in failed modernization projects, substantial cost and time overruns, fear of business disruption, and sometimes even resistance to change itself.
Platform-based automation: Eliminate challenges and accelerate modernization
Platform-based automation can help alleviate these challenges and help execute the modernization programs with better agility, reliability, and efficiency. Platform-based automation refers to the use of automation tools and techniques to build, manage and operate a particular system. The automation is delivered through a platform, giving users a standardized self-service capability without knowing the technicalities of underlying technology.
When we look at the entire software development life cycle (SDLC), it becomes apparent that a developer may have to interact with multitudes of point automation tools at different stages. Some well-known examples of this are CI/CD tools that automate the build and deployment process of applications, and development environments (IDEs) helping accelerate the coding process by bringing together tools for color-coded rendering of code, built-in compilation and debugging tools etc. Many such tools have become popular in the industry due to their specific feature, versatility, and ease of use. But this reduces the effectiveness of the automation and brings additional complexity as the developer needs to learn multiple tools and has to switch between multiple windows.
The goal of platform-based automation is to provide a centralized platform for managing the development and deployment of applications in a seamless, integrated manner. The platform brings together a set of tools, frameworks, and methodologies that are designed to automate various aspects of the development and deployment process. The platform is designed to enable developers to focus on coding to solve business problems, rather than on the underlying infrastructure or plumbing code or deployment processes.
Several other technology research and advisory companies also recognize platform-based automation as a key tool in enabling organizations to deliver high-quality modern application development and modernization projects faster and more efficiently. E.g. Gartner lists ‘Platform Engineering’ among the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2023.
Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform
We, at Infosys, also faced this issue of unconnected automation tooling, and have solved it by bringing together disparate solutions into a single platform – Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform.
Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform simplifies and accelerates the application modernization and development journey. It offers a range of features across five key modernization patterns – cloud native development, cloud modernization, database modernization, legacy modernization, and engineering excellence. Features span the complete technology stack (UI, business layer, data, cloud services, infrastructure, etc.) and all application lifecycle stages including architecture, development, testing, site reliability engineering and deployment.
The platform offers guided workflows and AI-enabled tools to abstract the complexity of underlying technology, increasing developer productivity. It enables up to 25% faster time-to-value and up to 40% effort saving by unlocking valuable information from legacy systems, streamlining decision-making, and reducing dependency on specialized skills. High code quality is made possible from the outset through deep insights into all sorts of technical debt. The platform also interfaces with many ALM tools to provide data-driven insights that enhance sprint velocity, release predictability, and product quality.
Some of our key client successes
We have employed this platform-based automation approach in numerous successful implementations for our enterprise clients across the globe. We transformed a legacy retirement application into a state-of-the-art solution for an American investment management company. We deployed the platform to automate the reverse engineering of 30 Mn lines of mainframe code and convert that into 200+ microservices, migrate data from 4000+ DB2 tables to PostgreSQL and create 800+ template based CICD pipelines. We saved the development effort by approx. 25% and the platform helped enforce best practices and standards uniformly, resulting in 10+% reduction in technical debt. We onboarded 700+ developers to the platform in quick timeframe, ensuring quick start-up time for the project and automated provisioning of environments. All of this helped us modernize the retirement application with zero disruption to business, enhance user experience and drive customer loyalty.
We are also using the platform for a multinational financial services major to migrate 2000+ proprietary databases to Azure managed database PaaS. The automated workflows of the platform are helping migrate the DB code with 70-80% automation and achieve a data migration velocity of approx. 1 TB per day. The client is on a path to achieve 25-30% TCO savings over 5 years.
Platform-based automation has become an essential part of a modern application development and modernization program. By providing a stable, scalable infrastructure and automating many of the tasks involved in development life cycle, it can help enterprises build and operate applications more efficiently at scale. Developers can build, test, and deploy new applications more easily without worrying about complexity of underlying technologies. Furthermore, platform-based automation can also perform automatic software updates, and even roll back changes in the event of an issue, thus reducing the risk of downtime and further reducing the risk of business disruption. Additionally, it also allows organizations to adopt modern technologies like containers and microservices which aid in improving the portability and scalability of applications.