How Mobile Computing is Driving Demand for App Modernisation

Mobile computing is on the rise, and the applications our businesses depend on are having trouble keeping up. The functionality of the apps that we depend on need to keep up with the pace of innovation and modernisation is here to help. App modernisation used to be the domain of early mainframe applications, but times are changing significantly. The growth of social, mobile and cloud technologies are forcing even relatively new apps to be reconsidered.

The Rise in Mobile Computing

We have powerful devices in our pockets, and we certainly aren't afraid to use them. No longer simply for making calls, our phones have become versatile computing devices that most of us can't imagine life without. While laptops are becoming smaller and sleeker, smartphones and tablets are more powerful than ever. As such, we are using them more and more. In fact, mobile web usage has overtaken desktop, and it is set to rise further. Traditional computer usage is likely to decrease even more as millennials opt for the convenience of their mobile devices. 

As consumers, we expect to be able to connect with companies whenever we like, to obtain the information we need at the touch of a button, and to receive highly-personalised communications. The changes that mobile computing is bringing to businesses is even more significant. 

As employees, we expect the same level of constant connectivity. We want to be able to access corporate resources on the go, whenever we like. We no longer work within the confines of a nine to five office-based world. We expect increased mobility and agility in the way in which we work. If we can remain continually connected to our email accounts, shared servers and CRM systems, we can be more productive. With employees doing administrative tasks quickly when they are on the go, they can then focus their attention on business priorities. 

With the rise in mobile computing comes a considerable change in the way we live and work. Organisations are having to adapt to these changes or risk losing both employees and business to their competitors. This either means arming employees with mobile devices or embracing the bring your own device culture. Either way, they need to ensure that employees can achieve the level of connectivity that they need to succeed. 

The Changing Way We Use Services

We've already touched on several ways in which mobile computing changes the way we access services. Both employees and customers have drastically changed their usage patterns, changing the structure of the nine to five physical office that we have known to date. As usage changes, applications need to be able to scale to the required load. What's more, as usage will likely continue to grow, we need to ensure the flexibility to manage the load sizes of the future. 

Legacy applications weren't generally designed to have a mobile interface. The introduction of mobile computing is forcing a complete reconsideration of how applications are accessed. However, at the same time, they still have to accommodate those using traditional desktop computers. 

Another challenge that comes with the rise in mobile computing is how legacy applications deal with data. Many older applications aren't able to be updated quickly enough to meet rapidly changing regulations. We live in a constant stream of compliance, data-centric regulations and privacy requirements. The bring your own movement has created more data protection issues and all of these need to be adhered for cloud applications to access business data. 

What Makes an Application Mobile-Ready?

The flexibility the cloud offers is a major business advantage. Data is no longer constricted within the four walls of an organisation. With a wireless connection, there is no limit to how, when and where we work. However, as applications age, they can become incompatible with modern-day systems. Legacy systems need to continue to run while being able to offer the increased agility required to meet modern business demands. Application modernisation enables legacy applications to be integrated with new systems, to share data, features and functionality.

Modern mobile apps need to be able to connect to legacy applications if they are to be valuable. The challenge, of course, is mobilising the data within those applications and moving them to the cloud while considering performance, scalability and security. There are various levels of modernisation which can help to make an application mobile-ready. This involves the re-factoring, repurposing and consolidation of legacy software. Many organisations are undertaking application modernisation, enabling both consumers and employees to interact with enterprise data on their mobile devices. 

The key ways in which we can make applications mobile-ready, or moreover cloud-compatible, include:

  • Re-host - applications are redeployed to cloud infrastructure but without altering the application code or modifying their features.

  • Re-factor - applications are restructured by optimising the code without altering features and functions. 

  • Re-architect - applications are given better capabilities by altering the code architecture. 

In other words, applications can either be migrated to the cloud, optimised for the cloud or entirely modernised. The option chosen for each application will be dependent on business and user requirements. Legacy applications can hold a business back due to technology, architecture or functionality, and the level of modernisation is relative to the problems encountered and what needs to be achieved.

The Rate of App Modernisation 

Legacy systems can prevent organisations from harnessing the digital technologies they need to grow and become more efficient. With the rise in mobile computing, flexible and portable ways of working are a necessary part of modern business. Today, most companies have started on a journey towards app modernisation. However, the road to modernisation requires strategy, planning and an understanding that change will be a constant state. 

Mobile computing is a huge driver for app modernisation. Trends in device usage are strongly tilted towards touchscreen devices over desktop computers. The challenge is keeping legacy systems stable while ensuring that businesses can integrate with mobile and the cloud. By combining traditional architecture with modern practices, it's possible to tackle the challenge. Modernising systems enables organisations to function in the connected world in which we live. Modernisation is helping to arm employees with the tools, data and functionality they need and the freedom to work when, where and how they want. 



Drew Alexander