Mar 05 2024

Don’t Migrate to the Cloud Without Running Automated Application Assessments

Agencies have learned the hard way that migrating blind can be costly.

Application size often prevents agencies from easily migrating to the cloud because a massive configuration would be needed to support them and their performance requirements.

Agencies that attempt a simple lift and shift may find themselves moving apps back on-premises, due to a lack of performance improvements or cost savings.

A 2019 Office of Management and Budget governmentwide analysis of app maintenance found that 10 particularly large apps required about $340 million annually to remain operational. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that large, federal systems integrators generally propose forming 20-person teams consisting of developers, analysts, security professionals, operations managers, system administrators and user experience designers to assess a particular app.

The interviews distract employees from their agency work and ultimately yield a report in 18 to 24 months that’s likely not actionable because, by that time, executive and technical leaders have often left for other work. Add to that, most agencies have app portfolios in the hundreds, creating a messy situation for those like the Department of Defense, where delays can cost lives on the battlefield.

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3 Ways to Expedite App Assessment and Modernization

Agencies simply don’t have time to handle this process on a per-application basis, which is why some are decades behind on modernization. That’s why CDW recommends starting with an automated application assessment, a set of tools that reads all the app source code an agency wants to modernize, in a stand-alone environment.

CDW’s assessment solution, the Strategic Application Modernization Assessment (SAMA), produces a detailed but easy-to-read report within seconds, with no less than 12 to 15 measurable business values including complexity in lines of code and coding languages, vulnerabilities, contributing developers, resource requirements and the value of their contributions.

Once leaders have weighed in on the apps they want to target for quick modernization, refactoring, rewriting, or uplifting and cloud migration, an overarching summary executive report is generated that prioritizes mission-critical apps and easy wins.

A second CDW offering, SkyMap, generates an actionable infrastructure assessment and migration plan for agencies, predicting needed technical resources, budget and timelines. It provides progress transparency and automated escalation during project execution. By ingesting the data from the assessments, SkyMap, alongside SAMA, effectively lays out an entire modernization strategy.

Brian McConnell
In essence, SAMA functions as a constant app health check even after initial assessments are done.”

Brian McConnell Data and Applications Manager, CDW Government

Should an agency lack the development personnel, CDW offers a software factory practice. Software factories — all the rage with the federal government right now — practice leveraging Scaled Agile Framework methods to ensure the safe, quick delivery of modernized apps.

Gauging App Health Shouldn’t Stop After the Initial Assessment

SAMA represents 20 years of continuous enhancement based on customer findings.

In one instance, a company supplied all the source code from another company it acquired, and SAMA found more than 300 known security vulnerabilities within the first four hours. Mitigations were immediately actionable based on the report.

A state government plans to roll out SAMA to more than 85 independent agencies that report to it as part of a sweeping IT governance initiative, and there are more than 100 other customer use cases.

RELATED: CDW’s Enquizit acquisition boosted its digital velocity offerings.

SAMA can also be used throughout a project’s lifecycle to identify developers using bad code or introducing security vulnerabilities. By running the service every six to nine months, agencies can keep pace with routine app updates.

In essence, SAMA functions as a constant app health check even after initial assessments are done. The offering is a game changer for any agency trying to move away from legacy technologies, as it even does scans for hardware resources in use by an app.

An organization with dated technology wanted to understand what hardware was being used by which applications and had SAMA do an inventory to create an upgrade plan.

SAMA helps agencies decide which parts of an app to run in the cloud — such as a shared service used in an on-premises client server — as a stand-alone service accessible by other on-premises or cloud apps. This way, agencies can identify the proper workload split when considering a hybrid or multicloud environment.

About 80 percent of an agency’s IT budget goes toward keeping legacy apps running, leaving only 20 percent for innovation. Tools like SAMA ensure agencies can divert a larger portion of their budgets to modernization efforts.

This article is part of FedTech’s CapITal blog series.

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