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Ericsson ADM Application Modernization Studio and Framework

Gaining Edge, Innovating and Delivering Value

Preface

Ericsson's Application Modernization Solution is a holistic approach to solving customer problems. It's a cyclic and ongoing engagement governed by Key Performance Indicators (KPI) at all stages of the life cycle. 

Ericsson's Application Portfolio Rationalization Framework helps in assessing and understanding the customer's IT ecosystem. Continuous assessments followed by inclusive business planning keeps the Modernization journey on track, helps identify course corrections and ensure constant improvement of the delivery process.

Our solution looks at changing the Customers ways of working on the IT development front. To be in the digital race it is key to become more agile and ensure Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery for application development and maintenance on legacy systems and on new generation applications. The Ericsson integrated Delivery Lifecycle Platform plays an important role in enabling this goal.

Combined with these capabilities, the integrated Modernization Reference Architecture and the integrated Java Universal Transcoder (our universal tool capable of porting your legacy codes to Java) play catalysts to uplift customer's technology and enable the transformation.

Our solution proposes to repurpose legacy systems into newer, micro-services or API based applications that can be easily ported to the cloud too. The ambition is to help customers to move into a No-Ops stage where focus is more on developing innovative products and services and operational efficiencies will be the result of end to end automation. Customers will not have to worry about operations anymore.

Continuous monitoring is key to keep the KPI's in check, monitoring technology, measuring business success and identifying improvements.
We believe in being close to the customer, engaging on a continuous basis, discussing and absorbing feedback and optimizing capabilities, process and technology.

Application Modernization – Not a good-to-have, but the need of the moment

Consumer demand for faster, round-the-clock and anywhere-access to services is growing rapidly. Additionally, consumer preferences have shifted towards cross-channel practices, i.e., ability to use services on any device. There are new entrants (operators) in the market who are fully digital and are surpassing incumbent players who are still operating through classic business models.

The Digital Transformation Journey for operators is a complex endeavor. Striking a balance between the Cost-to-Transform and Return on Investment is a challenge for a fully operational business. For large companies who already have made huge investments in terms of time, effort and expertise on their critical applications, a transformation at scale may be prohibitive. Within the existing business model, introducing any "new" services would require many changes across disparate systems for those services to be delivered and properly integrated. For this reason, the legacy model often prevents and slows down incumbent providers from achieving their digital goals. While many telecom operators are aware of the pressing need to transform, few are aware of the steps required to become a Digital Enterprise.

Priority of Application Modernization

Application Modernization helps organizations embrace Digitization while keeping the business running and at a fraction of investment. As per
a recent survey, worldwide spending on enterprise
applications will grow more than 30% i.e., close to
$150 Bn (by end of 2015 ) to $201 Bn in 2019.
And the primary drivers for this growth will
be Application Modernization, functional expansion and digital transformation projects. The same research also suggests that 45% of respondents signaled urgent attention to modernize their legacy applications and it will be among the top 5 priorities for them in coming years. Close to 55%
of respondents in North America are looking at Application Modernization as high priority in the next 12 months while Europe and Asia Pacific clocked to 80% and 73% respectively indicating similar concerns.

These researches and many more indicate that the action must happen NOW. The race to digitalization is faster than ever. Operators need to look at doing away with technologies that lack skills in the market, get rid of monolithic applications and move to API-based or even Microservices based applications, cut down capex and opex, free up resources to invest in innovation, gain ability to roll out new services much faster and aim to be highly competitive.

Ericsson has already helped some of its customers in overcoming similar challenges through Application Modernization.

We have helped them achieve their digital ambitions by leveraging what they own and modernizing their legacy ecosystems through:

  • Repurposing the legacy applications by reducing complexity and moving to a standards-based platform which will enable them to adapt to newer technologies faster
  • Rationalizing the application landscape by retiring redundant applications, reusing existing apps and their functionalities, and helping to evolve the application portfolio over a period of time

These steps help operators significantly to boost agile innovation, increase flexibility and capitalize on newer technologies at a faster pace

This paper provides insight into Ericsson's Application Modernization Framework. Our solution is all- encompassing one, right from application portfolio analysis to refactoring applications and help with progressive transformation of your IT ecosystem. We understand the telecom market and the digital evolution and have the know-how to guide you through your journey. We take a holistic approach to addressing your specific challenges, using expert knowledge, best practices developed from our global experience, proven tools and methodologies, and established benchmarking and optimization practices. We believe that Application Modernization is not a service with a START and a STOP. It's a cyclic and ongoing engagement governed by KPI's at all stages of the software life cycle.

Application Modernization Framework
The framework is constituted by four stages in a cyclic journey as shown in the figure below each governed by its own set of KPI's:

  1. ASSESS
  2. REALIZE
  3. MODERNIZE
  4. OPTIMIZE
ApplicationModernization Studo and Framework

In the next few pages, we will delve deeper into each of these stages, the significance of the key constituents within each stage and how they together to form the "Modernization Journey".

ASSESS

Continuous assessment and planning of the IT applications landscape is an important and key step to ensure relevance of applications. It is also a tool to measure and ensure sustained competitiveness in the market. Before jumping into a modernization journey, we should identify the targets to fulfill, the main drivers and the real status of the applications and create a continuous plan. We term this as the "ASSESS" phase. In this phase, we propose that the customer needs to clearly understand the rationale behind the change on the applications. Is it lack of competence, increased complexity, high cost of maintenance, IT and business misalignment or other technology challenges?

Ericsson's Application Portfolio Analysis and Rationalization (APA/R) framework encompasses identifying key business drivers, stakeholders and their area of influence, ongoing engagements and business and functional requirements. APA/R mainly uses the set of templates relevant for the engagement to gather all the necessary information. This is a systematic approach to gather the AS- IS landscape of IT and applications in scope. Below is the high-level framework of the Application Portfolio Analysis and Rationalization Framework:

Image  - Assess

At a high level, it aims to make the assessment around four broad areas and draws insights on systems that must be - retained, removed, modernized or simply enhanced for newer features.

Quadrant

Application Demographics involves a simple but subtle, data science driven assessment of a single application of choice. It helps in gaining insight and knowledge on each application in scope, the complexity of these applications, the technical debt that exists, the quality of code, the number of interfaces, the number of redundancies and other relevant factors.

Neural Map

Following the discovery of these findings, is the next pertinent step which requires planning for the necessary changes. This includes implementing the enablers of newer ways of working, introducing the right tools and choosing the right platforms - whether on the Cloud or in-house – for the different environments.

Key Performance Indicators
As stated earlier, each phase is governed by its own set of KPI targets to ensure precise, timely and quality deliverables. The below is a non-exhaustive list of KPI's that we have proposed

Quality of Input
  • % of IT ecosystem covered during study
  • % Accuracy of plan/ completeness of plan
 Quality of Service
  • Quality of Deliverables - % Covered/ delivered
  • Quality of Deliverables - % of Scope covered
 Time to Market
  •  Compliance to schedule
 CSAT
  •  Effectiveness of Session/ Interview/ Workshop (Feedback based)

 

REALIZE

The REALIZE phase focuses on realizing the actions from the ASSESS phase. This is the "How" part – how can we implement a change in the most effective, efficient but quickest way. 

We know how the traditional modes of delivery like Waterfall methodology, are a deterrant to the fast growing businesses. The older delivery methodologies are simply not able to meet the speed of doing business today. This calls for more agility. 

Ericsson proposes a step by step approach to adopt newer ways of working:

  1. Gaining agility – adoption of Agile ways of working
  2. Adopting Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery – key to a DevOps future

As research and study suggests, organizations need to preach the following for agility:

  • Transformation of work from projects to products
  • Speed up transformation velocity
  • Change hierarchical ways of working
  • Achieve business outcomes

In order to achieve this, Ericsson's solution proposes to:

  • Apply the right due diligence around people, process and technology
  • Perform discovery and mapping applications
  • Implement metrics (KPI's, Quality Assurance etc.)
  • Adopt automation
Agility

The benefits we help customers derive are, enabling digital business, transformation of demand, adopt Agile, moving to DevOps and finally adopting Multi Paced approach.
DevOps bridges the gap between development and operations. It helps to integrate development and IT operations in a cross-functional, product-oriented manner.
Ericsson's approach below proposes a phase-wise and smooth transition to newer ways of working with Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing and Continuous Delivery:

Enabling Culture change

Tools indeed play a very important role in the success of implementing Agile or DevOps. Gone are the days where you need to wait to provision several servers within your data centre, buy licenses for tools, install and commission them – all taking too long to be realized.

Our solution leverages on today's largely available open source tools across different domains. And with the ability to use today's competitively priced cloud platforms, we have automated the entire process of provisioning comprehensive Development and Testing environment that is fit for purpose within few minutes. Our key message here - hardware infrastructure and tools should be the last worry on the customer's mind.

Delivery

We acknowledge, it may be intricately difficult to do away with traditional delivery methodology overnight. There may be systems that still exist where adopting newer ways of working may be challenging. This encourages us to introduce Multi Paced Delivery Model at the right place and at the right time.

Modernization Changes

This is reflected in the picture below. The picture is representative of handling changes during a modernization journey of an application.

Legacy ADM

Key Performance Indicators

We have identified some KPI's for this phase:

Quality of Input
  • % Conversion of Work Packages to Agile
  • % Features Completed
Quality of Service
  • % of Failed Deployments
  • % decrease in Ticket Volumes
  • Availability
  • Mean Time to Recover
Time to Market
  • Reduction in Release Team
  • Change in Lead Time from Development to
  • Deploy
  • % increase in deployment frequency
CSAT
  • Effectiveness of Release
  • Satisfaction of user adoption
TCO
  • % reduction or increase

 

MODERNIZE

Having set the stage with newer ways of working and having all capabilities in place – people, process and tools – the MODERNIZE phase offers to take the next step for modernizing the in-scope applications.
Our modernization framework is backed by experience and the target architecture below is based on our solutions for our customers. Our modernization philosophy preaches a progressive approach to transformation compared to a big bang implementation and moving monolithic complex applications into an API based architecture.

Architecture

Progressive application modernization enables customers to see results of transformation much earlier in the journey. The big bang approach proves to be a risky affair owing to the waiting period and being unaware of the success rate at the end of transformation.
The "Service Locator" in our framework is key to the success of progressive modernization. It is a key constituent to the "transient architecture". Progressive modernization proposes to have two systems running in parallel in production – i.e, the monolithic legacy application and the modernized and newer modules which are getting deployed in production in a phased manner. The Service Locator plays a key role in handling requests by identifying if services are available in the legacy application or whether it should look for them in the new modules in order to service those requests.
Similarly, the framework also takes into consideration on handling data requests using the "Resource Locator".

No-Ops:

After the ability to port your legacy from older technology to newer ones and move them into API based architecture, it will be important to acknowledge that we now have easily manageable, cloud- ready applications.
This sets the stage for gradually moving into No-Ops – a completely automated state of application operations augmented by analytics – key to predictive development, proactive application monitoring and predictive maintenance. With applications decoupled from hardware on the cloud, there is less worry about maintaining infrastructure and there is more hardware on demand.

No operations

Key Performance Indicators

Quality of Input
  • Adherence to schedule
Quality of Service
  • % of transcoding the ecosystem automatically
  • Defects reported in UAT/ Prod
Time to Market
  • Reduction in Release cycle
  • % adherence to release cycle
CSAT
  • CSAT on project (People, Process, Technology)
  • Effectiveness of Release
TCO
  • % Variance

 

OPTIMIZE

We had mentioned at the beginning of this approach paper that we looked at Application Modernization as a continuous journey that does not have a START or a STOP. The OPTIMIZE phase reinforces that commitment. Continuous monitoring and continuous feedback play a vital role in improving the applications on a continual basis.

Some of the factors for continuous monitoring includes:

  • Application Performance
  • Usability
  • System availability
  • Technical debt
  • Root Cause Analysis (recurring issues/ others)
  • Security Audit
  • Capacity

Establishing a feedback mechanism is significant in ensuring that IT and business are aligned and optimization of applications continues to take place on a regular basis.

Feedback

Key Performance Indicators

Quality of Input
  • % of application availability
Quality of Service
  • Adherece to Incident Management SLA's
  • Adherence to Problem Management SLA's
  • % of successful releases
  • % of defect avoidance
Time to Market
  • Incident responsiveness
  • Release responsiveness
CSAT
  • CSAT on project (People, Process, Technology)
  • Effectiveness of Service Improvement program
TCO
  • % Efficiency in Opex

Conclusion

Ericsson's Application Modernization Framework is based on three basic principles:

  1. KPI led modernization journey
  2. Iterative development for progressive modernization
  3. Open Source framework

As we have seen, every phase is governed by a set of KPI's that play an important role in not only ensuring qualitative delivery of services but also measuring the success of actions in each phase.
Iterative development provides the flexibility to deliver services repetitively and faster and being able to bring down software release lead time from months to days. This supports progressive modernization and helps customers to measure the success of the transformation program at a much early stage.
The framework is fully reliant on open source tools and technology. Some of the key benefits of our solution are characterized by:

  1. A clean uncluttered application architecture
  2. An estimated minimum 40% reduction in annual ADM spend over time
  3. ROI in less than 2 years
  4. Reduced maintenance costs
  5. Optimized team size
  6. Newer and faster ways of working and
  7. Newer capabilities to be digital ready

We welcome you to explore more about Ericsson's Application Modernization Offering at