Enterprises in every industry are plagued with legacy systems that are stifling their ability to innovate and advance, and holding them back from adopting hybrid cloud infrastructures, where workloads and resources span physical, virtual and cloud-based environments.

The cost of maintaining legacy infrastructure investments is significant too. Not only by hogging a large portion of the IT budget, but by the human resources needed to physically manage them.

“In today’s world, where the competition is stiffer than ever, and all CIOs are under pressure to do more with less, companies simply can’t afford this any longer,” says Neil Jackson, business unit manager for Red Hat at Axiz. “Having to maintain legacy environments is forcing some businesses to put their digital transformation projects on hold, which will see them lose out to their competitors in the long run.”

He says IT modernisation of systems and processes goes hand in hand with many critical benefits, such as revenue growth and the enhancement of business operations and efficiencies. “And when it comes to digital transformation, being able to modernise existing IT and integrate new technologies is crucial.”

According to Jackson, the more ambitious companies understand that transforming digitally can help them become not only faster but much smarter in their day-to-day operations, customer service, as well as decision making and delivery.

“Today’s customers, and internal users are looking for faster service delivery, new or updated environments, and self-service. And no business today can forget about security compliance and data-driven decision making through analytics. However, when they are starting their journeys encumbered by legacy technology that is decades old, the journey can seem daunting if not impossible.”

“Moreover, organisations that fail to modernise, risk falling behind their competitors, which will lead to a decline in market share, and eventually might see them closing their doors for good,” he adds.

“Addressing the challenges associated with implementing an IT modernisation strategy is a crucial first step. To navigate the waters of our digital-first era, there are two approaches needed to IT”, Jackson adds. “Firstly, to optimise how the business manages and maintains its core IT systems and, concurrently, look to new, innovative technologies. Essentially, a new IT vision is needed, one that unities applications, intelligent platforms, and interconnected ecosystems.”

Jackson explains that once apps and systems have reached a certain age, it is difficult and expensive to find the skills needed to manage them.

“In this way, migration and reconfiguration projects become extremely onerous and costly, and the entire process will have to be repeated again when there is a new feature request. There really is very little incentive to anything that goes beyond patching and problem solving, which creates a rift between the old and the new, and adds a new layer of complexity to processes.

“Having a slew of disparate resources means the business simply cannot react fast enough, and users will no longer trust or rely on these systems to solve their business challenges, and will be tempted to bring shadow IT into the organisation. Modernising IT can help businesses regain the trust of their users, and start eliminating shadow IT from the organisation.”

Another crucial element of IT modernisation is virtualisation optimisation, says Jackson. “Open source solutions that consolidate, upgrade, or migrate virtualisation resources to unify management or create a standard platform across physical, virtual, and cloud resources are extremely beneficial. Legacy systems can be upgraded or data across legacy and new applications integrated, to offer one consistent data source.”

In addition, optimising storage capacity by introducing a distributed, software-defined storage architecture enhances business processes, she says. “New business process rules and improved workflows enable companies to take full advantage of hardware and software changes. By automating more, manual errors are reduced, and process efficiencies increased.”

This will also enable organisations to rewrite or refresh applications so they are able to take full advantage of modern languages and frameworks. “In fact, implementing Linux container technology helps businesses gain interoperability across traditional as well as new platforms and environments.”

To help businesses with their IT modernisation journeys, Red Hat has introduced a solution that does all this and more, giving businesses an open pathway to digital transformation. “Created to help businesses across the board lower costs and speed up innovation through cloud-native and container-based technologies, Red Hat’s infrastructure migration solution helps organisations to break down closed technology silos, and gives them an enterprise-ready pathway to cloud-native application development via Linux containers, Kubernetes, automation, and other open source technologies.”

Jackson says Red Hat’s infrastructure migration solution was specifically crafted to help enterprises accelerate their transformation efforts by safely migrating and managing workloads to an open-source infrastructure platform.