Survey Shows Increased Focus on Modernizing IT, Retiring Apps

A survey of 140 enterprise architects and IT leaders published today suggested that, while moving applications to the cloud remains a priority, more attention is being paid to reducing technical debt by retiring applications.

Conducted by LeanIX, a provider of a platform for managing enterprise architecture and managing value stream management (VSM), the survey found 40% of respondents identified reducing technical debt created by legacy applications and modernizing legacy systems as their top IT priorities. A full 96% said their company has at least one project planned for this year aimed at reducing technical debt with more than half (52%) noting that returning IT applications is the primary means they will employ to reduce technical debt.

Nearly 60% considered migrating applications to the cloud to be a high priority, as well. However, less than a quarter of respondents (24%) identified cloud initiatives as a top IT priority. The second most important cloud initiative, identified by 41% of respondents, is to increase the number of SaaS applications being employed.

Regardless of the approach to the cloud, nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said closer enterprise architects should form a connection with software development teams, with an almost equal percentage agreeing on the importance of tracking the business impact of software development.

However, only 16% of those surveyed considered the evolution and improvement of their security posture a top priority, even though more than two-thirds considered security initiatives—such as improving risk assessment capabilities and adopting more zero-trust IT offerings—as important or highly important.

Dominic Rose, vice president of product management for LeanIX, said enterprise architects—or someone within IT who assumes responsibility for enterprise architecture—are trying to minimize disruptions to the business as IT environments continue to expand and evolve. The challenge they encounter is there is usually a divide between software development teams and the rest of the business. The size of that divide will vary by organization; In general, though, digital business transformation initiatives should help bridge the gap—assuming enterprise architects can establish and maintain close connections with software development teams, noted Rose.

LeanIX is making a case for an enterprise architecture management (EAM) platform that provides visibility into IT environments. The company also makes a VSM offering available on top of that platform that provides visibility into software delivery processes. The number of organizations that have adopted VSM platforms remains relatively small, but as organizations depend more on software to drive digital processes, the need for senior business and IT leaders to have more visibility into software delivery schedules is expected to increase.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen just how aligned DevOps teams are with the strategic goals of the business. The ability to build and deploy software faster does not automatically equate to gaining a deeper understanding of the needs of the business. In fact, there may come a day when software is built and faster than most organizations can effectively absorb unless they have some equivalent of a VSM platform in place.

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