In the ever-evolving technological landscape, cloud and application modernization stand as a beacon for businesses striving to stay ahead. Think of it as navigating uncharted waters, where every decision can either propel you forward or set you adrift.

Here are 14 common missteps companies often make and how to sidestep them.

#1 Inadequate Planning

Companies often start modernization without clear objectives, leading to wasted resources and confusion. If you skip the assessment phase, where you evaluate the current application state, dependencies, and architecture, you will likely run into unexpected challenges during the modernization process.

#2 Not Prioritizing User Experience

Modernization is about both backend updates and user experience enhancements. If you overlook the user interface or don't involve end-users, you risk creating a technically sound yet user-unfriendly application. Non-functional requirements, such as performance and usability, are as vital as functional ones; neglecting them or failing to provide adequate training on new technologies can result in inefficiencies and a prolonged adaptation period.

#3 Resisting Cultural Change

Modernization often requires a shift in company culture, especially when adopting methodologies like DevOps or Agile. Resistance to these changes can sabotage your modernization effort.

#4 Choosing the Wrong Modernization Strategy

There are various strategies for modernization, such as rehosting, refactoring, rearchitecting, rebuilding, or replacing; you need to choose the right modernization strategy tailored to your application's needs, because a misfit can escalate costs and diminish returns. Do get blinded by loyalty to your legacy vendors at the expense of exploring more efficient solutions. On the other hand, over-modernizing can introduce unwarranted complexities.

#5 Not Considering Scalability

Modern applications should be built to handle growth. Failing to consider scalability can lead to performance issues as user numbers or data volumes increase.

#6 Ignoring Technical Debt

Legacy systems often come with accumulated technical debt. Simply porting this debt to a new platform or architecture is like moving without cleaning out the boxes from the last time you moved. You need to address and resolve technical debt as part of the modernization process.

#7 Ignoring Security

New technologies and architectures come with their own security challenges. You have to prioritize security from the beginning, or you expose yourself to vulnerabilities and risks.

#8 Not Addressing Data Integrity

Overlooking the migration and integrity of data can lead to corrupted or lost data, which can have significant consequences for business operations.

#9 Forgetting to future-proof

Technology changes quickly–that’s how you got here in the first place–so make sure that you take that into account, or you’ll be modernizing again sooner rather than later.

#10 Failing to Document

Not documenting changes, decisions, and processes during modernization can lead to confusion later on, especially when team members change or when troubleshooting is required.

#11 Not Preparing for Downtime

If something goes wrong during the modernization process, it's crucial to have a plan to revert to the previous state. Failing to establish a rollback plan can lead to extended downtime or data loss. That said, some level of downtime might be inevitable during modernization. Not communicating or planning for it can frustrate users and impact business operations.

#12 Lack of Testing

Not investing in thorough testing throughout the modernization process can lead to undetected issues, which can be costly to fix post-deployment. Automation can significantly speed up certain processes and reduce human error, and make it possible to easily test repeatedly and under different conditions and circumstances.

#13 Failing to Monitor, Iterate, and Maintain

Post-modernization, continuous monitoring and gathering user feedback are vital for optimizing application performance and making iterative improvements. Believing the process ends at launch overlooks refinement opportunities. Regular maintenance is imperative for security and optimal performance, and neglecting continuous monitoring can result in undetected, lingering issues.

#14 Not Seeking External Expertise

Modernization can (but doesn’t have to) be time-consuming and expensive. If you don't adequately budget for the process, both in terms of time and money, you can find yourself overextended and under-resourced. Also, sometimes internal teams might not have the necessary expertise for a modernization project. Don’t be afraid to look for external consultation or expertise. 

The path to successful application modernization is not without challenges, but it's a journey worth taking. Sidestepping these common pitfalls is crucial, but definitely possible. Just remember, it's not just about avoiding mistakes; it's about harnessing the full potential of modern technologies and methodologies. Partner with seasoned experts, like us, and let's transform those modernization challenges into tangible triumphs.