Dave Bartoletti and I need your help. Most core software systems — your most important middle- and back office transactional and record-keeping business apps — are too inflexible, outdated, and chaotic to give companies the flexibility they need to win, serve, and retain customers. We all know they need to be modernized to reduce the drag of technical debt, to derive greater insights from data, and especially to become flexible enough to power the new customer-facing experiences everyone needs to build.

Digital transformation is facing a moment of truth. Most companies have made great strides in transforming customer-facing web and mobile apps. Modernizing the rigid apps that automate record keeping and core operational processes allows business leaders to make the dramatic changes to business processes that will power the next wave of innovation and business success. And we think cloud technologies can now power these transformations.

Application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders get it. They want to modernize core apps using cloud technologies and practices, but they’re often stymied by the difficulty of the task and unable to even start the journey. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams get it, too. Cloud is no longer just a place to consume cheaper infrastructure. It’s not even a place. It’s shorthand for the new infrastructure and development platforms we’ll use to create apps for the next decade.

Our first report in this research stream — “Modernize Core Applications With Cloud” — reveals how AD&D leaders get out of the starting blocks and overcome the first barriers to core app modernization initiatives. Next, we’re probing specific architectural, organizational, funding, and personnel strategies using cloud platforms and practices that work. We’re examining modernization of custom-developed applications, packaged apps, and everything in between.

Have you started to use cloud for more than building new apps or rehosting existing infrastructure? Will you share your experiences modernizing apps at the core of business automation with cloud technologies? We’d love to hear your story. Reach us at jrymer@forrester.com and/or dbartoletti@forrester.com.