The impact of not modernising legacy apps on the public sector: The views of our Vice President of Global Sales

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Cloudhouse’s Joe Ghattas discusses the challenges of not modernising from the perspective of public sector organisations

The continued pressure and lack of resources in place for public sector bodies have meant that many have avoided the time, risk, and resources that come with transformation and have instead chosen the perceived safety of the status quo, particularly in the context of application modernisation. The issue however is that the combination of tight budgets, external factors such as the pandemic, and the pace of technological change has placed pressure on legacy systems. 

These systems can commonly be responsible for critical public services such as pensions, benefits, and healthcare, meaning any downtime can be potentially detrimental. In addition, Microsoft Extended Security Updates (ESUs) are creating a unique set of challenges for the sector.

The ESU Trap

To keep pace with change, public sector organisations need to look to new operating systems to support their operations. However, the cost of rehosting, rewriting, replacing, or refactoring applications for new systems are extensive, keeping to the current setup and moving on to ESUs is becoming a common strategy in both the public and private sectors.  Previously covered by our Founder and CEO Mat Clothier in his previous blog, shifting to ESUs is an expensive venture, with rising costs year on year for those that don’t or can’t look for an alternative. For public sector bodies that might be running on a shoestring budget to provide many critical services, it’s a cost that they understandably want to avoid.

Additional Challenges

It’s not just the problems posed by ESUs however that make it critical for public sector organisations to act. There is also a range of additional hurdles, broken down into five additional categories:

  1. The need to maintain compliance with audits and regulations such as GDPR, with UK public sector bodies the main target of data breaches in the eight years preceding 2019 
  2. Protection against evolving threats such as ransomware to ensure security posture 
  3. Supporting evolving remote working requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost all 50 of the UK’s biggest employers saying that they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time
  4. The hurdles to achieving cloud migration, with businesses looking to these solutions for increased resilience and agility
  5. The combination of a rapidly diminishing talent pool for managing legacy applications, combined with outdated code and costly hardware is creating challenges in managing in-house legacy systems

It’s the combination of ESUs and these other challenges that make it critical for public sector organisations to modernise their applications for use on an updated operating system. Failing to do so can have a significant impact in terms of employee efficiency and the ability to serve the public quickly. App incompatibility can also lead to costly downtime with additional costs incurred to then get the app up and running. With operating systems and server editions also running on a finite lifecycle, organisations that fail to modernise their systems can be left behind as new editions are introduced.

The good news is that investment in legacy modernisation is growing, with the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) in the US providing an innovative funding vehicle to allow agencies to deliver public services more quickly, secure sensitive data, and use tax income more efficiently. Alongside this, the UK Government has published the Technology Code of Practice to help the government design, build and buy technology.

Cloudhouse’s Application Compatibility Packaging

With investment in public sector operations growing, organisations need to utilise available funds to invest wisely in new solutions to enable a move away from the growing cost of ESUs and avoid the other evolving risks in the industry. Cloudhouse specialises in enabling legacy critical applications to be preserved and shifted to a newer operating system via the use of our Application Compatibility Packaging solution, otherwise known as Cloudhouse Alchemy. 

After lifting has taken place, the apps can then be optimised to work as normal on either an on-premise or cloud system. Think of it as cutting and pasting an application from the legacy system into the new environment, with the app continuing to run exactly as expected once implementation is complete.

For numerous years, the public sector has been forced to play catch-up with innovation, with envious glances in the direction of the private sector as many enterprises have moved forward with their digital transformation roadmaps. In today’s landscape, now is the time for public sector organisations to step up and prioritise application modernisation and security enhancements, or otherwise run the risk of failure. 

To find out more about the challenges facing the public sector, take a look at our full whitepaper (click here to request a copy), or get in touch with a Cloudhouse expert today.

About Cloudhouse

Avatar photoCloudhouse is experienced in problematic application migration and config monitoring systems to fix the unfixable and modernise any IT estate – whether it’s run on-premises or in the cloud. With two proven solutions; Alchemy: Cloudhouse Application Packaging Solution modernises IT estates by fixing unfixable apps and moves them onto a supported operating system.

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How much does Cloudhouse cost? Down Arrow

Cloudhouse costs are split into two elements – the licensing required to deploy application compatibility packages, and the professional services needed to create the application compatibility packages.

Licensing is offered on a per user basis for desktop applications and a per server basis for server applications. There are discounts available based on volumes.

Professional Services costs are dependent on the nature and complexity of the application. We quote a cost for packaging once we have been able to see the application, or portfolio of applications.

Contact us here with your requirements and we will provide you with a quote.

Packaging and Maintaining Applications
Who is responsible for packaging desktop and server applications? Down Arrow

Cloudhouse provide the Professional Services to package applications.

Requirements for Test and Development Down Arrow

Cloudhouse recommend packaged applications are tested in the standard UAT environments used for natively installed applications, or applications packaged in App-V. The more representative the test environment is of the live environment, the greater the chance of finding any issues prior to go-live.

Updating Applications Down Arrow

Service packs and updates can be applied to the applications in a package using the Editor, refer to Updating, Editing and Maintaining Containers which describes how a new snapshot is created for the update, and how it is then applied to the package.

Who manages Cloudhouse operationally within an account? Down Arrow

Cloudhouse recommends the same team who manage the operations of native apps.

Automation and Deployment Down Arrow

Applications running in Application Compatibility Packages can be deployed, and managed with same tools, or scripts used to deploy natively installed applications e.g. SCCM, InTune, LAN Desk. Please refer to Supported 3rd Party Products and Versions for details.

How do we know which of our departments/ teams should support the Package? Down Arrow

The Cloudhouse Package does not include OS components, it only contains the packaged application plus Cloudhouse components. Cloudhouse recommend the same team that is responsible for supporting applications packaged with App-V, or delivered as natively installed applications, support Cloudhouse Application Compatibility Containers.

Documentation for Service Desk & Service Management Down Arrow

Full documentation is made available to Cloudhouse partners and customers as required.

Do Cloudhouse provide training? Down Arrow

Cloudhouse offers a full packaging service that can scale to meet any requirement. In the event, however, that a partner wishes to offer application compatibility packaging as part of a wider solution, Cloudhouse will work with that partner. Please contact us here for details.