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Accelerating Application Modernization with AveriSource – Infrastructure Matters

Accelerating Application Modernization with AveriSource - Infrastructure Matters

Download the accompanying resource, Unlocking Agility, Efficiency, and Innovation in Enterprise IT Applications With AveriSource Platform 2.0.

In this white paper, you'll learn how AveriSource Platform 2.0 transforms mission-critical mainframe apps to the cloud using AI-powered modernization.

On this episode of Infrastructure Matters, host Steven Dickens is joined by AveriSource‘s Stephanie Walter, Head of Product for a conversation on how AveriSource is innovating in the realm of mainframe modernization.

Their discussion covers:

  • An overview of AveriSource as a new entrant in the mainframe modernization space
  • A deep dive into AveriSource’s solution model and its unique approach
  • Innovations AveriSource is bringing to the user interface (UI) space
  • The role of AI in AveriSource’s strategy and offerings
  • Key trends from clients regarding mainframe modernization and how to engage with AveriSource

Learn more at AveriSource, and download the report: Unlocking Agility, Efficiency, and Innovation in Enterprise IT Applications With AveriSource Platform™️ 2.0.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Transcript:

Steven Dickens: Hello and welcome to another episode of Infrastructure Matters. I’m joined by Stephanie from AveriSource. Hey, Stephanie, welcome to the show.

Stephanie Walter: Hi, Steven. It’s great to be here.

Steven Dickens: So, before we dive in, let’s tell the listeners a little bit about what you do for AveriSource and then we’ll use that as a jumping off point to position AveriSource in the market.

Stephanie Walter: Sure. So, I am Head of Product and Customer Success here at AveriSource. So, I help decide what cool new things we’re going to build in our project, in our product and make sure that they get delivered to our customers.

Steven Dickens: So, only the really important stuff then?

Stephanie Walter: Some of it. Yes.

Steven Dickens: AveriSource, still a relatively new name, although a long and storied history as a company that I’ve got to know over the last few months with working with you and the team. Tell us a little bit about the genesis story of the company. Give us an overview, if you would, because I think when the viewers and listeners hear the story, they’re going to be intrigued. So, tell us a little bit more.

Stephanie Walter: Sure. AveriSource may be a new name to some, but we’re actually an established player in the application modernization space. AveriSource is headquartered in Dallas. With nearly 30 years in the market, we’ve analyzed over two and a half billion lines of code and growing, and we have completed over 250 successful customer modernization projects. So, a lot of experience here. Simply put, AveriSource provides an end-to-end journey for application modernization, both on mainframe and the cloud.

We enable IT teams to deeply analyze their core business applications across a variety of legacy languages. And we can extract business rules or business logic and we help to remove technical debt. We can also transform legacy code to modern languages, such as Java and C# or deployment on any platform. And that includes things like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, or even back to the mainframe.

Steven Dickens: So, Stephanie, as I’ve got to know the organization, and drill down and understand the solution, there’s really been, I think, some clarity around your messaging, around the five pillars of the AveriSource solution. So, that really resonated for me and I was able to understand what you guys are doing. Can you walk the listeners and the viewers through those kind of towers of your solution, as you will, because I think there’s a really natural progression as people go left to right through the solution? Can you talk the viewers through there?

Stephanie Walter: Yes, absolutely. So, our holistic solution for application modernization collectively is known as the AveriSource platform. And the platform, as you said, it’s composed of five different packages designed for each step of the modernization journey. These packages are built on each other and they allow organizations to only purchase what they need for their own unique journey and nothing more. So, the starting points with the platform is called AveriSource Scan. That’s our first package. It’s a free package. You can download it from our website or the AWS marketplace. Let me say this again, for free. It quickly scans legacy source code. And it gives the user a nice overview of things like the number of lines of code, the languages detected, and along with a simple risk assessment. And what that does is it’s going to give you an idea of the level of effort that modernization may take. So, this is going to give you a nice basic understanding of your legacy estate.

Steven Dickens: A good place to start, if you will. You’re not knowing where to get going, what the order of magnitude is, recommend people start here. Is that the approach?

Stephanie Walter: Yes, exactly. And then what you can do is you build on the information that you’ve learned from AveriSource Scan. So, then you graduate to AveriSource Inventory, our next package. And this is our first paid package in the platform. And AveriSource Inventory is going to do just that. It’s going to inventory your legacy code. And it’s going to determine things like you are missing files, you’re on reference files. It’ll go deeper in detecting some languages and it’s going to help you get your code in shape for further analysis.

Steven Dickens: And that’s a crucial first step for a lot of people, inventory, understanding where the challenge is. The move from scan to inventory is crucial for me. So, makes sense.

Stephanie Walter: Right. And so, now you have more information and now you’re saying, “Okay, so what are these applications? What do they do? How do they communicate with each other?” So, AveriSource Discover is next in the lineup. So, Discover builds on the information, and inventory, and it’s really going to tackle the architecture and the data lineage of the legacy application.

Steven Dickens: So, how these things are connected together, where the data’s coming from, how that’s flowing through the application, is that the right way to think about it?

Stephanie Walter: Yes. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And there’s a lot of information and a lot of things you can do with AveriSource Discover. But we can go even deeper with AveriSource Analyze, the next package in the platform. And AveriSource Analyze is where you can explore more granular details of the legacy code, and extract business rules, that business logic I was talking about, to accelerate the redesign and re-architecture of your legacy applications.

Steven Dickens: And that’s crucial. These systems have grown over oftentimes decades, and some of the crown jewels business logic is baked into these applications. So, you want to be understanding not just the code generically, but you want to understand the business logic that’s baked in.

Stephanie Walter: Exactly. We find that this is one of the capabilities of the platform that our customers really value the most. And so, once we get all that good business logic out for… you can use it for documentation purposes to prioritize the applications you want to modernize. We come up to our last, but certainly not least package in AveriSource Transform. So, Transform is where we convert legacy code to modernized code. So, this is not line by line translation, which we affectionately call Jobol, but it’s actually object-oriented code.

Steven Dickens: I love that phrase. I love Jobol. It perfectly describes the challenge though. This is not a language to language translation, this is way more than that.

Stephanie Walter: Right, exactly. So, it’s object-oriented code that’s maintainable by modern developers, because you don’t want code that you’re going to have a problem modernizing 5, 6, 7 years from now. So, this is maintainable by modern developers. And something key here to note is that there are no proprietary libraries or dependencies on AveriSource needed to run the new code. It’s just straight up Java or C# code, and you take it and run it in an environment that you choose.

Steven Dickens: So, once people have used the AveriSource platform to get to the destination, they’re not beholden to you going forward in order to execute and run that code, is the key takeaway there for me?

Stephanie Walter: Exactly. Exactly. And so, you can see based on all of our offerings, that we offer quite a lot of capabilities that can adapt to whatever modernization journey you’re on. You’re not required to transform your code if you don’t want to, but we are certainly there to help you through that if you would like.

Steven Dickens: Yeah. And I think that was the key thing for me. A lot of people here might want mainframe modernization. They hear, “I want to get off the platform,” and it’s how do I use an AveriSource source type tool to get me off the platform? Yes, you can do that if you want to do that, but you could use one through four of the thick components you mentioned to modernize the application in place, in situ on the mainframe and make it more composable, break apart that monolith of an application and not do a replatform or a refactor to something else. So, I think that that’s crucial for me as a takeaway. It’s not AveriSource equals get off the mainframe. It’s absolutely not that. It’s where do you want to be on that modernization journey and where do you want to take that application.

Stephanie Walter: Exactly. And AveriSource Discover is even good for maintenance use cases. So, yes. We worked really hard to make sure that we could fit in with the different scenarios and goals that our clients have.

Steven Dickens: Fantastic. So, as talking to the team, one area another team’s been innovating and spending a lot of time on, I know it’s been part of the conversations that we’ve had, is around the UI, making this simple, democratizing it for the developer, making it easy for people to navigate through. Can you just share with the listeners here what you’ve been doing in that space?

Stephanie Walter: Yes. And this is one of my favorite things to talk about.

Steven Dickens: I feel you get excited there.

Stephanie Walter: I love it. So, one of the unique things about the AveriSource platform is our focus on user experience. Our latest release, AveriSource Platform 2.0, really, it offers a fully redesigned UI. It is more efficient, it’s more intelligent for just better application planning and modernization. So, I’ve been asked this question before, why did you do this? And I’m a big believer in good user experience just in general. And there was some rumblings in our product feedback. So, we actually launched a full US research study to determine what was going on and what we could improve, because we promote making decisions based on data and we wanted to make our decisions based on data internally.

And it turns out we got some really good news. Once our users were taught how to use our platform, they really liked it. They really thought it was powerful. They were impressed by the capabilities that it had. It was just getting to that point that wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always clear everything that AveriSource could actually do for our users. And we got some feedback. The UI and branding could have been a bit more modern. So, we partnered with a UX design firm and figured out how to simulate how an SME would utilize the platform. We built in our expertise and made the entire experience, including our branding and messaging, one that users actually want to work in. It’s much more modern, intelligent, and dare I say, enjoyable.

Steven Dickens: That’s crucial, right? I mean people are using these tools, they’ve got a task to do. They know it’s their job of work, but if they’re enthusiastic and enjoying the experience, you get so much more out of it, so much more productivity. People are happy to be in the tool, that just leads to positivity all around.

Stephanie Walter: Yeah, exactly. And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but our competitors don’t really show you what their products look like. It’s hard to see what the interface looks like and it’s very difficult to understand what the experience is, but we are proud to show it off. It’s all out there, it’s clear, it’s easily accessible on our website. So, I highly, highly recommend checking it out.

Steven Dickens: And you guys have been really keen to show those demos to me, and there’s an enthusiasm to get to that demo and be able to show that. So, I think that only comes from you being proud in the product and proud of the investment you’ve made from a UI perspective. But we’ve been talking here for, what is it, 10, 12 minutes now? This is a podcast we’re recording in April of 2024 and we’ve not mentioned AI. I think we don’t want to be the only podcast I record this year where we don’t mention AI. So, I know you guys have got a strong AI story. What are you doing in the AI space to really infuse what’s a great journey already with a powerful UI? Where does AI fit into that mix?

Stephanie Walter: Yeah. So, AI isn’t an afterthought for AveriSource. We were implementing a lot of these characteristics before it was a trend or even widely known as AI. We were ahead of the curve when it comes to automation, building a knowledge base or what we would call model today, and intelligently generating business rules and modernized code. AI is just woven into the AveriSource platform. And what’s interesting is that some of our competitors, and you see especially some of the new companies coming on the market in this space that are using AI, they’re racing to build this knowledge base. And it doesn’t happen overnight.

It has to be done over time with projects, and experience, and analyzing a lot of complex code and AveriSource is already there. So, going forward, we have some really innovative ideas to take gen AI further, in terms of what we can do with the business logic we extract, and what additional artifacts we can create and additional questions we can answer. So, if you pair our proprietary models with LLMs and natural language processing, it makes for some very powerful capabilities for reducing the time, cost and risk of complex modernization projects. So, stay tuned. We have some exciting things in the world of AI coming up, that I can see me being just as excited to talk about as I am about our user experience.

Steven Dickens: Looking forward to that. Maybe AveriSource 3 preview here that we’re thinking about. No comments. No comments. So, I know you talked to a lot of clients in your role. We’ve spoken about that in some of our meetings off camera. What are you hearing? There’s a lot of talk in the mainframe modernization space. I talked to a lot of the vendors and the clients who are considering this. What are some of the key trends and things you’re hearing from clients as you talk to them about their mainframe modernization journey?

Stephanie Walter: The first thing that I hear pretty much from every customer is that they want to reduce manual effort. These projects are big, they’re expensive. They’re looking to simplify and reduce costs wherever they can. I mean, this isn’t rocket science, but it’s such a strong-

Steven Dickens: It’s worth restating, though. It is worth restating.

Stephanie Walter: So, another thing that I’ve noticed is clients are looking to modernize both in place and on the cloud. Modernization is not one size fits all, and we’re seeing different approaches including hybrid. So, some applications are staying on the mainframe. They’re being maintained or modernized there. Some are being moved to the cloud. And all of these applications need to work together in order to meet business goals. So, making sure that this is happening and you’re getting the business results out of these applications, is very important to our customers.

Steven Dickens: I think you make a really good point about the balance there. I hear a lot of rhetoric around modernized mainframe means get off. I think from all of our conversations, it’s been a bit more balanced and a bit more pragmatic. Some of them might migrate off, maybe they weren’t a good fit for the platform in the first place. Others of those, maybe this is a skills challenge. Maybe you need to modernize the application. Maybe you want to bring more, break apart that monolith and get to more composable or even microservices. Customers are coming at this from a number of different ways. And from what I’ve understood so far, the Averisource platform gives them the ability to do that.

Stephanie Walter: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Steven Dickens: So, that gives us a perfect segue into what should clients be doing nex?. I think I can probably guess what the answer is with Scan. But what should a client be doing next? They’re thinking there, “Hey, I need to start a modernization journey. Maybe there’s a path to the cloud.” What should they do first and then how should they engage AveriSource?

Stephanie Walter: I’m going to surprise you a little bit, and I’m going to say even before Scan, an important first step is planning. So, before anything else, try to get a clear idea or at least as clear as you can on your goals, prioritize, understand what success looks like and any constraints that you have. And that’s really going to set you up to be successful. And once you know those things, getting started with AveriSource is easy. And like you said, just get on averisource.com, download AveriSource Scan for free and see what you have in your environment.

Steven Dickens: And that’s the simple, easy way to get going. Start with that planning phase first, then go to Scan and then you can engage you guys to move through the rest of that journey. Is that what you’re seeing most customers do?

Stephanie Walter: Yes. Yes. After you do a scan and you’re going to see how big your environment is, what languages you have there, get a better idea, then we can have conversations around doing an application assessment with us for a deeper understanding of your portfolio or even a proof of concept to validate the solution in your own environment with your own code. Or you can jump straight to the AveriSource Platform Inventory, if you want to. And if you have any questions on how to get started, you can always just reach out to us via the website. It’s very straightforward. Or send us an email, hello@averisource.com. We’re always happy to hear from you.

Steven Dickens: I think that easy on-ramp is crucial. It’s interesting you mentioned the planning phase. People have got to sit down and I think people will skip ahead to Scan, given how easy it is. But it’s crucial that you mention the planning phase. Well, fascinating conversation. I think we could talk for longer about what you’ve seen with some of those customer use cases and some of the journeys that you’ve seen, but I’ve got to keep us to time. Thank you so much for joining the show. Always a pleasure to chat.

Stephanie Walter: Thanks for having me.

Steven Dickens: So, you’ve been listening to another episode of Infrastructure Matters. I’m your host, Steven Dickens. Please click and subscribe, and do all those things that help the algorithm and we’ll see you next time. Speak to you soon. I know you talk to a lot of customers. What are those top three takeaways that you get out of those conversations?

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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