In The Boardroom With...
Mr. Stu Hammer
Director, USPS Application Services Practice
HP Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Stu. Before discussing the applications transformation environment in greater detail, would you please take a moment and tell us a little about your background.
Stu Hammer: I am the leader of the HP Enterprise Services Applications Practice in U.S. Public Sector, where I’ve specialized on application modernization, transformation strategy and transformation to cloud services. I have been in the IT business for more than 29 years with a strategic focus on IT transformation trends and providing application transformation strategies for government clients.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: According to a recent HP blog, public sector IT professionals seem to be facing an unprecedented challenging environment consisting of severe financial limitations and legacy systems on the one hand, and mission-critical demands of today’s workforce and citizen expectations on the other—both of which require state-of-the-art cloud and mobility solutions. Care to elaborate on this for us?
Stu Hammer: Public sector IT agencies have many issues, including constrained if not reduced budgets, but meeting mission objectives is vital to ongoing operations. For IT leaders, costs are ever increasing, legacy systems are omnipresent, security risks are growing and new technologies are continually being introduced—including mobility, cloud and big data. These leaders are also challenged to provide a secure environment as access increasingly becomes more open. Legacy systems and applications lack the flexibility to adapt to these changing needs. Even where they can adapt, the timeframe is long and the process is slow and inexact, often entailing risk-taking that can impact critical business functions. Compounding this is a lack of skilled resources—both the skills to work with the existing legacy applications and systems and the skills needed in these new technologies. The predominant issue stems from the fact that legacy systems often consume greater than 80 percent of the IT budget, leaving little room for innovation to meet required client expectations.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: We read with great interest that HP Applications Modernization Services for Governments helps customers create a roadmap for their organization based on specific goals and objectives. HP helps organize the modernization journey into smaller, more manageable steps and integrates legacy applications within new modern environments that can reduce total cost of ownership and create the efficiencies needed to meet challenges faced by agencies every day. Can you please give us an overview of HP’s Applications Modernization and Transformation Services and why enterprises need to be planning now for these types of solutions?
Stu Hammer: The HP modernization approach takes a holistic and comprehensive view of an organization’s applications portfolio. HP aligns critical applications and infrastructure with the overall modernization program to address risk, optimize benefits and prioritize business needs. HP’s approach is conducted in three distinct phases: Advise, Transform and Manage.
The Advise Phase includes assessing the complete IT environment including applications, data and infrastructure. The assessment is foundational to determine business goals and validate the strategic technical and functional value of the legacy applications to the business. We look for redundancies in applications and data, and we start identifying opportunities for modernization. That in turn leads us to recommend the best approach for reaching your future state. We do that through the development of a transformation roadmap, which contains the series of projects that will be executed to achieve your desired outcomes. It also serves as the foundation for the business case necessary for business approval and buy-in. The outcome you can expect from the assessment phase is transparency into your applications, data and infrastructure inventory—information you can use to make fact-based decisions. You will have financial planning data for business case development and ROI modeling.
The second phase is Transformation. HP believes that multiple strategies are required to transform a client’s environment. These strategies reflect both the starting point and the defined end point, and are influenced by your technology strategies and directions. For example, an application that may be replaced by a COTS system in five years could be re-hosted to a lower-cost, higher-performance platform. Conversely, a mission-critical legacy application that goes through many changes could be re-architected to a services-based architecture and transformed to the cloud. We use seven different modernization strategies that we have created to support our modernization projects.
The third phase focuses on Management, to ensure that you remain in control of your applications portfolio. It consists of putting in place a services-based management program that addresses the business, application, technology, organization and governance. This services-based model takes optimization to the next level—continuously aligning applications to the business and looking for ways to reduce the complexity of the application portfolio, thus further reducing maintenance and support costs.
This three-phase approach is critical as government agencies rely on hardwired services consisting of large IT portfolios filled with legacy systems, outdated business processes and inflexible IT governance. The future state is defined as a government with a smaller IT portfolio filled with shared systems, flexible architectures and strong IT governance that aligns with rationalized business processes. The bridge between the current state and the future state is the Advise, Transform and Management strategy. This approach links the disciplines of IT governance, enterprise architecture and business process management.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Stu, can we drill down a bit further into a general idea of the journey HP Public Sector clients will take and the high-level modernization roadmap that leads them along the way?
Stu Hammer: The approach clients must first take, is to conduct a detailed assessment of their existing application environment to help drive a new strategy for their modernization approach. This Modernization Assessment analyzes an application and portfolio from multiple perspectives: financial, business, functional and technical—and it maps the application portfolio components to the client's tactical and strategic business objectives, ultimately producing a roadmap for the transformation of the applications in scope of the assessment.
As an output of this activity, many benefits can be realized such as aligning IT objectives with business objectives. The Transformation Roadmap consists of a detailed Current State Baseline; Future State Initiatives; and the prioritization of these initiatives in a roadmap, all backed by a business case/ROI for each initiative. The roadmap is leveraged to help solidify relationships and priorities between multiple client departments to achieve maximum impact for obtaining client goals. HP clients have realized many benefits from this process including a streamlined applications portfolio that meets their business objectives, along with an increase in applications performance, efficiency and usability of their applications, as well as optimizing their costs associated with their IT systems.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: HP’s capabilities, experience and track record in this space is truly significant. What is your perspective, Stu, on the unique advantages and value proposition HP brings to the table?
Stu Hammer: HP has transformed and manages some of the world’s largest and most complex client environments. With applications modernization from HP, you can expect to receive a faster ROI, higher savings, lower risk and a more comprehensive solution. Faster ROI starts with the fact that you are not only leveraging our consultants and their expertise, but that they in turn make use of tools and processes developed as a result of our past experiences with modernization projects. It also stems from the fact that we focus on defining a roadmap first, so that the projects we undertake will have the maximum impact on your results, in the fastest and most efficient way.
HP modernization consultants leverage 40+ years of experience with nearly all legacy technologies, our alliance partnerships and HP repeatable methodologies, frameworks, tools and strategies. Our use of cutting-edge modernization intellectual property provides a good example, as do our patent-pending Visual Intelligence and Modernization toolkit, along with the products we leverage from HP Software. Additionally, we use standard frameworks, creating a unique approach to modernizing applications and enabling continuous operations without disruption. Moreover, our HP factory process and automation capabilities provide our experts with the tools and resources to efficiently and securely modernize client applications.
Our experience in these areas, combined with the fact that we have modernization consultants familiar with nearly every application and infrastructure technology, combined with our project management tools and processes, lower the project and business risk for you. We leverage the skills and resources you have in place, and can bring in HP expertise and technologies across the IT spectrum—from traditional IT infrastructure, to cloud, to mobility and information management and analytics, to help you achieve your application modernization objectives.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Are there any success stories you’d like to share with the readers to highlight how modernizing applications has helped solve business issues?
Stu Hammer: We partnered with a government agency that due to recent changes had a critical need to transform and modernize its portfolio of applications to reduce costs and increase the system’s adaptability to evolving business conditions. The agency undertook an application modernization initiative comprising an overall transformation strategy, a complete assessment of the legacy applications and an end-to-end modernization project. The client worked with HP to replace more than 20 million lines of code, encompassing more than 19,000 separate programs. The legacy application environment is now industry standard and interoperable, with many common tasks now done automatically. The new infrastructure has helped the agency to roll out internet portals to their clients to improve the customer experience.
The project was delivered on time and to budget with more than 90 percent of the final functionality delivered within 24 months. Development costs were reduced by 38 percent and the overall portfolio size was reduced by 33 percent. Significant modernization savings were realized annually in hardware and software licensing (including maintenance). The agency not only realized significant year over year cost savings but also achieved a return on investment in 18 months.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: It seems to us that in today’s IT environment it is even more imperative for government agencies to act NOW. Doing nothing is not an option… if they delay, it will cost even more to catch up and service levels to their constituents and stakeholders will suffer. Would you agree with this sentiment?
Stu Hammer: Clients who don’t invest in applications modernization discover that it is increasingly difficult for them to get new projects launched, and that it is harder to keep doing “business as usual”. One of our clients, after forecasting their spending trends, found costs were increasing year-after-year to the point where non-discretionary funding was projected to be over 90% of their budget. It was determined that a failure to act on their applications portfolio would squeeze out and ultimately eliminate their ability to fund and drive new initiatives. This cost of doing nothing is dramatically outweighed by the benefits of investing in applications modernization.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you, again, for joining us today, Stu. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?
Stu Hammer: A key topic is application security modernization conducted in conjunction with the overall Application Modernization program—which we find is often minimized if not neglected during the modernization program. Often 90 percent of security funding has been spent at the infrastructure/network level, yet 70 percent of successful attacks occur at the application layer. Security is often an afterthought because of the way security has been included in the past during application development efforts which is traditionally left to the end where it’s tested in as opposed to being included throughout all phases of the process. Now with cloud and mobile applications, it’s more difficult to secure data and transactions which is why it is critical security is architected into the modernization programs comprehensively to minimize the deployment risks.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Any final thoughts you’d like to offer on why HP is the clear choice to partner with on transforming business systems?
Stu Hammer: Applications modernization has become imperative as the maintenance of “mature” applications has increased—consuming a disproportionate share of resources. HP aligns critical applications and infrastructure with your overall modernization program. We can help you address risk, optimize benefits and prioritize the business needs of your applications.
There are some very significant benefits that we can get through modernization. We’ve seen between 25 and 45 percent savings in a reduction in operations cost, development cost and overall portfolio size. The approach HP uses has been successfully executed with hundreds of modernization projects—–leveraging the Advise, Transform and Manage approach, which is backed up with a strong methodology, tools and the experience to execute and de-risk the approach.
What’s critical in this process is to start with a complete assessment. It’s mandatory that you get the plan right and you know what your portfolio, know what your application environment is so you can execute successfully. We’ve seen clients fail by ineffectively planning this assessment phase. If you do nothing, your costs are going to continue to rise; executing a transformation plan is critical.