In today’s business environment, even organizations that have been running agile and smart can feel that something is holding them back.

Between competitive pressures, rising customer demands and rapidly shifting business dynamics, the greatest risk is failure to manage change.

Many businesses recognize application modernization is one way to mitigate these challenges.

But before you embark on a legacy modernization initiative, it’s important to visualize what you want to achieve. Once you have that clear roadmap in sight, you can then determine how to be being mindful of certain things.

6 Key Points About Application Modernization

Understand why you want to modernize

What? You haven't modernized yet?

Sound familiar? Well, change for the sake of change is never a great idea. It’s important to know exactly why you want to modernize.

Do you regularly experience downtime with your applications? Is slow to respond? Is your current application bogged down with maintenance chores that prevent you from moving on to projects that add real value to your business? Is your team is frustrated by unreliable access to the data they need?

These are just a few limitations of living with legacy applications. Do you recognize any of these constraints on your business?

The key is to understand the main goals of IT modernization. For businesses lacking clear direction, start by identifying the biggest pain point. But always have a compelling business case in mind to justify your course of action.

Decide which applications to retire, maintain or update

It’s hard to make meaningful decisions without first understanding what already exists in your application inventory.

The best way to accomplish this is to conduct an application portfolio analysis that evaluates each of your legacy applications.

There are many criteria that can be applied to identify which applications should be kept in their current state, which ones should be changed, retired or are the best ones where the opportunity lies. Once an organization knows which applications it wants to remove, it can devise a go-forward plan for the applications it has decided to keep, enhance, maintain or further invest in.

Maintain regular communications

Modernization is all about people, process and technology. Constant communication is critical to keeping the entire team involved and addressing unexpected challenges early on.

The vision and roadmap should be stated quickly once decisions are made to build trust and maintain transparency.

Remember, to pave a smooth path for modernizing legacy apps, all parties involved must share the same goals and mindset. Therefore, getting end-users and stakeholders on-board early in the process is of extreme importance.

Create a realistic roadmap and timeline

Once you know what you have, what you need, and which direction you should go, you can begin to plan out your application roadmap. Ask yourself:

  • What skills and expertise are needed to implement the roadmap?
  • What steps need to be taken from the initial phase of technology to the implementation?
  • What’s our financial situation?
  • What are the operational risks and other risk present? Are the bigger ones addressed first?
  • Which implementation route is best for my organizational styles and strengths, available budget and urgency?
  • Can the solution keep up with my business as its needs change? .
  • How flexible the business can be with specific to timelines and goals?

Identify data vulnerabilities

Before you proceed on an application modernization journey, it’s critical to understand potential vulnerabilities.

This typically requires an audit not only of performance, quality and security processes, but also a careful look at the data lifecycle to ensure that the data is always available and is not compromised under any business scenario.

Assess partner selection and validation

Your organization will need expert advice and assistance to make your modernization journey a success. Taking the time to research and choose the right modernization partner is one of the most important factors of a successful implementation.

Having an experienced partner helps you facilitate the process, avoid common pitfalls and provide resources that can ultimately lead to success. Take the time to find a partner who can guide you through the process.

Brace for Change

Executing application modernization is a complex and delicate project, and as such it should be based on a clear roadmap of project plans, tasks, durations, resources and risks.

However, there is no single roadmap that suits all enterprises and various legacy modernization scenarios. Each organization is different with respect to its modernization initiatives, the complexity of existing systems, organizational motives and maturity.

Title image by Sergey Zolkin