How to Modernize
Ultimately, success is rooted in the way you approach your modernization initiative
The Future Is Nimble
Legacy Software Is Not
There are two inconvenient truths lurking within most enterprise organizations.
Truth #1: Legacy Software Is A Major Liability
An organization's ability to respond quickly to changing market demands with rapid innovation is hindered and even made completely impossible by the expensive, complex, yet vital legacy software systems that power them.
The pressure to bring new products and experiences to market increases every day. It's especially critical is to show up on new platforms in new formats as they gain relevance and prominence. In response to this pressure, workarounds start creeping in and piling up. Often, teams lack the time and/or input to change the system to satisfy their real-world needs – so they go off and 'roll their own' solutions that get tacked-on. What results is a Rube Goldberg machine of complications. The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing which leads to duplication of effort, incompatible systems, and increased entanglement.
Organizations with flexible, decoupled systems architecture can scale more easily. They can add new capabilities and bring new product innovations to market quickly. Anyone anchored to legacy software systems gets to watch from the sidelines as the future passes them by.
And all the while, the cost of supporting and maintaining the legacy bohemoth gets more expensive while the return on that investment shrinks ever faster.
Truth #2: Most Organizations Are Doomed To Repeat Themselves
Though counterintuitive, the journey to modernization doesn’t start with evaluating the latest buzzworthy technology trends. Nor does it start with a slick product demonstration from a vendor promising an all-in-one solution that will forever make all your issues disappear.
The journey starts within your organization, leveraging the brain trust of your teams’ years of experience and domain knowledge. Often — in fact, nearly always — the first step to unlocking that brain trust is to address where there is (and has been) cultural dysfunction and breakdowns in effective communication.
Here’s why this matters: you’re currently saddled with legacy technology that’s a direct result of whatever organizational culture and decision-making process was in place when those choices were made. Without addressing those processes, you are doomed to repeat yourself. We've seen many organizations spend time and resources in changing technology only to discover a year or two down the road that they’ve re-created the technological mess they were trying to correct in the first place.
Modernization requires a different approach to communication and decision making. That's the place to start.
To avoid repeating history, here's how to approach your modernization initiative:
Start with the way things really are
If you want your technology to support and amplify your business (in terms of capabilities, growth, speed, ROI, etc.), begin by grounding yourself in your organization's current reality – even if the truth is uncomfortable. And, allow for some grace. The decisions that led here were ofthen right – at the time – but the outcomes may no longer meet your needs. Once you have established an objective, undistorted look at your current situation, you can chart a path toward modernization.
Encourage communication and collaboration
Leverage your teams' domain knowledge and hands-on experience to map out what capabilities your modernized system needs to support and to describe the relationships between those capabilities. Facilitate collaborative workshops where cross-disciplinary teams can work together to identify, strengthen, and prioritize the cases that can best deliver the business goals your modernization initiative needs to achieve.
Since neither technology nor the marketplace will stand still while you modernize your system, so you've got to architect to accommodate the unknown, the uncertain, and the unpredictable. Architecting decoupled systems that integrate intelligently allows your system to both scale and flex to accommodate change.