Your Modernization Roadmap
Follow these seven steps for modernizing your mission-critical applications.
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By Jim Utsler03/03/2020
Steps To Modernize
The modernization process is an evolution. As transformation projects are completed to take advantage of new technologies and tools, change continues to happen. It’s important to never stop, and it’s important to respond to change with foresight and clarity, avoiding the winds of change that blow from all directions.
Modernization steps courtesy of Trevor Perry
The first questions to consider are what’s being modernized and the purpose of the modernization effort. Asking at least these questions will help answer how modernization will benefit your business. You should realize that the purpose of modernization is to take advantage of new technologies, tools and techniques to improve the user experience of applications and workflows. Modernization must offer an overall benefit to the bottom line of the business.
2. Business Case
A business case with some measure of expected ROI must be built. Expectations of transformation costs will be at a high level at this stage, as will expected revenue, cost savings and business-efficiency improvements. The business case should identify how the modernization will be aligned to the business strategy.
3. Current state
Uncovering the current state of IT—hardware, infrastructure and applications—is the next step in the modernization process. A related key to modernization is an understanding of the stakeholders and their business needs, from the users to the executives, from customers to partners. Also, learning about the current skills of the IT development team is necessary.
An organization should have a well-defined IT architecture that’s secure, robust, agile, modular and modern to support all business needs. This is required to understand how applications will be transformed, and how new applications will be built, integrated with other applications, and coexist with legacy software.
Using a basic understanding of the current state, as well as purpose and architecture, you should custom build a roadmap to suit modernization needs. Tasks should be prioritized, driven by business requirements. Ongoing application enhancements must be considered in the roadmap alongside modernization tasks. Remember that a roadmap is a series of short journeys in the direction of a destination that’s customized to your particular business.
A required step before the transformation work starts is ensuring you have the skills needed to run all modernization projects. Create a plan to address deficiencies. Execute the plan by either building skills (educate), buying skills (hire) or renting skills (contract).
Pilot projects are the simplest means by which you can understand how to develop to the destination architecture and how to transform the applications. They offer an approach where you can try various technologies and tools to determine the best fit for your organization. Based on these projects, you’ll use lessons learned about the development process and the costs involved to better estimate and manage all future modernization projects.
Jim Utsler, IBM Systems magazine senior writer, has been writing for IBM since the mid-1990s.More →