Are You Facing the Modernization Dilemma?
When software applications reach their end-of-life, IT pros will either migrate, modernize or leave them alone. This white paper by Lansa covers the ins-and-outs of IBM i modernization.
By Richard Lancaster10/16/2019
Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers are approaching retirement and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced replacements. If you’ve experienced these pain points, you may also be caught between maintaining existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
Executives and managers often want to jettison legacy applications and infrastructure without considering the impact it will have on the company.
How do you choose a new platform? What's the best plan for transitioning from IBM i to a new platform? How much will the transition cost? How long will it take? Is it better to modernize your IBM i applications?
To determine whether you face the modernization dilemma, consider how well your applications and infrastructure support business requirements. Are they ready to face the rate of economic change and demands from today's customers and suppliers?
Do Your Existing Systems Support Business Requirements?
Successful companies harness their intellectual power, physical capabilities, resources, culture and business processes to build and supply their products and services.
Companies require regular assessment of their capabilities to retain a competitive advantage. An assessment must address the extent to which applications support today's business requirements. In addition to meeting current business requirements, the assessment must look at how likely the applications will meet future operational, compliance and regulatory mandates. All applications require flexibility to adapt to new innovation while supporting maintenance activities.
Regular reviews can help maintain applications so that they support constant change in business requirements. Without regular reviews, applications can become tired and inflexible, and this raises questions on the longevity of legacy applications and platforms. A capability assessment will determine the practicality of migrating or modernizing these applications.
Motivations to Migrate or Modernize
Dissatisfaction with a platform comes from frustrated business users and the opinions of C-suite executives. What factors motivate a desire to change the existing IT platform?
Here are some of the factors that will influence the decision between migrating to another platform or modernizing an existing platform.
|Affordability||Companies can't afford to upgrade line-of-business software (e.g., an ERP package or increasing annual maintenance fees)|
|Aged perception||Perception that green-screen applications are out of date or behind the times|
|Alternate software||Other on-premises platforms preferred for their alignment with business operations|
|Application costs||Cloud assumed to provide a better path to reduce costs|
|Applications not supported||Companies can't upgrade IBM i hardware because no version of their software package runs on later OS versions|
|Business processes||Applications can't accommodate required changes to business processes|
|CEO/CIO decision||A new CEO/CIO unfamiliar with IBM i initiates migration to another platform|
|Cloud is strategic||Strategic corporate direction is migration to a cloud provider|
|Corporate strategy||Existing applications don't align with corporate strategic direction|
|Hardware costs||Companies can't afford to upgrade IBM i hardware|
|Lack of developers||Experienced developers are hard to find and attracting new developers is problematic|
|Lack of IT agility||IT function lacks the agility to respond to product and marketing changes in a timeframe acceptable to business users|
|Mergers and acquisitions||Merger or acquisition by a larger company forces a migration away from IBM i|
|New is better||Assumption that newer applications will be more cost effective|
|User interface||Users expect a modern user interface that operates like mobile phone or web application|
These factors are catalysts for both migration or modernization projects. Decisions based on the factors alone are inadequate to determine the best outcome for the company’s bottom line. The motivation should trigger a realistic assessment of options for upgrading applications to support business requirements.
Actions to Consider
In a fast-moving economy, companies require applications that are easily and quickly built and/or changed. Development practices must be agile to accommodate change and regular deployment into production.
If you’re contemplating a migration away from IBM i, postpone a final decision until a thorough analysis and cost estimate of a migration project has been completed. You will need a virtual walk-through of the migration project to ensure you can estimate a cost for each component of the project.
In this white paper, “Why Migrate When You Can Modernize,” I provide a series of evaluation questions to consider. In addition, I provide a templated example of how to compile a list of your applications in order to assess the value and complexity of each, a critical step before embarking on a migration or modernization project.