IT Modernization between Necessity and Skepticism

IT Modernization between Necessity and Skepticism

Never change a running system: Our old IT landscape (still) works – so why should we change it? Some companies are highly skeptical. Let’s take a glance at the main obstacles in IT modernization.

At the beginning of 2015, I discussed modernizing IT landscapes and replacing legacy systems, something that often accompanies the process. Back then, I concluded that IT modernization is nowhere near close to completion, despite new technologies and automatic migration processes. Even with digitization putting more and more pressure on the situation.

In addition to the cost and time factors, and (a lack of) resources, psychological components also play a role here: For example, IT administrators at companies are concerned that the quality of their application landscapes could suffer due to (in some cases) hasty decisions and migrations to more current technologies. At the same time, many are still scared to take an incalculable risk, thereby risking their own necks. Legacy applications are applications that have grown over time and that are tailored to the company’s requirements. Often, these types of applications cover critical processes, which is why companies don’t want to jeopardize them.

Question after question

This situation has not changed much. Many companies are aware of the necessity of a comprehensive modernization strategy (see digitization aspect), but skepticism still comes out on top. In practical projects, I regularly face the following questions:

Strategic questions:

  • Are the expenses related to modernization reasonable compared with the added value they bring our company?
  • Legacy applications often have to be developed further, even during modernization. How can this be ensured at the same time as modernization?
  • Should the rollout take place in “big bang” style, or can modernization be planned in such a way that individual modules are implemented on a flexible schedule?
  • Is parallel operation between the existing and modernized applications possible, and what would this require?
  • Where will the quality of the new application improve, or possibly worsen?

Operational questions:

  • How do I manage the cut-over process, that is, the migration from the old to the new application?
    • Is there a test environment or a test process for the older application?
    • Are there qualified employees who can test the application manually? Or is automated testing available?
    • Do the applications have to run live in parallel in order to guarantee that the new application adapts to the functions of the old one without any problems arising?
  • What steps and quality gates are necessary for a successful modernization process?
  • How much time does the modernization project require from the involved IT and specialist employees?
  • How can the process for transferring employees to the new environment be organized?

Blog posts on the topic of IT modernization

  1. 4 Ways of IT Modernization
  2. IT Modernization – Yes or No? A Checklist
  3. IT Modernization between Necessity and Skepticism
  4. Four Levers – One Goal: Options for IT Modernization

The alternative: to be left behind

Although the list could be continued indefinitely, I mean this in a positive way. After all, this shows that IT administrators are grappling with the topic of IT modernization. Answering all these questions would go beyond the scope of this post. Especially considering that each modernization scenario requires an individual answer. The fact is: Legacy systems age and under an increasing pressure to modernize, they become more and more of a burden – even if they work without problems. Turning a blind eye does little good. Instead, take action and benefit from the advantages modernization can offer your company. I already broached the question of how with my post on the 4 ways of IT modernization. Next time, I will discuss this topic in more detail and help you on your way to taking the right approach to modernization. The new question will be: Migration, new solution, standard software, outsourcing – or maybe a mix of all these options?


Picture credit: Shutterstock

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