The Best Kept Secrets About Modernization

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Application Modernization | 0 comments

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are striving to position themselves to rapidly adapt to changes in market conditions. Despite limited budgets, they are also working to meet new compliance requirements and regulations, adopt new technologies, and meet customer needs. As a result, IT departments worldwide are under increasing pressure to transform businesses at scale. It’s not an easy task, especially for enterprises that have been around for quite some time. Their business applications and infrastructure are showing their age.  This makes transformation even more of a challenge. Simply put, it is difficult to transform at scale without establishing mechanisms to mitigate and monitor the risks associated with upgrading technologies. 

Fortunately, modernization is the light at the end of the tunnel. At its core, application modernization involves a holistic approach to improving the architecture, infrastructure, and delivery of legacy platforms. Unfortunately, the idea of a holistic approach is confusing to many. This is because, depending on your business needs, the approach varies. That’s why we are sharing what we think are the best-kept modernization secrets with you.

1. How Should I Analyze My Existing Application Portfolio?

The very first secret is the importance of assessing your existing portfolio of applications and platforms. There’s a popular saying, “you can’t solve a problem you can’t see.” Getting to know your problems by analyzing your existing application portfolio is critical to your modernization success. That said, the biggest challenge here is gathering complete and accurate inventory data. If your source data is wrong, your insights and recommendations will be too. In short, you need accurate and validated data before you begin.

Start by compiling a list of all the applications in your portfolio. This includes your past, present, and planned applications. Next, define the business value of these applications. Rather than focusing on the cost of each application, incorporate a comprehensive framework for determining their value. Consider a scoring system to determine how they affect your business processes, customer use, and revenue, in addition to your other key metrics. 

Learn more about what came before today’s existing IBM i applications in this article about IBM System 38.

2. How Can I Identify Modernization Areas?

This is where you receive value for your efforts in analyzing your portfolio. Once you understand what you have and where you want to go, you can identify your problem areas. Remember, however, that not all problem areas are modernization areas.  To identify modernization areas, you must categorize your applications into four groups. These groups are the processes you want to Retire, Tolerate, Invest in, and finally, Modernize.


The Retire group includes applications that qualify for elimination. These can include redundant applications or applications with no significant business value. In other words, their operation and maintenance costs outweigh their benefits.


The Tolerate classification includes applications that provide business value but are not necessarily embedded in your infrastructure and therefore require light support. 


Your Invest applications have a high potential to deliver good business value but require reengineering or other major infrastructural enhancement to deliver.


Last but not least. the Modernize group contains applications with high business value that are poor technology fit for your organization. Improvements in this category will significantly affect your bottom line. These applications, however, usually rely on unsupported hardware or platforms, or a dwindling pool of human resources.  They represent modernization opportunities — areas you can build your modernization strategy around. 

3. How Do I Avoid Screen Scraping for Cosmetic Reasons?

When it comes to modernization, a lot of lip service is paid to the importance of the graphical user interface. While it’s true that today’s users expect an attractive interface, screen scraping just for its own sake does nothing to increase your ROI. Simply put, you’re not actually adding any value, you are just changing appearances. If, however, in your analysis to identify critical modernization areas, you discover that adding a graphical user interface will bring business value, then, by all means, carry on. 

4. How Can I Identify the Right Modernization Strategy? – You May Need More than One

There are different strategies for modernizing different applications. Moreover, none of them produce the same outcomes. This is because they differ in purpose, cost, value, risk, and reward. To select the best option for your business you need to identify your modernization opportunities and choose the method with the highest return in value. 

When you assess your options, bear in mind that the best option is one that’s specific to your situation. No two companies are alike. In other words, you can’t choose a modernization approach simply because it worked for another company. You need to consider your financial and human resources, as well as your business goals and objectives. 

Also, note that the best strategies minimize risk and leverage your investments.

Let’s look at how you can minimize risk and achieve reliability and fast transaction speeds in this article about AS400 IBMi.

5. How Can I Implement Modernization Strategies to Optimize Related Business Processes?

No modernization project should lack a clear set of business benefits. Fluid business processes are necessary to achieve business goals. It is critical to define the changes required for each application and have your IT and business units jointly establish a clear scope and objectives.  

Here’s an example: Allied Beverage Group, LLC, identified finding a better way to communicate with customers and sales staff as its highest business priority. Their goal was to stay relevant in a very competitive market by giving their customers a way to obtain marketing data, access retail incentive reporting, order online, confirm orders and receive alerts to opportunities like discounts and incentives. Just as importantly, they wanted to do it without negatively affecting the responsibilities of their Sales Marketing Consultants (SMCs).

Learn more about how your business can implement progressive modernization strategies the IBM way.

6. How Can I Ensure A Modernization Project Enhances Developer Skills?

During modernization, it’s important your IT department and implementation teams remain effective. To ensure your modernization is successful, you need to prioritize. This means creating a structure for responding to queries that arise during the project. It is non-negotiable — you must clearly define, from the start, how your project will impact IT and how IT will respond. 

7. What If I Don’t Modernize Legacy Applications? They Could Become Incompatible with Modern Applications.

Businesses today rely on various systems to deliver their products and services. Because of this, integrating older systems with modern applications is inevitable. But, integration with legacy applications can be very difficult. This is especially true as technology advances. Nevertheless, older applications become incompatible with modern tech like rich internet applications and need to be modernized to retain value. 

8. How Do I Choose the Right Modernization Partner/Vendor?

Like most business growth endeavors, modernization requires the right vision and the right partners. The best partner for true modernization is one with a high-level vision that also understands your business as well as your short- and long-term goals. Your partner must take a holistic approach to software and process and have a proven track record of delivering a tailored strategy unique to your company. Be sure to have your partner connect you with other like-minded customers with similar needs and provide a working proof of concept as part of your evaluation. Your ideal partner will base its success on the success of your modernization project.

9. Are Modernization Projects One-time Projects?

Most modernization projects fail due to a poor approach. Many businesses are guilty of thinking modernization is a one-time project, which ultimately leads to failure. In reality, modernization is an ongoing assessment of the suitability of all applications. Any deviation from this approach spells disaster. 

10. Can I Afford to Just Do Nothing?

As you already know, everything has a shelf life. This includes phones, drugs, and, most especially, business applications and systems. Most businesses that have been around for quite some time still rely on legacy business applications to fill their current business needs. Over the years, these systems should be modernized, as they no longer align with current business goals and objectives. However, most businesses hide behind the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They’re waiting for a major disaster. One takeaway for businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic is: “adapt or die.” The real question here is, “Can you afford not to?”

Are You Ready to Modernize?

Low-code solutions allow businesses to keep up with constantly changing demands and regulations. In today’s world, the IT environment changes at a bewildering pace. That’s why the need to accelerate the development and delivery of enterprise applications cannot be overstated. For more information on your modernization strategy, contact us.



Submit a Comment