Today’s businesses have many modern solutions and systems to choose from. With options like IT automation, intelligent automation, and AI applications, things get a little confusing. As a result, many enterprises wonder where does application modernization fit into the picture?
To answer this question, let’s take a step back and discuss legacy or traditional applications for a moment. 96 percent of the world’s largest banks, 90 percent of the world’s largest insurance companies, and 71 out of 100 fortune 500 companies use IBM system mainframes. In other words, IBM i remains very popular. This is due, in part, to its reliability, robustness, database integration, and ability to handle heavy data applications.
With this in mind, imagine taking the IBM i platform, with all of its capabilities, and integrating it with modern solutions like artificial intelligence, or making it accessible in the cloud. IBM i application modernization makes that happen. It’s like giving your enterprise legacy system superpowers.
IBM i applications are often monolithic. They create disparate data sources that seem difficult to integrate with modern solutions. There is also the issue of high maintenance costs and technical debt that ultimately reduces developer productivity. In a world where market conditions change rapidly, you need the right tools to maximize productivity and remain competitive. IBM i application modernization tools help you integrate modern solutions, increase developer productivity and adapt to changing market conditions. They also lower your maintenance and operational costs.
Despite this, many organizations are reluctant to invest in application modernization. They hide behind platitudes like “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” The COVID-19 pandemic, however, showed companies that they were broken. Modernize or perish became the new mantra.
The real question is, can you afford not to modernize? Here are 10 signs you can’t.
1. Is IT productivity stifled?
One of the most important signs you should invest in IBM i application modernization is “low productivity.” For some, simply meeting predefined deadlines is a measure of productivity. However, there are more pressing, business-related precursors that are often overlooked. IT productivity directly and significantly affects business growth in today’s economy. Therefore, to increase productivity, you need information accuracy, timeliness, and completeness in the interaction between your departments, processes, and systems. Modernizing for better business process integration through seamless data sharing boosts IT productivity.
2. Do you need Integrated systems?
Many businesses rely on multiple systems to deliver their products and services. Because of this, it is essential to streamline business processes and freely move data through these systems. Unfortunately, many organizations running on legacy applications have siloed systems. Their departments form empires and hoard data in isolation. This creates barriers to data sharing and collaboration.
Most, if not all, business processes require integration of some sort with APIs — either with other business applications to share data or to collaborate with external tools, like slack and Github. With legacy applications, however, integration with modern tools like AI, IoT, and cloud can be challenging.
When it comes to business process integration, for example, developers need to create point-to-point integrations to synchronize applications and systems. Unfortunately, this quick fix only works on a very limited scale. As your business grows, your integration needs increase, however, creating point-to-point connections for each integration is complex and impractical.
Practically speaking, modernizing your business apps is the only way forward.
You can find out more about modernization tools like the AS400 IBM from our article: “AS400 Application Modernization: Guide.”
3. Can you adapt quickly to changes in market conditions?
In the digital economy, having the agility to respond quickly to changing market conditions is essential. Businesses are under constant pressure to accelerate innovation and deliver products and services faster to meet changing business needs.
Adapting to changes with legacy applications is like entering a tortoise to compete in a dog race. Legacy business systems are monoliths with a large codebase. This means that updating a single unit may spell conflict for the rest of the system. Because of this, updating the whole is the best practice. That, however, takes time, something many enterprises today don’t have. Despite this, modernization is a prerequisite to adapting to changing market conditions and customer needs.
4. Are you struggling with slow business processes?
Rapid time to market is critical to providing organizations with a pacesetter advantage. The goal is to offer more advanced features – for example, in the advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, or machine learning space – ahead of your competitors.
Your existing applications also need to serve your emerging and future business needs. To achieve this you need to understand the impact industry changes have on your applications. The Covid-19 pandemic is a prime example of a change that forced organizations to adopt digital transformation at an unprecedented rate.
5. Are you meeting customer needs?
Customer expectations evolve with technology. As a result, to remain competitive, businesses must keep up with these new demands.
For example, Digital touchpoints permeate every aspect of customers’ lives. Technology resets customer expectations each time they have a better digital experience. These expectations come from industries like retail and banking that offer great customer experiences, with beautiful, easy-to-navigate UIs. As a result, digitally savvy customers increasingly expect their own IT teams to meet their real-time information needs on any device.
Defining a successful business process integration strategy can help you improve business operations and ultimately keep up with the modern customer experience.
6. How efficient are you in using your resources?
In a competitive market, the importance of maximizing existing resources cannot be denied. Your business needs to evolve as the market does, irrespective of your budget constraints. Therefore, if you fail to make the most out of your existing skills, resources, IT teams, and applications, you risk getting left behind.
Fortunately, IBM i application modernization can help you make the most of your current resources. You can streamline existing business processes for improved operational efficiency while adding capacity to absorb increases in business volume.
Explore more information about how your organization can use application modernization to accelerate digital transformation in this article: “What is IBM System i?”
7. Are different data formats spread across your platforms?
Most organizations with legacy IT infrastructure have data that is spread across multiple platforms. This makes it difficult to bring together in a functional and actionable way.
8. Do your data chains contain too many manual steps?
Business processes are frequently a mixture of computer interfaces and human input. Moreover, data chains are the steps that link them together. A data chain containing too many manual steps leads to an increase in delays and errors. This makes your business processes inefficient. Fortunately, business process automation allows you to reduce points of failure, mitigate risk and lessen resource bottlenecks by removing or reducing human intervention and effort.
9. Is your data poor quality?
The need to deal with flawed and low-quality data is another BPI challenge. Teams working on BPI projects must deal with incorrectly formatted data, duplicate records, and other flaws that make it difficult to use.
10. Are your data chains getting longer and more complex?
Data chains tend to grow. They get longer and more complex as you extend your business processes. It is a natural process because as your business and technological environments become more complex, your data chains do too. The growing complexity of your operations also requires new links and connections.
Are You Ready to Invest in IBM i Application Modernization?
Modernizing your business apps is a must if you’re to remain competitive in any market. With constantly changing business needs and increasing expectations from customers and employees alike, you can’t afford slow, inefficient business processes. Modernization sets you up to respond rapidly to these changes. Depending on your business goals and objectives, modernizing your business apps can be as simple as remodeling your user interface to integrate with modern solutions or adding functionality.
Learn more about what came before today’s existing IBM i applications in this article about IBM System 38.
Contact us for information on the right way to invest in IBM i application modernization.