When it’s done right, modernizing legacy applications can be a rewarding process. However, potential mishaps can crop up during any major IT endeavor. Below are some of the most common mistakes organizations make, as well as tips on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Failure to secure proper buy-in. Executive buy-in and commitment is key to ongoing support and becomes increasingly important as a project is implemented. To secure buy-in, you need to ensure that there is an acceptable business case with clear return on investment (ROI). Be ready to discuss the strategic business goal as well as the technical feasibility.
Mistake #2: Lack of understanding about your current state. It’s hard to make meaningful decisions without first understanding what already exists. The best way to accomplish this is to conduct an application portfolio assessment. The goal should be to understand existing application and data types, as well as interdependencies. For organizations embarking on legacy modernization, the initial assessment needs to include reviewing hardware and software contract terms, understanding potential solution paths and evaluating the rate of application change.
Mistake #3: Underestimating the importance of testing and planning. Without a thorough implementation plan and testing regime in place, your likelihood of failure increases exponentially. A good plan sets expectations, and testing at each stage ensures alignment and accuracy.
Mistake #4: Ignoring the need to commit resources. While every organization’s legacy modernization project has its own individualized needs, assigning a project manager will help you stay on track and meet important milestone deadlines. You should also plan on dedicating subject matter experts including systems, applications, operations and database specialists throughout the course of your engagement.
Mistake #5: Failing to maintain regular communications. Much like securing buy-in, constant communication is critical to keeping the entire team involved and addressing unexpected challenges early on. For most organizations, weekly memos and short team meetings should suffice. Monthly updates to the executive stakeholders are also important.
Mistake #6: Going it alone. Having an experienced partner helps you facilitate the process, avoid common pitfalls and add resources that can ultimately lead to success. Take the time to find a partner who can guide you through the process and complement your in-house abilities.
An application modernization project can be the catalyst your organization needs to outpace the competition. Avoid the common mistakes that hold others back. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to sustainable success.