10 IT modernization mistakes to avoid

Modernizing IT takes more than just replacing old tech with newer models. It requires a nuanced strategy that considers business needs and objectives alongside technical capabilities.

Sentara Healthcare embarked on its digital transformation journey two years ago, seeking to create better experiences and outcomes for its patients and providers.

To transform, Michael J. Reagin, senior vice president and chief information and innovation officer at the Norfolk, Va.-based nonprofit organization, recognized the need to shed decades’ worth of legacy systems, shift to the cloud and redesign systems to center around consumers and not the organization.

Now deep into its transformation initiative, the 125-year-old Sentara is spinning up DevOps teams and migrating more of its infrastructure to the cloud. But that modernization hasn’t been easy: “We have the scars and cuts and bruises to prove it,” says Reagin, who admits to a few missteps along the way.

That’s not unexpected, according to CIOs, consultants and researchers. After all, digital transformation is extremely difficult, with research from McKinsey & Co. indicating that less than 30 percent of transformation initiatives succeed.

Experts list various reasons for the high rate of failures, but one of the leading contributors is the IT stack itself. Indeed, executives, analysts and business advisors routinely cite legacy debt among the biggest obstacles that organizations face when trying to transform into a digital operation.

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