Nevertheless, despite all its benefits, modernisation is often met with resistance.
Considering the challenges and risks
Two major arguments are typically used when talking about a software modernisation initiative. Those are the time and costs involved.
Indeed, a solution that took a team of developers years to implement cannot be re-created in a week, even if you hire twice as many developers to handle the task.
Challenges that derive from legacy modernisation include the following:
- Personnel is usually unwilling to adjust to management changes. Motivation, training, and coaching will press them in that direction but will entail additional risk and cost.
- If there are multiple legacy systems within one corporation, their modernisation should be articulated and prioritised in a corporate program that considers the required effort and time window for each system individually. On the contrary, simultaneous modernisation may lead to a catastrophic impact that is not easily absorbed. Come up with a sound strategy & roadmap and do not, do not, do not have knee-jerk reactions that lead to re-prosecuting your strategic decisions!! Everyone needs to be on board and on the same page. Flip-flopping is a major risk so be mindful of it.
- If you are not doing a full replacement of an app, legacy code should be handled with extra care, even if some pieces of it can appear to be no longer relevant and in need of replacement. For the same reason, it is important to make sure while migrating that the underlying software will comply with the new data interchange rules and requirements dictated by client applications and support resources.
- Having to deal with countless lines of code that only address a given corporate process can be a real headache, especially if there is a skills shortage.
Besides these challenges, there are multiple risks to avoid. Here are some of the reasons for legacy modernisation effort failure:
The organisation inadvertently adopts a flawed or incomplete strategy.
The organisation makes inappropriate use of outside consultants and outside contractors.
The workforce is tied to old technologies with inadequate training programs.
The organisation does not have its legacy system under control.
There is too little elicitation and validation of requirements.
Software architecture is not a primary modernisation consideration.
There is no notion of a separate and distinct “modernisation process.”
There is inadequate planning or inadequate resolve to follow the plans.
Management lacks long-term commitment.
Management predetermines technical decisions far too prematurely.
Successful modernisation programs require a solid strategy and great attention to detail.
Today’s post has been a light touch focused on preparation for a modernisation strategy. My next post will start to point you toward some additional best practices on how to execute a well-founded strategy.
Regardless of your chosen approach and techniques, software modernisation is a complex, labour-intensive, and risky process. If done well, the results are well worth the risk.
Top analysts are predicting that digital modernisation will attain macroeconomic scale over the next three to four years, changing the way enterprises operate and reshaping the global economy.
“More than half the global economy turns digital by 2023 requiring new species of enterprise to compete and thrive.”
To live up to the demands of the new digital modernisation economy, organisations have to cease relying on outdated software and modernise their core technologies. Enterprises will benefit only when they stop seeing modernisation as a one-time project and embrace it as a continuous improvement cycle.