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Legacy Modernization - Where do I begin?

Many enterprises in different industry verticals have made huge investments in the legacy systems in the past - which are now leading to operational inefficiencies with the increase in their business growth. These legacy systems inhibit the organizations from embracing next-generation technology that will enable business innovation. Many firms have looked at these investments as additional expenses but modernization is the key differentiator to capture market share and stay atop among the competitors. 

How to do more with less?
As a partner, it is important for vendors to understand the modern technology trends and evaluate, how can it help transform the enterprise and prepare it for the future. The below 5-step strategy will provide a simplified approach towards modernization of application and systems within the enterprise:

5- Step Strategy for IT Modernization:
  1. Identify the key business goals of the enterprise.
  2. Identify the barriers & challenges across IT systems and its impact to the business
  3. List out the key Modernization themes based on the gap between business and IT
  4. Lay out the Strategic Solutions to modernize the platform
  5. Choose the best suited solution and define the transition road map to future state
The 5-step strategy works. A case in point
As a strategic partner, we were part of a modernization initiative for one of the leading insurance brokers. The 5-Step strategy greatly helped us to arrive at the modernization solutions that helped transform their business. 

Let me explain how this 5-step strategy was applied to simplify the client's landscape modernization and achieve business innovation.

1. Identify the key business goals of the enterprise
A combination of interviews & questionnaires with all the key stakeholders of the enterprise helped us understand their vision and arrive at their business goals as listed below.
  • Reduce Total Cost of Ownership
  • Better Return on Investment
  • Enhance Operation Efficiency
  • Faster Time to Market
  • Increase Global Footprint
  • Gain Agility
  • Enrich User experience
  • Scale for Future
2. Identify the barriers & challenges across IT systems and its impact to the business  
It is important to comprehend the challenges & the gaps in the existing landscape that will lead us to find the right opportunities for investment.
  • Understand the business and IT constraints
  • Perform portfolio assessment of different applications within the landscape
  • Document the key challenges across different applications 
  • Identify the impact to the business
An assessment of the IT landscape of the insurance broking company was carried out, which helped in identifying the key challenges across different portfolios of the enterprise and the business impact of such concerns to the enterprise, which is depicted in the below diagram:

1. IT Landscape assesment.png

3. List out the key Modernization themes based on the gap between business and IT  
Bridging the gap between business and IT is essential to the success of a transformation or modernization initiative in an enterprise. A holistic view of the organization, an understanding of their business expectations and IT strategy helped is in deriving the key modernization themes that will help in delivering the desired business outcome.

4. Lay out the Strategic Solutions to modernize the platform  
We arrived at different strategic solution options based on the identified modernization themes. It is to be noted that the strategic solutions described below may only suit the challenges associated with this case study. The strategic solutions will have to be tailored for the specific needs of the enterprise.

2. Strategic Solutions.png

5. Choose the best suited solution and define the transition roadmap to future state
The strategic solutions arrived at step-4 will have to be well-thought across different aspects like cost, ROI (Return on investment), business benefits etc. These solutions were compared against different factors like cost & business benefits that they offer. A quick comparison of different solution options against these aspects helped the clients make the right choice.

3. Mod Options.png


In this case study, the client chose the 'Rationalize' option - where they wanted to prioritize their lines of business that will have to undergo modernization. The client was also keen on reusing their existing assets as much as possible. Accordingly, the road map was defined, where-in the modernization was planned in different phases.

The best suited solution should be chosen for the enterprise such that it improves the corporate agility and competitiveness.  Future state roadmap is to be defined and the transition architectures will have to be detailed to transform the baseline architecture to target architecture in phases.          

Conclusion:
Having an appropriate strategy for IT modernization is imperative to the success of an enterprise modernization. The CIOs will have to make conscious decisions in terms of investments for transforming their IT systems in the most efficient and cost effective manner. It is important to ensure that IT modernization strategy is in alignment with the overall business strategy and the vision of the enterprise. The 5-Step modernization strategy detailed in this article will help the CIOs, business & IT directors and enterprise architects optimize their business & gain competitive advantage.  

Authored by:
Nandha Venkateswaran
Senior Technology Architect, Infosys

Comments

Nice and crisp blog linking business goals to modernization themes which in turn realize business benefits. Legacy modernization initiatives with attitude of direct business value would be much more successful than pure tech infra cost saving attitude.

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