Alliance between business and IT makes application modernization truly successful

23 June 2021

Application modernization

Modernizing applications is often seen by the business side of an organization as a purely technical matter that provides little added value for them. However, migrating an application to today's technology also provides benefits that should arouse their interest. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to reveal the added business value so that business and IT, side by side, can do their part to eliminate the accrued technical debt. We offer a number of reasons and tools to make this application modernization alliance successful.

The business value revealed

In a rapidly changing world, an agile organization is vital. Agility as a mindset is important, but it must also be embedded in processes and systems. Outdated applications can act as a decelerating factor. The manpower and budget required to maintain these applications can severely impede an organization’s ability to drive innovation. This means that modern, mobile and collaborative applications that would create strategic value for the business receive much less attention.

It should be clear that in our digital world today, technology has become a strategic differentiator. All stakeholders of an organization - not just the IT department - should think in terms of "How can a digital system or digital solutions help me achieve my/our (strategic) goals?" Clearly, the business side can also provide the trigger for modernization to allow, among other things, more flexibility, more options for integration with new platforms, and a shorter response time between a request from the business side and the answer from the IT side.

Prevention is better than cure

Good alignment between business and IT can even reduce the general accumulation of technical debt. In order to deliver high-performance applications, the IT department needs to be well informed about the company’s business strategy. In addition, the business stakeholders must think carefully about what they actually need and describe this based on user stories and requirements. Doing this as accurately as possible limits the unintentional complexity.

As soon as the business needs are known, the IT department usually takes over and only delivers the requested application at the end of the journey. The danger here is that during the development process they diverge slightly from the business path (or there are already changes in the business context) and the solution does not fully meet the initial or current needs. You can keep a project realistic and focused on the end goal by continuously closing the knowledge gaps, which are always there at first, with first-hand feedback. This sort of feedback loop can be realized through small-scale experiments, feasibility studies, prototypes, etc.

Other handles to make the alliance successful

Are you an IT professional convinced of the importance of modernization, but you aren't getting much support from your business colleagues? Start the conversation and speak the same language. To make the positive impact of a modernization visible, use variables and benchmarks that the business knows and considers important.

When modernizing existing applications, you should also always look at whether functionalities require new custom development. Nowadays, many business issues can be dealt with via low-code. This requires less technical effort, so it is faster and can often be done by someone with a more limited programming background due to the lower complexity. This can increase the bandwidth for delivering new functionalities.

An iterative modernization process where you work on functional and technical tracks is also often welcomed by business stakeholders. For example, this approach lets you first give the end users a new user experience and only then tackle the legacy backend systems. Alternatively, it can also allow new requested functionalities to be delivered earlier, instead of first modernizing the entire application. In this way modernization gives them immediate benefits while at the same time focusing on what is behind the scenes in technical terms.

Effortlessly track every change in business requirements or customer demand

Our five-part blog series on application management & modernization revealed the why and how of this. We covered the following topics:

Did one of these topics spark your interest, and would you like to discuss it with our experts? Let us know!

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