Enterprises often struggle in defining a business case to modernize an application portfolio that is several decades old but is functionally aligned with business needs. IT organizations see the need to modernize the portfolio to keep up with new business requirements but lack business sponsorship as business needs are routinely met through patchwork solutions.
One approach that has proven successful in creating the IT-business partnership essential for modernization initiatives is to start modernization efforts with external-facing applications (customer, partners, and suppliers) and wrap modernization efforts around strategic initiatives that are highly visible in the enterprise.
|Legacy Modernization business cases that rationalize modernization solely based on technical and operational risk of the legacy portfolio fail to garner business sponsorship||Many of the legacy applications in an enterprise are 20-30 years old. There is a tendency in enterprises to make portfolio obsolescence risks as the primary driver for modernization business case. Typically, business cases solely based on risk associated with portfolio age fail to get business sponsorship. Risk-based business cases do not generate excitement about the initiative as the business sees no strategic business value in sponsoring them. The business does not see any urgency in sponsoring the modernization as the applications currently meet their needs.||Combine a modernization business case with strategic initiatives that the business wants to accomplish and that are highly visible in the enterprise. Define the business case around the strategic initiative and position modernization as an enabler of the strategic initiative.|
|Modernization of customer-facing systems is often a good place to start||Modernization initiatives typically lack excitement and don’t get visibility. The business sees it as something that needs to be done but nothing more. Launching modernization with customer-facing systems and positioning them as an enabler of new customer capabilities is one way to generate excitement and get business sponsorship. Enterprises typically have strategic goals related to customers and are willing to sponsor initiatives that allow them to meet these goals.||Leverage customer facing initiatives such as customer portals and mobility as a way to fund modernization initiatives. These initiatives are highly visible in the enterprise and positioning modernization as enabler of these strategic initiatives helps in getting business sponsorship for the modernization efforts|
|Don’t ignore business intelligence benefits of modernization||One of the frequent requests that IT organizations get from business is to obtain timely and reliable business intelligence.A legacy application portfolio puts constraints on the availability of business intelligence, as data required for providing business intelligence are fragmented and not available in timely manner. To provide the required data, point solutions are created that result in complex architecture and further contribute to the problem. The Modernization initiative is an opportunity for an enterprise to re-architect the enterprise data architecture such that reliable and timely business intelligence can be provided to the business.||Modernization of the application portfolio facilitates availability of standardized, quality and timely data that is required for business intelligence. The definition of enterprise data architecture should be undertaken in parallel with the modernization effort and the benefits from availability of timely and reliable business intelligence should be leveraged to bolster the modernization business case.|
Post Date: 10/11/2013