Enterprise Executive 2017: Issue 2 : Page 54

The biggest challenge to modernizing your enterprise is cost. fail than are successful because of spiraling costs and missed deadlines. I have seen companies sink millions of dollars into modernization efforts that ultimately fail. Many have decided not to go public since it can be an embarrassment to their business and could result in shortened careers. That is why businesses elect to go with less risky approaches that do not involve complete rewrites. So how can you mitigate risk? You can lower your risk by analyzing and documenting upfront how your business system works today. You need a baseline when testing but many legacy systems lack this kind of critical documentation. It is much better to find deficiencies in your design or code before your customers do. The system may work, but it needs to work accurately and compatibly. This can require a significant upfront investment but it will pay off with a successful project in the long run. And before you start any modernization project, you should also have a comprehensive set of regression test cases to ensure you are not losing critical business functions. It is so easy to miss the nuances of complex systems that have been running successfully in your business for many years. Don’t underestimate testing since that ensures the quality of the modernized system. Don’t underestimate the need for state-of-the-art tooling to help you with the modernization. There are a myriad of tools in 54 | E nt e rp r i s e E xe c u t i ve | 2017: Issue 2 the modernization space so you spend time upfront assessing which will best meet your specific needs. Find out from other companies about their experiences with the tools before you purchase them and get training for your personnel on how to use them. These risk mitigation strategies apply no matter which modernization approach you take. Because no modernization project is completely without risk, you should not cut corners on the upfront analysis work that must be done to determine the best approach for your business. You may feel that you are being forced into a rewrite of your core systems, but rarely is it necessary to start over. Sometimes refacing, or adding intermediate brokers, will allow you to add new capability while minimizing your risk. Consultants who are experienced in modernization projects can help you with the assessment, but be careful about hiring someone with a single technology skill. Insist they show experience across multiple technologies and make sure your own architects and business analysts are working closely with them. EE S. Michael Benson retired as an executive IT architect after 30 years at IBM. He held positions in development, architecture, management and technical sales. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Marist College. Email: smbenson58@gmail.com Conclusion

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