3 strategies for IT modernization success

The benefits of enterprise information technology modernization are numerous. Updated applications not only increase productivity on multiple levels but also stand up effectively to hackers searching for system vulnerabilities. Additionally, such digital fixtures are far more scalable than legacy platforms, facilitating the creation of new revenue-building opportunities or expansion.

However, implementing an effective IT modernization strategy is no easy task, as many organizations come to realize. Unfortunately, many fail to push through this initial resistance and continue onward with unsafe, inflexible digital infrastructure. In fact, nearly one-third of all American enterprises have either paused modernization efforts or do not intend to upgrade their systems at all, according to survey data from the Business Performance and Innovation Network.   

Neither of these approaches is sustainable in the modern marketplace. Firms that do not develop and maintain cutting-edge backend systems lose out on business, as more advanced competitors nab new customers expecting easy-to-use, reliable products and services, as well as streamlined order processing systems. With this unsavory fate in mind, businesses with outmoded IT platforms must fully embrace modernization and roll out programs designed to yield bottom-line building growth. The following strategies can lead to such success:

Commit to the project
As discussed in the opening, a large number of businesses give up on IT modernization efforts because they are difficult or expensive, essentially "kicking the can," so to speak. Of course, this only leads to more operational heartache and higher costs, as legacy software weighs on day-to-day business, resulting in lost opportunities and, eventually, customer attrition. This scenario does not even take into account the immense expenses that come along with patching and updating cumbersome systems that have long overstayed their welcome. In short, maintaining the status quo is not an option.

Enterprises have no choice to but to commit to modernization and develop a workable implementation strategy, CIO reported. Of course, in addition to sourcing committed, on-the-ground executors, the IT department must gain buy-in from those in the executive suite and get them to commit organizational resources to the project. The chief information officer holds the most influence in this arena, according to the study from BPI Network. The CEO is next on the IT modernization totem pole. Implementation teams who can get these business leaders on board and scrounge up the required resources and personnel can gain actual momentum and begin the journey toward technological transformation.

Businesses must have modern backend systems to stay competitive today's marketplace.
Businesses must have modern backend systems to stay competitive today's marketplace.

Understand operational needs
With support from both business leaders and core members of the IT department, the implementation team can move forward into the evaluation phase. Here, project stakeholders must evaluate existing systems and pinpoint mission-critical operational gaps, according to Deloitte. This may seem like an obvious and relatively simple exercise but many organizations on the road to IT modernization find it much more difficult then they imagined.

"The toughest challenge I faced when taking on my new role as CIO was gaining a comprehensive view of my IT project portfolio and a catalog of applications," one federal CIO told the Boston-based consulting firm.

Of course, this step in the process is essential, as the implementation team must understand what additional infrastructure the business needs to catalyze meaningful change. How does an enterprise go about doing this? According to IT Toolbox, there are approximately 13 variables to consider when reviewing IT systems and processes:

  1. Hardware platforms
  2. Software platforms
  3. Database platforms
  4. Application software
  5. Application development tools
  6. Development environment
  7. Human interface
  8. Technical policies
  9. Technical standards
  10. Internal and external interfaces
  11. Configuration oversight
  12. Communication
  13. Peripherals

The implementation team must investigate all of these areas and search for problems that correlate directly to measurable operational issues. Any new technology should be able to resolve these problems and lead to long-term improvement.

Recruit reliable partners
IT modernization does not unfold in isolation. In most cases, businesses work with external vendors to implement new systems and establish innovative workflows that lay the groundwork for growth. These outside partners play an invaluable role in the process, as their solutions and technical guidance make or break the new digital infrastructure. Consequently, firms should tread carefully when choosing collaborators, taking into account a variety of factors before making a decision, according to CIO Insight.

For instance, initial risk assessment results are key. Most vendors analyze their clients' existing systems and offer customized plans for how IT infrastructure could be improved. The implementation team must review these findings and gauge the fiscal and technical feasibility of the solutions prospective partners plan to offer. Prototyping policies are another key consideration. Ideally, third-party firms should be able to deliver demo solutions so clients can evaluate operability and other key product variables, such as user-interface design.

Additionally, the implementation team would be wise to predict how the working relationship might develop. The IT modernization process takes time and effort – organizations can only find success with collaborators who understand this and are willing to cultivate a true partnership. Finally, it is important for businesses to evaluate the credibility of vendors from the outset. Streamlining enterprise infrastructure is not cheap. With tens of thousands or millions at risk, firms must push for proof that solution providers can deliver on their promises and help to implement and support effective, sustainable technology. Requesting references is, of course, the easiest route. Most implementation teams can learn all they need to know over the course of a handful of brief conversations with past and current clients.

Organizations that adopt these IT modernization strategies can find success, trading legacy systems for cutting-edge digital products and services that match the modern marketplace. However, firms do not have to conduct this vast technological reboot in one fell swoop, according to the BPI Network. 

"You can start by installing a low-cost, simple platform to gather the data, and from there, begin to identify useful patterns that would almost immediately drive returns, if followed up with proactive activity," Kevin Leahy, general manager for the Americas division of Data Centers for Dimension Data, told the business innovation group. "A small investment in such a platform can be funded from the benefits gained by its use. This is possible across all business sectors where a broader range of patterns may become relevant."

Is your business interested in starting the journey toward IT modernization with a lightweight, yet powerful platform from a truly reliable partner? Connect with the Inventu Corporation today. Our innovative Flynet Viewer simplifies screen integration, easing the modernization process while meeting employer and staff expectations in a way that feels both familiar and simple. Review our product page to learn more about the Inventu Flynet Viewer and the other solutions in our extensive portfolio.