The economy is growing and individual enterprises need to keep up with the ever-shifting demands of new business processes as they relate to their aging legacy systems. However, we predict that enterprises will rise to the challenges with better leadership, deeper understanding of their applications, and stronger teams.
Finding Your Champions
The first prediction for 2018 is that businesses and development teams will need to find their champions. This can be a singular person or a team comprised of individual champions who have the decision making authority or necessary relationships to secure financial sponsors, as well as a technologist who lives and breathes modern tech.
It’s important to note, whether it’s an individual champion or team of champions, these people have to possess either experience in the existing business processes or digital transformation and, most importantly, be willing to break the mold of how processes run and are built.
The champions of 2018 and beyond have to be willing to disrupt their organization and their market with new processes and technology. Enterprises will go as far as forming departments such as Digital Services or Shared Services whose sole responsibility is digital transformation. IT is often seen as the operations and maintenance crew in these scenarios.
In 2018, if they haven’t begun this process already, enterprises will need to start a discovery process. This will identify and prioritize business processes that may, or may not, require transformation.
To identify business processes that require transformation, it first requires lots of time, meetings, and research to identify potential candidates. This can come from end-users to managers to software developers; you’re looking for key people who know processes intimately and can tell you whether something requires transformation.
Once you’ve established all the candidates, quantify the business value of the process and how much additional value can be gained. Work with technologists to quantify the level of effort. Having quantified the business value and rough level of effort, you have set up a quick and easy way to prioritize the tasks of your transformation initiative by plotting it on a prioritization matrix. Simple tools like this can establish a decision framework that all business stakeholders can understand.
Strengthen Your Team
Once you’ve established the decision making process, ensure you build a strong team to implement the right solution. A strong team can include but is not limited to: expert(s) in existing legacy systems, software developers and architects who not only can build modern tech but also understand business value, and strong product ownership.
More often than not, there will already be legacy systems in place that drive that business process. For better or worse, these will be key members to include on your team, as you will want to preserve key business rules and integrations with other business processes that have been developed in your legacy system for as long as 30 years in many cases. Having strong technologists in modern tech who understand the business objectives is key to ensuring the business gets what it needs and the future system is adopted by its users.
A product owner is a key role in agile development processes who is responsible for deciding what deliverables the business gets and when. To be strong in product ownership, the individual has to be able to prioritize features so that they deliver value to the business after a few sprints and be able to negotiate successfully what value can be delivered to them.