Digital Transformation for Legacy Systems

AUTHOR: Ross Smith, Chief Architect at PITSS

LEAD YOUR TRANSFORMATION

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In 2016, CIOs worldwide saw their digital projects yield 37% more in revenue and operational efficiency. Digital transformation is accelerating change in every industry. Because of these changes, breakaway leaders are disrupting norms, overcoming challenges, and outgrowing their competitors.

 

Now it’s 2017. Are you ready to be a digital transformation leader?

If the success of mobile computing and the Silicon Valley model have proven anything, it’s this: consumers are willing to change how they shop, work, and play for the advantages of new digital models. The organizations that can provide those digital models win over their competitors, hands down.

To stay ahead, we have to stay smart, and we can’t stay still. Today, it’s time to reconsider your legacy systems to secure new customers, create better workflows, and see improved ROI in every aspect of your organization.

What is Digital Transformation?

No corner of our modern lives is untouched by digital transformation. From radical advances in medicine to the ordinary reality of shopping from your phone, digital changes are everywhere. Your family, friends, business colleagues, staff and competitors are feeling this transformation in their wallets, their imaginations, and their expectations. As a result, digital transformation is the most strategic, most leveraged investment you can make.

Because everyone is watching, everyone is charged with a sense of potential waiting to be unlocked. Including, perhaps especially, your customers. Since digital transformation looks different for every organization, one definition does not fit all. Generally, digital transformation integrates modern or digital technology into every of a business. This integration results in essential changes to how the business operates and delivers its value and offerings.

Beyond this fundamental change, digital transformation is an overall a cultural change within an organization. It challenges the notion that an organization has found success once, so stay the course. Instead, digital transformation promotes constant reflection, re-evaluation, and internal changes and improvements.

“Digital Transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”

Ron Meyran

Radware

What is a Legacy System?

First, a legacy system is any system you’ve invested in to the point that walking away from it is too expensive. However, a legacy system can still serve a critical function for your enterprise. Expensive in this context can mean that attempting to change the legacy system can cost development time, risk, and even revenue to the business.

Legacy systems hold a lot of technical debt, making them low ROI to upgrade in a straightforward fashion. To get high ROI from a legacy system upgrade, it requires a legacy system digital transformation with achievable goals and excellent planning.

As a result, legacy systems need digital transformation because they represent the greatest long-term investment in your business. Digital transformation for legacy systems keeps your older technology up to date with your current and future business needs.

How to Plan a Digital Transformation for Legacy Systems

The processes that make your business your business are held within your legacy system. However, not every business is equipped to understand or adapt their legacy systems to meet new and changing business needs.

In order to separate what makes your business run from the legacy system, first you must understand why and how your systems and processes run. Then, determine what parts of your legacy systems make those processes run. After that, you can determine how to improve, change, and modernize those critical systems and processes.

The difficulty of legacy transformation is more than the sum of its individual challenges. It requires a vision and a plan beyond the individual details of the systems and processes.

When performing digital transformation for legacy systems, many organizations don’t have history or experience dealing with the new technology that will make their business goals a reality.

First, your organization should have a sound, solid plan that includes expert resources that do have this history and experience. Combining internal employees who know your legacy applications inside and out with third-party or consultative experts can bridge the knowledge gap.

At PITSS, we subscribe to MIT’s philosophy on the 9 elements of digital transformation. We use these focuses to apply digital transformation to legacy applications that our customers rely on most for business needs.

The areas where MIT sees digital transformation having the most impact on legacy applications are:

  • Revenue maximization
  • Workflow optimization
  • Globalization and standardization

How PITSS Does Digital Transformation for Legacy Systems

PITSS uses our history and expertise to help organizations craft a single plan for your legacy systems that ultimately addresses the transformation of culture, technology, and process.

Because legacy systems can touch all points within an enterprise, transforming legacy systems requires cooperation across all divisions, departments, and hierarchies. Teams and development processes have to be aligned to the priorities of the highest levels.

PITSS sits down to have those deep vision and scope conversations with all of these departments. Our project teams are comprised of people who specialize in one area of the challenge, but we constantly compare notes to help understand the bigger picture.

Our team realizes your company’s long-term vision and helps guide and fulfill that vision more than you’ve ever thought was possible. Our architect understands the business and process priorities, translating them into concrete technical direction and digital transformation strategy.

Tech leads at PITSS translate technical direction into robust industry standard solutions, while keeping the business priorities in mind. This contributes to culture change because tech leads must produce projects that have high adoption and buy-in. Our project managers know how to phase the long work of a legacy digital transformation into releases that give incremental value back to the business.

We try to schedule our project timelines toward the business goals using Agile methodologies. We also know how to work with legacy software development lifecycle patterns, and introduce them to new, modern development methodologies.

 

“Who owns the audience, owns the last mile. Closest to customer, closest to disruption.”

Sameer Patel

SAP

So What’s Next for Legacy Systems?

Digital transformation is more than an upgrade, more than a process improvement, more than a culture change. All of these parts together form a total digital transformation that allows a business to be more flexible, competitive, adaptive.

If you’re going to do any kind of legacy transformation, one conversation can hit all of these important points if you have the right team. When PITSS has conversations with our customers, we want them to see how connected these points are across all areas in their business.

You have to solve all of these problems at the same time. If you solve them all in the right way, you can drive efficiency, revenue and new products, all at the same time. If you do it right, you can even solve these problems with the same investment. Spend once and get all of the benefits if you think it through and plan appropriately with the right digital transformation strategy.

Realizing the crucial difference between legacy digital transformation and other kinds of transformation helps us raise our customer’s consciousness. We reveal what their systems can do for their organization. What begins as requests for upgrades or unlocking from vendor relationships can quickly become a conversation that reveals explosive potential.

Businesses who engage in legacy systems digital transformation, when they engage in it the right way, realize improvements in all areas, from revenue, to efficiency, to adaptability. The same conversation about your business-critical legacy systems can help realize full potential in technology, process, and culture change.

 

Meet our team to see how we can transform the systems that matter most to your business.

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