Application modernization provides significant benefits by increasing business capabilities and reducing long-term costs. Implementing a modernization program presents challenges that were similar to the Y2K initiatives… how to implement modernization improvements to production systems that currently run the business without disrupting existing support or the business?
1. Prioritize the modernization initiatives. Changes that provide the greatest value for the least cost and disruption should be implemented first.
2. Recognize that support teams have the knowledge about existing systems required to facilitate modernization efforts and they must participate with the experts in the new technologies to manage risks and facilitate the analysis effort. The plan must provide a way to make these resources available without disrupting support.
3. Much of the support provided by support teams is in response to recurring problems or to change hard-coded logic/tables in response to changing business rules. Eliminating recurring problems and making business logic configurable by the users is an excellent place to start because it reduces future support requirements and makes the support staff available to help with modernization.
4. Systems and parallel testing is critical to ensure the modernized functions have not altered the business rules or expected results. A formal repeatable test plan with test criteria should be created and executed to ensure the modernization effort does not introduce errors.
5. Many capabilities of legacy applications are obsolete or redundant. An assessment should be conducted with the business to find out what is really being used. Chances are that 30-50% of functions or reports are unused or redundant. These capabilities should be retired and not modernized.