Like a car, your infrastructure and mission critical applications won’t run forever without some help. It may work for a long time, but eventually you need to change the oil, give it some new tires, or replace your starter. Technology is ever changing, growing, becoming faster, smarter, and more efficient. We all hope this is also true for our company or organization. In order to maintain continuous growth, it’s essential to modernize applications and infrastructure.
What are your goals for modernizing? It’s important to know why you’re modernizing and to know where you want to be when each project is complete. Defining these goals will help prioritize projects and help plan out how to complete them. There are a lot of different approaches to modernization depending on the desired outcome. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Focus on small pieces
Modernization projects aren’t always large, time consuming, and costly projects. Looking at the project as a whole could seem impossible, overwhelming, or too big to complete. Launching small releases or updates will show progress to users as well as management, and give time to complete larger parts of the project.
Keep it as simple as possible. When creating new software or applications there can be temptation to build the Taj Mahal. Going above and beyond can create more complexity, bugs, and inhibit modernization efforts. Remember, modernization is a journey – not a destination. You can add additional bells and whistles once a solid base is created and bugs are fixed.
Also, keep in mind the user. The applications you’re building are to support the business and the people using the applications. Get their feedback and use their thoughts and ideas to get the solid base created. There are lots of different ways to do this, but I recommend using a Wiki. This not only will help with feedback but also help in documentation.
Use modern tools
Why use old tools when you are trying to modernize? Modern tools can be a huge help in the modernization process. While you may be comfortable with the tools you have always used, there are new tools, such as RDI, which can help do things faster and better than before. The initial learning curve will be well worth it once you figure out how to use it!
Don’t Reinvent the wheel
You’re not alone in your journey of modernization. Do research on industry standards and find how it will work for you. In many cases, there’s already someone who has done what you’re doing. Get a second opinion, or call a consultant (like me) to see if they have any ideas you haven’t thought of. My advice is always free.
Don’t create a new application just as difficult to maintain as the one you are replacing. New applications should have a good modular design with separate functions. This is essential in order to design an application which is easy to maintain and build on in the future. Implementing one function per module will make your finished application easier to change, understand, and test.
Don’t ignore security
Security is a hot topic in the IT community and should be for any modernization project too. In today’s world, security comes at a premium and must be considered in modernization projects. Adding security features after an application is complete is more difficult than creating the application with security in mind. Therefore, it is important to make security part of the conversation in the planning process.
The last tip I will leave you with is, inaction is an option, but it’s not a good one. Use the above tips to modernize and keep your company moving forward. It’s essential to do so in order to remain competitive. There are many resources available to help you along the way, including myself and my team at Arbor Solutions. Give me a call or shoot me an email I would love to hear from you.
Business Solutions Consultant
Arbor Solutions Inc.