Modernization is the process of converting or transforming your legacy into a modern infrastructure that can keep pace with your mid and long term business goals. And by legacy, I mean your current system or any set of processes that allows your business to keep rolling on a daily basis.

It’s an opportunity to strengthen your business for the future, but it’s also an opportunity to bring your overall business strategy into focus and work on key items such as:

  • “How do I want my current customers to see me?”
  • “How do I want the competition to see me?”
  • “How do I want potential customers to see me?”
  • And last but not least, “How do I want my own employees to perceive me?”

Sadly, many businesses don’t think this way.

Here’s a closer look at how you can align software modernization with your overall business strategy to meet your business goals.

Align your best practices

A best practice is the process of finding and using ideas and strategies from outside your company in order to strengthen your company internally. Best practices are often used as a benchmarking tool across an entire industry.
It’s also an ideal way to benchmark your legacy modernization.

To do this, take a look at where your system is now — and where you want it to be in 1 year, in 3 years, in 10 years. Best practices will offer guidance on what your system needs to become. Always keeping in mind what is important for your business, modernizations are a good moment in time to re-evaluate many different topics, not just the set of features, but also maintenance, support, integrations, user experience, compliance and security among others.

Align with business opportunities

You can also align modernization with your strategy by aligning it with key business opportunities.
Two of the key strategies for developing new business opportunities are to focus on your core product and mapping your capabilities relative to your client’s needs. This guideline can be directly applied to your legacy modernization framework since legacy modernization gives you an opportunity to bring yourself in line with customer needs and strengthen your value proposition, business model, and why not, find new opportunities for your business.

Has anybody said blue ocean opportunities? :O

Align with customer needs

It all adds up to one key business goal: aligning with your customers’ needs, which is the real value proposition of any business.

If your business is growing enough to demand legacy modernization, then you already have a product or a service that customers want. The key is to continue offering it in the best possible way. This is where legacy modernization can help you, but it will be more effective if you modernize with an eye toward strengthening your product and services to answer your customers’ uncovered pain points.

Do you know your customers well? Yes? That’s great!. Now, think about what they need or would like to get out of your product or service that you are not currently providing. Got it? Great! Keep it at the forefront of your mind turn. You can turn this into an opportunity to build towards not just your projected growth and revenue, but also towards increasing your value as a company.

At the end of the day, you always have to answer the same set of questions: Why should I keep using your product and not the competition? What’s in it for me? What makes it better for me than the competition?

If you have built loyalty and the current users’ adoption does not concern you, well, maybe it is a good time to start looking for new customer segments: Who are they? Why would they be good customers? What do they want? What system do they use and How will your product cover their needs?

Then drive your modernization push with that in mind.

Your internal team is also important

So far we have talked about many external factors such as users, competition, new customer segments, potential changes in the business model, and your value proposition. But it is really important to not forget about the engine, the heart of your company. Your employees.

Modernizations, as positive as it sounds, can bring many doubts to the table that weren’t there before. In the worst cases, it can be perceived as a threat. Trust me, I have seen this many times.

Make sure you maintain open communication with your internal team while modernizing, that they understand the reason behind the modernization, what is the main goal, where is the ROI for the company, and why they shouldn’t be worried about the process. Answering 3 simple questions can save you some headaches: Why? What? How?

Here is a piece of advice based on our experience going through this process many times in different environments. Including them in definition meetings could be very beneficial for both parties. You will get useful insights from people who are performing the task you want to improve 8 hours a day and at the same time, you will make them feel part of the process.

I have been very positive so far but here is when the universe balances out. There will always be some employees who won’t embrace change, and that is totally expected. Try to help them as much as you can during the process. As I mentioned above, it’s important to maintain open communication and to provide them with tools to transit the process. But at the end of the day, you can not bring everybody aboard and it is part of the game no matter what, when or how well you modernize.

The elephant in the room: your data migration strategy

One last piece of advice here, even though data migrations shouldn’t define or condition your modernization process, is something that should be at the top of your mind. What do we need to migrate? Why do we need to migrate it? When is the right time to do it?.

Try to keep it as simple as possible and remember that many times, the legacy and the new system will run in parallel for several months. Be smart with your migration strategy in terms of what you really need to migrate, why you need it, and how the new system will make use of that legacy data.