Use Continuous Modernization to Build Digital Platforms From Legacy Applications

Stefan Van Der Zijden, Thomas James Klinect | Gartner, 2018

“Legacy application portfolios are often viewed as a problem and subjected to large-scale rip and replace efforts. Application leaders should instead manage their portfolio as an asset, removing impediments and executing continuous business-driven modernization to provide optimum value.”

                                                                                                                                                         - Gartner

Key Challenges

  • In many application modernization cases, the risk, cost, time and impact of "rip-and-replace" programs outweigh any potential benefits. Even if such a program is justified, organizations are often unwilling or unable to commit to one.
  • Many of the data and functions that digital business initiatives require still reside in legacy applications (aka legacy systems).
  • Application leaders are challenged to provide timely and continuous support for Mode 2 digital business initiatives, but legacy applications and their ecosystems are not ready to support such a delivery cadence.

Key Recommendations

Application leaders responsible for a strategy to build a digital business platform should:

  • Exploit and extend the value of your legacy applications by removing obstacles, rather than viewing and treating those applications as a problem.
  • Use continuous modernization as an alternative when a rip-and-replace program would be too costly, risky or time-consuming.
  • Prioritize continuous modernization efforts by focusing on the friction points: business capabilities with poor application support.
  • Transform your legacy application into a platform by identifying, prioritizing and removing obstacles for digital business one by one.
  • Establish a continuous modernization culture combined with product and platform teams to align backlog and cadence across teams.

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release-rel-2019-9-2-2657 | Wed Sep 18 04:10:00 PDT 2019
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