Legacy systems are a thorn in the side of IT departments. This may be due to an increased vulnerability to malware attacks or the fact that often, three-quarters of a typical IT department’s budget is spent maintaining those old systems.
A successful modernization effort requires that many people work together to ensure that project objectives are fulfilled. This includes the client, senior leaders, the project manager, subject-matter experts and technical staff.
The client represents the obvious starting point of any project because they determine the budget, time frame and resources available to the modernization team. The client must hold the modernization team accountable to both time and budget constraints, usually by creating a review team and insisting on a fixed cost for the effort expended.
The role of senior leaders is often overlooked, but represents a critical piece of a successful modernization effort. Though not necessarily technical experts, senior leaders – such as the chief financial officer, CEO or business manager – are integral to holding the modernization team accountable and serve as authorities in providing resources and making the final call on a project’s direction.
Bridging the gap between the decision-makers and the modernization team is the project manager. As with the senior leaders, the project manager’s technical expertise is of secondary concern because their true value is the ability to guide the modernization process through each phase and keep the effort on schedule.
Subject-matter experts and technical staff round out the team. The technical staff works in close collaboration with experts to ensure that the modernization team understands the processes performed by the legacy application.
With the right team, the process of documenting legacy code, extracting and optimizing business rules, and transitioning to a new platform are easily surmountable challenges.
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