With new, cutting-edge, efficient technologies emerging every day, the gap between the modern and the outdated continues to grow. In this climate, it’s absolutely essential that companies modernize their IT if they are to look to the future and achieve long-term success.
That said, changing practices and moving away from legacy systems isn’t always easy, and many companies struggle with figuring out how to do so efficiently, effectively, and profitably.
Here’s where to start and why.
Why Modernize: The Current Landscape
Most companies run on legacy systems in at least some form. And at the current rate of progress, even systems that were considered to be the latest and greatest 5 years ago just won’t continue to cut it today.
That’s why most businesses are pivoting and making strategical, forward-looking changes that allow them to scale, improve their flexibility, and obtain long-term opportunity for growth. This includes things like a move to cloud-based infrastructure, a focus on analytics, and an overall shift to a data-driven approach - all of which require IT modernization.
Here are some interesting statistics:
50% of financial institutions worldwide listed enhancing data analytics capabilities as a top strategic priority for 2017.
The number of data sources actively analyzed by businesses is expected to grow by 83% between 2015 and 2020.
70% of enterprises consider data center and application modernization a top priority for their business.
Only 5% of business leaders are “extremely confident” that internal teams have the right skills and experience to support data-driven initiatives.
The main takeaway here is that everyone wants to modernize and possess things like strong data-driven analytics, efficient operations, and an excellent infrastructure. But not everyone is confident that their business is on the right track.
An important way to get on track? Modernize your IT.
How to Modernize Your IT: The Basics
Modernize With a Purpose
Modernizing is not easy - it requires, at least to some extent, a transformation of your tech and operations, along with specialized training and new way of running certain aspects of your business. On top of that, CIOs and IT decision makers are expected to develop and implement these changes while simultaneously completing their everyday tasks.
That is why it’s important to modernize with a purpose, or to modernize only as a part of a larger organizational plan. Strategically speaking, this is necessary if you want to get funding and get your C-suite on board: you have to show how the modernization fits with your larger business strategies and how it will help your company be more profitable. Logistically speaking, you will save yourself a lot of time, hassle, and money by focusing and figuring out what targeted changes will have the largest measurable impact.
So lay out your strategy ahead of time and define your key metrics so that you can accurately record and measure the effectiveness of your changes as they’re implemented.
Make Ultra-Targeted Improvements
Changing everything all at once will not only confuse your staff, but also be difficult to maintain. Make focused changes and mature them over time to allow everyone to get used to the new systems as they grow. This helps ensure that your employees are on board and that they have a firm understanding of the new technology and structure that are at play - which, in turn, will improve things like long-term efficiency, employee satisfaction, and long-term ROI.
Not sure where to start with these small changes? A fail-safe option is mobile optimization, or deployment of new, relevant mobile applications. People are constantly accessing information on mobile, both internally and externally - and they should be able to do so without poor UX, slow load times, and other issues. IT Business Edge notes that, “For IT leaders, this not only requires them to take a closer look at the security aspects of their IT infrastructure, but because these mobile devices will rapidly generate more data, they need their data center infrastructure to be more elastic and scalable to support these new requirements.”
That means that the shift will likely require an overhaul of rigid legacy hardware - and perhaps a move to a more scalable cloud-based environment - in order to support the flexibility and speed that are required for mobile app environments.
Train Your Team
It’s likely that your team’s skill sets are somewhat antiquated, and that they will require specialized training in order to understand new tech and develop their skills in new areas. For many companies, this is just another reason to put off modernization and resist new solutions: it’s costly, it’s time consuming, and it could delay the short-term effectiveness of your team. Additionally, it usually requires that team members work on two systems at once during the transition, which could not only increase confusion but also lead to more resistance to change.
However, the long-term benefits are considerable. Properly trained, on board employees can not only effectively use and manage the new systems, but also have increased morale and perceived value within the company. So lay out the vision to your staff and allow them to learn, grow, and improve.
A huge issue is that many companies have manual operation processes that leave room for error, hinder growth, and decrease efficiency. It’s important to look where these problems are most glaring and automate accordingly, replacing manual steps with scheduled automations and self-service enablement.
This can not only increase internal bandwidth but also provide an important level of consistency and standardization, reducing delays and human error across the board.
In the big picture, IT modernization is all about streamlining your business functions and giving your company the flexibility to scale and pivot effectively as your business changes. Following these small tips will help you maintain control of your modernization to ensure that you can do exactly that, today.