It only takes so long for an IT manager to realize that his or her organization’s traditional systems and applications need a facelift. Systems designed in the ’90s, for example, probably can no longer adequately support the onslaught of mobile apps or the rapid proliferation of cloud services that are commonplace in today’s enterprise environment. After acknowledging the need for more modern, optimally performing systems, the question for IT decision makers becomes: Is legacy modernization a practical next step?


If it is, IT must then answer a few pertinent lead-up questions. If you’re unsure about legacy modernization, what it entails or how to get started, allow us to help with this quick FAQ lineup.


Q: When is the best time to start a legacy modernization project?


A: That depends entirely on the state of your organization, which is something only you know. What we can tell you is that some organizations are built for complexity while others are not. If you are concerned that the complexity of legacy modernization may exceed your company’s technical abilities, now may not be the time to dive in headfirst. Primarily, before starting the project, you’ll want to ensure your existing systems are buildable and, to a certain degree, flexible.


Q: What is the best first step to take?


A: Have you assessed your team’s skill sets (who is best to spearhead the project?), identified which technologies are buildable (as mentioned above), and identified which goals you want to achieve by modernizing your legacy technology? If not, answering these questions would be a good first step to take. If you know all of this, then you should begin assessing whether a strategic third-party vendor is the right fit for you or whether you have the in-house talent to go it alone. You should be 100 percent confident in your team’s qualifications before taking the latter approach.


Q: What will my budget look like?


A: Again, this is a question that only you can answer. What we do know, though, is that 43 percent of IT executives expect their 2015 budgets to increase. Their top areas of spending—wireless/mobile, security technologies and cloud computing—all require modernized systems to see success. A large-scale, long-term modernization project can easily cost millions; however, this is certainly not the case for the average organization, which tends to take an incremental approach. Remember: Budget isn’t everything, and a third-party vendor can work with you to find a plan that meets your financial restrictions.


Q: What are common mistakes to avoid when modernizing?


A: Avoid short-term strategizing, failing to make a strong initial pitch for your modernization project and, last but not least, attempting to carry out your project alone if you know your team is under-qualified. We divulge much more about this topic in a recent blog post—click here to read it.

At some point—after experiencing operational inefficiency and affected productivity—legacy modernization becomes a crucial checkpoint along the journey toward business continuity. If we failed to address any of your questions in this FAQ, we encourage you to click here to continue the conversation with any one of AAJ’s seasoned experts.