July 16 2019

Every day you spend waiting to update your IT systems is another day you face the consequences of having an outdated IT system, and they’re notable. You lack the flexibility needed to deliver speedy results. You start losing your edge in the competitive marketplace. You risk losing functionality you depend on as your products update to versions your company isn’t ready to support. 

On top of all that, your company deals with silos that keep departments from being able to work together and see the big picture of how your customers interact with the company. That last point alone comes with a sizeable price tag. Departmental silos cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually.

Clearly, the costs of not making the move to leveraging modern systems are too high. With the right preparation, an IT modernization initiative will not only enable better tech integration, but it will also help you improve departmental collaboration across the organization. 

 

How to Prepare Your Organization for the Change

A project as big as IT systems modernization requires a well-thought-out approach. By taking a few key steps in the lead up to the project, you increase the chances of a successful implementation. 

 

1. Identify everyone affected

While a project of this size generally starts with the C-suite, it’s imperative that you involve everyone in the organization that will be affected by the change. Think through who all is in that category. There’s a good chance that includes database administrators, system administrators, security teams, network administrators, infrastructure teams, and the application teams for every app that runs on the current infrastructure. 

You want everyone on the list to be alerted to the upcoming project so they have a chance to weigh in with any concerns they have, and time to prepare for the change. 

 

2. Create a realistic project plan

While optimism is often a virtue, when you’re preparing for an IT modernization update, too much optimism can hurt you. Talk with the technical people at your company, any consultants you bring in, and the representatives of the vendor you’ll be working with to get a realistic picture of the timeline and issues you’re likely to encounter.

If your plan is too ambitious and your team feels rushed, you risk dealing with sloppy errors. Let the knowledge of those experienced in this kind of project guide you in creating a plan based on reasonable goals. 

 

3. Prepare a backup plan

Creating a thoughtful plan for execution will help you avoid many of the possible pitfalls of a complex project, but you can never plan for everything. There’s always the chance that something will go wrong once you make the update, and there’s too much at risk for you to not to be ready for that eventuality.

In addition to your primary plan for implementation, think through what steps you’ll take if something goes wrong. Make sure your team knows how to switch back to the old system quickly if needed, while you work through what needs to be fixed with the new one. 

 

4. Practice open communication throughout the process

One of the biggest mistakes companies make during a large modernization project is failing to communicate openly. The last thing you want is for employees that depend on the IT system to learn suddenly, after the fact, that their job processes must undergo a complete transformation they weren’t prepared for.

Consider all the different systems that touch the IT architecture you’re updating—not just the obvious ones. Make sure you notify everyone that will be affected and keep them in the loop throughout the project so there are no unhappy surprises. Meet up with representatives from the departments involved at least once a week and use collaboration tools like Slack to keep the lines of communication open.   

 

5. Test before you launch 

Before you implement a new system, go through the process of testing it out so you have the chance to see how it works and spot potential issues before it goes live. Don’t just use automated performance testing, also do regression tests that give end-users the chance to try out the new system and see how key features work.

You may not catch every possible issue your team should know about with testing, but you’re much more likely to notice serious problems that need to be fixed before the launch date. This will help you eliminate downtime during the transition, both for your customers and for employees.

 

Achieve Internal Collaboration and Technology Integration

A system modernization change is a big deal, and it’s not something you want to get wrong. Finding someone with the right knowledge to guide you through the process can be the difference between a smooth transition that achieves your internal collaboration goals, or a messy transition that causes more problems than it solves. 

AVIO has extensive experience helping businesses execute IT modernization plans that enable them to meet their primary business goals. We’ve lead companies through the process of moving to a cloud-based IT architecture that enables more flexibility, breaks down data silos, and empowers collaboration by bringing everyone into one system. 

If you’re putting off a desperately needed IT modernization update due to fears that it will disrupt your business, let’s talk. We can help start you down the path of the change you need while alleviating those fears. 

About the Author

Aaron Dolan

Aaron has more than twenty years of experience in all phases of design, development, and implementation of software applications.  He has developed and architected SOA/BPM technologies for more than twelve of those years from Fuego BPM to BEA AquaLogic BPM to Oracle SOA/BPM 11g / 12c.

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