Per Forrester’s CEO, a majority of organizations expect 47% of their total revenue from digital channels by 2020, but 51% of CIOs report that they are unable to respond to digital opportunities in a timely way to help organizations in a competitive and resource-challenged environment. To cater to the above challenge, CIOs are repeatedly trying to find the most efficient method that can not only fulfill business requirements but also simultaneously enhance agility, give liberty to innovate at maximum speed with optimum quality. To achieve this, there is a dire need for organizations to transform their applications, infrastructure and workplace from legacy to modernized ones. Due to interdependency among each component’s complexity, timing and integration of modernization efforts is of utmost importance.
This article throws light on how organizations can embrace different types of modernization initiatives and its QA strategy as a part of digital transformation to maximize efficiency in the ever-changing business environment.
Need for Modernization
Legacy environments are not able to deliver required levels of agility and reliability, which digital businesses of today need to be successful. It also brings additional risk and cost to the business. This makes legacy system modernization a stepping-stone for any business to be successful in the current wave of digital transformation.
The modernized IT environment needs its application, infrastructure and workplace to be modernized to support a digital environment. The typical modernization landscape is explained in Fig.1 where legacy or conventional IT refers to not only old systems but also non-supportive/strategic hardware & software.
Figure 1: Snapshot of a typical modernization journey
Key pillars of IT Modernization
It is apt to say that the business applications in the legacy environment were fit for use at the time of adoption but with the difference in business requirements in the digital world; their value has dropped significantly over time. We have witnessed many organizations shifting the same kind of business applications to cloud or new on-premise systems, which is similar to moving a same old vehicle into a new fancy garage where the internal components have not gone through any changes. Hence, the business value realized in this case will be very limited. To get a higher ROI, there is a need to modernize them with a cloud-first approach, where the applications can be easily assembled, are easy to update and maintain, and can be ready to be delivered in an as-a-service mode.
In conjunction with application modernization, the infrastructure modernization journey starts with analyzing its fitment for the current adoption scenario but it loses its value with increase in demand. For organizations that adopt cloud, infrastructure is quickly modernized and its business value grows as cloud infrastructure leads to drastic reduction in deployment times from weeks to hours. Cloud adoption interconnects the complete ecosystem with the business stakeholders or partners, which leads to the emergence of a seamless hybrid infrastructure supported by processes and teams that use DevOps methodology and further positioned as software as a service. As the infrastructure is further modernized, IT teams use infrastructure as a code, automated provisioning & self-healing techniques to strengthen their business value.
Per IDC, about 80% of IT organizations are set to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy by 2020 and 60% of enterprises are set to adopt DevOps methodology by 2020 per Forbes. In order to achieve optimal speed, scalability and reliability, there is a need for organizations to modernize legacy infrastructure into a more flexible, hybrid and automated environment.
In the digital world, there is an increasing demand of employees empowered with collaboration tools to work smarter. In the legacy or a conventional environment, an outdated platform or operating system limits the usage of modern applications and resists the modern working styles. At this stage, if an organization has introduced various methods of collaboration, the effect of it will be very limited with a very low business agility. Hence, modernizing legacy workplace is a stepping-stone toward a smart digital workplace.
As we modernize the workplace and business with complete integration of applications, a fully enabled workforce aligned with new-age digital devices, our workforce tends to gain seamless experience across platforms, applications and the self-service portals in place for most user requirements. This makes the workplace environment more dynamic and enterprises see more agility and reliability that in turn leads to increase in realization of business value.
Analysis of various QA approaches across different types of modernization
In the world of digital transformation, traditional enterprises struggle to live up to end- user expectations. In order to adopt rapid digital transformation, these enterprises are looking for robust end-to-end quality assurance (QA) techniques supported by automation. The below table indicates which QA techniques are best suited to all three types of modernization techniques. ‘Yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ represent the degree of applicability and effectiveness for a particular type of modernization, keeping in mind the overall business operations.
Table 1: QA approaches mapped to different types of modernization
The road ahead
Modernization is the key pillar in the world of digital transformation. The success of the modernization strategy depends on the effectiveness of execution. Without the right level of execution, commitment of leadership, the culture, and the overall ecosystem, success will be limited. Hence, it requires businesses to understand all the three layers of IT modernization and it needs enterprises to think deeper on how the journeys of each of the three stages can be planned and implemented. The right approach followed can offer significant cost optimization, optimize time to market & ensure seamless customer experience.
Consulting Partner, Wipro
Bhushan is business consulting leader at Wipro with immense experience in the financial services and communication industry around software development and quality engineering. He drives digital consulting, solution architecture and service delivery for global customers.
Managing Consultant, Wipro
Rajesh has 17+ years of experience in driving quality engineering programs across domains. He primarily works as a consultant to help global clients navigate the journey from quality assurance to quality engineering. He also carries additional charter to drive assurance for modernization programs.
Ankur is instrumental in driving consulting engagements in software development and quality engineering. His current mandate is to drive modernization assurance engagements. He is an engineer from NIT - Jaipur and completed his MBA from IIM - Kozhikode.