7 Ways to Strengthen the IT Core

7 Ways to Strengthen the IT Core

Ulrika Mann

Ulrika Mann,

Dealing with legacy systems is a classic struggle as an enterprise strives to become digital. The old applications and infrastructure are home to business-critical processes, while not exactly as agile and resilient as needed. What to do then? Learn the seven steps to core modernization. 

The IT core is represented by the critical applications and associated infrastructure without which the organization could not exist; payroll, ERP, logistics, HR and supply-chain management systems, for example. That’s why you can’t just switch them off.

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But old hardware, software and infrastructure can hold companies back in their quests to digitize more processes and provide consistent digital experiences. Any failure to apply regular maintenance and attention to the core can drag down operations and lead to performance bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities and inefficient processes and workflows. 

This is why core modernization is so important. Without a strong, resilient and agile backbone, small problems become bigger and you will be unable to capitalize on market opportunities or move as fast as competitors that have zero or little legacy. Modernization is really the basis for innovation, flexibility, new services, security, compliance and much more.

We've identified the following seven steps towards achieving successful core modernization:

  • Audit and consolidate. Establishing a baseline assessment by taking account of all current systems, workloads, applications and dependencies is an essential first step to avoid later surprises and to measure accurately your improvements for reporting and visibility purposes. Read about what we did for Cambridge Assessement.
  • Break down services into fragments. Micro-services, containers and virtual machines can help by putting your workloads to better use, providing you with superior utilization, simpler management and better value.
  • Automate. Testing and other rote processes can very often be automated or even ‘roboticized’ through robotic process automation (RPA). Learn more about how to succeed with automation.
  • Lean on process improvement. Mature approaches, such as waterfall methodology that rely on very structured and sequential steps with requirements frozen before moving on to the next stage, aren’t always a good fit for fast-moving environments. For those environments, approaches such as Agile, Scrum and DevOps have provided more flexible ways to evolve programs.
  • Switch pricing models. Changing your current model to utility-based subscriptions that work on a pay-as-you-go basis can make a huge difference to what you pay and how.
  • Think about people as well as processes. Legacy can be human as well as systemic. By reskilling and retraining your people, you develop their loyalty and gain value from their knowledge of the organization while freeing them up to do more valuable and creative work. To learn more, look into the report Culture Cure for Digital.
  • Manage better. Business value management, portfolio management and business-IT governance can be used to communicate IT’s value back to the business, turning arcane business and technology operations data into a language that’s liked by CEOs, CFOs and other executives.

However, digital transformation requires much more than simply upgrading legacy systems. It means reimagining the whole IT infrastructure. To learn more, please visit Cognizant's core modernization web