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Modernization in the digital era: IT at an inflection point

To compete against digital disrupters, existing IT must be brought up to speed. Time for a fresh approach.

IT at the Forefront of the Business

In the digital economy, IT can no longer remain behind the scenes. It belongs at the forefront of the business, providing digital touch-points for clients and customers and capable of processing dramatically increased transaction volumes.

Online and mobile commerce in every industry strains legacy IT systems with an increasing number of requests for product, pricing and other data. Greater volume requires greater computing resources.

Beyond performance challenges, established companies are at a competitive inflection point. New digital disrupters can build new IT landscapes, while companies with legacy systems must seek ways to integrate new, digital technologies harvesting legacy technology to maximize their IT investments.

In many cases, legacy IT is perfectly viable and simply requires digital enhancements. Striking the right balance takes an optimal mix of applications and a careful consideration of the latest modernization approaches.

Established companies are at a competitive inflection point. Digital disrupters can build new IT landscapes. Meanwhile, those with legacy IT systems must consider how best to integrate digital.

Legacy, Selectively Exposed

When companies think about how to bring their legacy systems into the digital era, their initial assumption is they will have to “rip and replace.”

Sometimes this method may make sense, but more often bringing IT systems into digital-ready mode is an iterative process—one that doesn’t involve a start-from-scratch approach.

Though there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the key is creating flexibility to add new digital layers which supplement business functionality and support growth.

Workload Shifting, Data Acceleration

By allowing services to be consumed on a pay-per-consumption basis, business leaders can increase their revenue base through non-traditional clients.

Tried and true methods include shifting workloads off core legacy systems to environments such as the cloud or data acceleration layers that support requisite elasticity.

Companies also are looking to integrate analytics engines and other digital channels.

Migrating read-only transactions and data to modern ecosystems such as “data lakes” and resilient distributed datasets, help in acceleration of digital adoption.

Taking Action

It’s critical to evaluate which applications provide your business with key functionality and have the biggest impact on growth and strategy.

Companies need their older systems to step up their game at scale. And interact with new technologies and share data across applications. Selectively exposing legacy and adding new digital layers enables this flexibility. And, there are modernization approaches to fit each application’s needs. 

  1. An important first step is to understand your business requirements.

  2. Next, consult with your architecture staff or a systems integrator to determine how to approach modernization without disrupting the user experience.

  3. The final step is to develop a modernization plan, incorporating both business and IT objectives, to transform traditional applications.

By analyzing the modernization options, legacy IT systems can be transformed for the digital era.


Adam Burden

Adam Burden

Accenture Global Lead for Advanced Technology & Architecture

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