Thursday, April 5, 2012

Updating and modernizing an application can make sense, if...

In a recent request for technical help on a LinkedIn group in which an individual asked about modernizing and updating a very old software technology not used or supported today, many people had helpful suggestions on how to accomplish the task in question. 

A couple of people actually asked why?  Most users of this technology platform upgraded or replaced their software years ago to stay competitive.  A new world market demands updating technology, not for technology's sake, but to remain competitive and responsive to their customers.

I submitted the following response:

Updating and modernizing an application can make sense, if the business needs are somewhat unique.  Custom software is just that, custom, tailored to exactly how your business operates.

The challenge as many people have noted, even when using some tools or creating your own tools to update the old software, is that it takes a lot of time to modernize your applications and to do the job right.  A budgeted plan will provide for a smooth transition.  Making your files native database files as a first priority will allow you to take advantage of the database system integrated in the Iseries platform that you are using.

In our experience, this will still take a while with programming, testing, and implementation.  This same amount of time and energy may yield a higher return on investment with a new system that has been tested and has vendor support.  Many companies are surprised when they find that the energy, maintenance and operational savings with new hardware alone will pay for a new system. 

A Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis should be done with a trusted advisor to see if a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is right for your company.  While no one is looking to add unnecessary expenses, this actually is a very good investment of time and money.  The advisor may even come back and say to continue and you will know you are heading in the right direction.

I do not know the nature of you business and what resources you may need or what your competition is doing to attract your customers.  A modern application will have the communications, web and other productivity features ready.  Every business needs to drive efficiency to remain competitive.  Few businesses are truly unique.  Someone, some place, has a solution.  Invest your time and energy in a new system.  If absolutely necessary you can make modifications to tailor the solution to your operations.

Some owners think their staff sit around and do not do anything.  The computers run themselves.  I just see my people sitting around and eating donuts.  So why not have them work on upgrading our aging system.  It works now, they just have to tweak it a little bit.  The employees who are already overworked are afraid to tell the boss what they really think, because they need their jobs.  It ends up that a lot of time, energy and effort is wasted.  If they are lucky the company ends up with updated, but out-of-date software.

Bottom line.  Invest in a trusted advisor to make sure you are on the right track.

Dolvin Consulting is honored to help organizations improve their operations.  We are trusted advisors to our clients.  We have a mutual interest in you doing well.  We care, contact us today to see how we can help. 

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