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Every Enterprise Needs a Modernization Strategy

Stay ahead of technical debt

An enterprise without a modernization strategy is an enterprise with a painful future of paying technical debt with the highest interest possible. This is especially true of custom-developed applications.

Software changes, period. So why not include a strategy for change in your enterprise. I have seen a lot of enterprises that pride themselves on being ready for requirement changes during their application development projects, but very few that ever consider a modernization strategy.

Modernization should be architected into your applications. History has continuously shown us that in our industry nothing stays new very long. I have seen some large projects that need to upgrade the version of the .NET Framework before they even get the first release to production, but they never even consider that an option, so they deploy a legacy application on their first release.

Most of the projects without a modernization plan lack architectural guidance as a whole. The projects that plan for modernization don't simply re-create the mess they were intended to replace. I have seen projects deliver two years worth of work, only to realize they just delivered themselves a legacy system that will require them to start over from the beginning.

Too many projects today pick their technology based on the skills of their available team. If their skills are not up to date, then neither will the software they build.

Modernization needs to be baked into your development process. Development processes don't end upon delivery; they continue until the application is retired. Any application in production should be updated as new versions of the software they are built with are released.

This is especially true with brownfield development, yet brownfield development projects are where I see modernization overlooked the most. This happens mainly because there is heavy development still going on in the environment, and all the resources are being dedicated to delivering the new functionality.

I see a lot of environments that could be increasing productivity and quality with new tools available in new releases of developer tools and frameworks.

There are a lot of things in software development that can come back to bite you, and not having a modernization strategy for your custom-built applications is one that is guaranteed too.

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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