Starting Your Modernization Program: Assessment of Critical Applications as a Primary Step

Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions, Inc.

As part of an overall migration program, Enterprise Iron has successfully shared with clients that certain mission-critical applications need to be handled with top priority care as they are modernized. Typically, there is a shortage of requisite Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in place to perform the modernization, which can stifle even the best of plans, as Business and Technology Stakeholders are unlikely to disassemble and recast their applications. The surrounding, less critical applications are often categorized as modernization targets, but the ROI for such endeavors often fails to meet an organization’s standard for investment.

Recently, a client came to us with a question on how to best start their much-needed, fully-funded modernization effort as they were hamstrung. Their critical business applications were running in production on a high-priced mainframe and updated regularly with new legal and compliance functionality, but there were few in-house application SMEs. Even worse, the only resources who could read the legacy COBOL code were busy performing updates. No one had bothered over the 30+ years that the applications were running to document processes from either a macro or micro level. The data stores were old-school indexed files (“VSAM”) and were never mapped properly. As is the trend, the maintenance budget was being slashed at the same time machine costs were on a steep, upward trend. An answer on how to spend the modernization dollars was due to the Technology Board in short order. What to do?

Mark Kalafsky
SVP, Solutions & Delivery

Enterprise Iron has invested heavily in modernization since the dawn of the decade. One of our strengths has always been to provide effective Technology Roadmaps to clients. We “modernized” our own Business/Technology Assessment process to include application modernization as a primary area of expertise. We invested in and implemented automation tools, along with building up a cadre of business and technology SMEs to meet the challenges our clients and industries require.

Our distressed client was thrilled with the results we delivered via a fixed-price assessment. A 15-week engagement was agreed upon and our team broke down the time into the following phases:

Agree Upon Assessment Goals: At the on-site Project Kickoff, we collected on hand (although minimal) Business/Technology documentation that was available. Together, the teams defined enhanced assessment requirements including ranking, rating application criticality, and identifying any time constraints and data dependencies.

Initial Assessment: Performed initial analysis of the source to determine the completeness of the code base. Provided our initial feedback including early warning around any exceptional areas of discovery concerns. Begin assessment feedback loop.

Deep Dive: Accelerated the assessment and performed tool-driven analysis (augmented by our SMEs) to meet the criteria of the enhancements requested by the client. Provided a continuous feedback loop to ensure that findings matched the necessary production business processes and suggest/gain consensus on enhancements during migration. Performed a POC to demonstrate migration capabilities with the modernization tools that the client had previously selected.

Provide Iterative Results Through Customer Approved Completion: Continuously drove the analysis through project completion ensuring all critical business functions were documented, a roadmap to platform conversion could be determined, and a high-level cost model provided. Results were presented to the Technology Board and updated to be integrated into the client’s budget and work plan process.

We delivered an actionable plan to the client which could now be used as a model throughout other areas of their business. Our team has continued working within the organization to provide other modernization assessments and work with the Technology Delivery teams to implement the strategy outlined in the roadmap. The Assessment Roadmap is not a panacea; however, it is the first step to incorporating the goal many of our customers crave – critical applications recast utilizing modern languages, running on a cost-effective platform or in the Cloud.

If this project sounds similar to your current modernization needs, or you have any questions about Enterprise Iron’s solutions, email today to speak with our team!