IT Modernization: End Your Toxic Relationship With Legacy Software Now


IT modernization must directly tie into and support an organization’s digital transformation agenda. This article by David Jones, VP of marketing, AODocs, discusses how modernizing the IT stack “future-proofs” the organization as needs, requirements, and technologies change and evolve. 

It may seem counterintuitive, but tumultuous times (such as a pandemic), by their very nature, spark innovation. When you consider that COVID-19 has radically changed how we do business, work, communicate and engage with customers, it’s no surprise that organizations across the globe are taking advantage of this disruption to assess IT systems, processes, and operations. 

Digital transformation is akin to a complete business overhaul, from top to bottom, and an important element in the process is modernizing IT systems and infrastructure. IT modernization must directly tie into and support an organization’s digital transformation agenda, and this may include migrating away from legacy systems and software that IT teams are no longer able to support because of downsizing or because they are too complex to maintain in the current modus operandi, which includes an emphasis on flexible work-from-home (WFH) policies.

Modernizing the IT stack “future-proofs” the organization as needs, requirements, and technologies change and evolve. In hindsight, the companies that had already started on the road to IT modernization pre-pandemic are probably better positioned to adapt to the needs of a remote workforce, less IT staff, and the efforts to reduce costs overall. 

The first step to IT modernization has to begin with the systems that store business-critical content and data. Once this foundation has been laid, the latter stages of the journey become achievable. If this step is skipped, cracks in the foundation are laid bare, and it’s possible the entire digital transformationOpens a new window initiative could come to a screeching halt.  

Learn More: Why RPA Is (Finally) Unlocking Long-Promised Digital TransformationOpens a new window

Moving To the Cloud Is Now a Necessity

Organizations have slowly been moving most of their applications, communication systems, document management, and other systems to the cloud for years – COVID-19 has just accelerated this process and in a big way. The growth of Google’s cloud business is one indicator of the massive move to the cloud. In late July,  Alphabet announcedOpens a new window that Google Cloud generated over $3 billion in revenue in the past quarter, a 43% increase from the $2.1 billion it posted over the same quarter in 2019. In the earnings call, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said G Suite Products, in particular Google Meet, has been critical to the growth of Google Cloud.

Modern information management platforms can work in harmony with existing legacy systems, at least until it’s time for these systems’ permanent retirement. Using a hybrid approach provides a low-risk approach to modernization that allows organizations to migrate content and data from old systems at a pace and manner that best fits their needs – versus the often painful “rip-and-replace” alternative.  

The cloud is one of the keys to the future of business. Organizations that are firmly rooted in the past, relying solely on decades-old legacy enterprise software, will lose their edge, struggling to keep pace and at risk of falling behind their competitors. According to an AIIM International survey conducted in late 2019, more than 40% of SharePoint users were still using SharePoint 2010, which Microsoft will “sunset” in October of this year. This is an ideal example of organizations that are tied to tradition, and this loyalty will diminish their ability to compete in now and into the future. These companies are also missing out on increased business agility, flexibility, and intelligence – all requirements for successful digital transformation.

Learn More: What Does Digital Transformation Mean for Your Business? Just Ask IT.

IT Modernization Best Practices


Cloud-native applications speed the rate of transformation. There is no doubt that the cloud will be the de facto standard in computing, communications, and more, for the foreseeable future. This is the perfect time for organizations to assess the IT stack and begin the move. 

Consider the following measures when making your IT modernization “to do” list:

  1. Make sure you adopt a forward-looking mindset. 

Thanks to lengthy maintenance contracts, it’s easy to get trapped into an endless “relationship” with legacy software. It really takes a shift in mindset to achieve more strategic digital transformation goals, as well as IT modernization. Once companies shift from a “wires and boxes” approach to focus more on processes and goals, the options become clearer. Prioritize the clear assessment of the current IT stack, look for gaps in performance, and apply technology and automation where it makes the most sense and provides the biggest impact to process performance.

2. It’s 2020 – a mobile workforce is essential.

Even before COVID-19, working remotely was increasing in importance. Over 95% of Americans currently own a smartphone, which is essentially pocket-sized computers. This helps to make a mobile workforce a priority in 2020, but this effort can be derailed by reliance on enterprise systems that were developed long before smartphones were ubiquitous. Given today’s current business climate, when nearly everyone (who can) is working remotely, the mobile workforce is now standard operating procedure. 

Uncertainty can be uncomfortable, but it can also be a time of reflection and opportunity. Enabling remote working due to the pandemic is the number one priority right now, but amid the rush to deliver this new mode of operation, organizations, and IT executives need to pause for a second. They need to take stock of their business and evaluate whether its current technologies and software meet the needs of employees and align to company goals, not just in the short term, but also for the long haul. By doing that, smart, strategic organizations can turn this uncertainty into opportunity, and use modernization as a way to forge a path to future success.

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