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Digital Demands a Continuous Modernization Strategy

by in Application Modernization

On December 2 2020, Micro Focus and the Standish Group announced the release of NEW research that supports a revolutionary approach to IT project delivery.  Backed by over 50,000 IT projects and over twenty-five years of experience, the Standish Group unveiled its Infinite FLOW methodology and continuous modernization strategy during a joint webinar a little while back.  Ed Airey, a senior marketing strategist at Micro Focus, provides highlights from that event including why this new approach to transformation delivers greater returns for IT and business.

The Research

December’s new research report builds on a rapidly expanding narrative supporting a modernization approach through re-use strategy.  For over 25 years, the Standish Group has analyzed and measured what makes an IT project succeed or fail.  Their well renowned CHAOS Report has consistently detailed these findings for the past quarter century.  After measuring over 130,000 global IT projects (where the data for over 50,000 projects referenced within that CHAOIS Report), the results are in – a continuous modernization approach is the preferred path to IT project delivery.  Here are just a few highlights from that research:

  • IT projects yield a 71% chance of success and 1% chance of failure for teams choosing to modernize an existing applications rather than replacing them. Those attempting to start from scratch faced a 26% chance of success and a 20% chance of failure.
  • Only 27% of organizations choosing a rip or replacement strategy saw a high return on their project.  41% reported a low or very low ROI.  By comparison, a continuous modernization strategy delivered twice the value on average compared to alternative approaches.
  • 55% of organizations that chose modernization were satisfied with their project results. 45% of those attempting to rip or replace existing applications were disappointed with the results.

Standish research demonstrated that an incremental approach to IT delivery carries numerous benefits to the organization including faster return of value, greater customer satisfaction and low cost and risk of business change. By leveraging a continuous modernization methodology (smaller, more frequent deliveries), IT can achieve much better outcomes for the business.



The Report

In the summary report, Continuous Modernization: Boundless Business Value, Standish outlines how a Flow-like modernization strategy can transform IT delivery and business success.  This approach to IT transformation applies to nearly every organization – regardless of whether your IT landscape includes mainframe or COBOL applications or whether your delivery teams are utilizing the latest in IT practices such as Agile or DevOps.  Continuous Modernization is a mindset, a plan and a mechanism or organizing, understanding and executing on that digital transformation vision.  Key ingredients to continuous modernization success include the involvement of a business sponsor, low project overhead, flexible IT skillsets and the right culture to support this change.

History and very recent studies have shown that IT projects delivered in a Big Bang style do not work.  In fact, there is significantly greater probability of failure and lower customer satisfaction.  In many ways, these traditional, command and control IT project delivery methods do not account for rapid customer feedback, changing requirements or the pace at which business now operates.  In order for IT to compete and remain relevant in this new age of digital business, it must leverage smarter transformation techniques.  Continuous modernization is the answer.  

Why it Matters Now

Change is the new constant and the pace is only increasing.  2020 has introduced new business challenges including an amplified pressure to accelerate digital transformation projects within the business.  These change projects are not only necessities, but also imperatives for business survival.  According to research, over 70% of transformation initiatives initially fail due to the lack of a sound IT delivery plan.  Understanding ‘how’ to transform is much more challenging for organizations as compared to ‘what’ they must change.

Building that digital transformation roadmap can begin today using a proven Modernization Maturity Model and framework backed by over 1,000 successful customer engagements.  Tailor the plan to your objectives, timelines, skills and technology preference. As this Standish research shows, the business expects an agile IT delivery model that is ready for today’s challenges.  Build that digital transformation plan by leveraging a continuous modernization methodology

This latest research is quite remarkable, but its’ not the first time, industry researchers have called out ‘modernization’ as the preferred path to digital transformation. Earlier studies have shown that over 70% prefer modernization to re-write or replacement alternatives.  In fact, over 92% of those surveyed in this specific research, saw tremendous value in that modernization through re-use’ approach taken by business and IT. Managing complex, mission critical systems, whether in COBOL or on the mainframe, is not easy and requires a balanced and blended approach to transformation—and a continuous modernizations a strategy.

Learn More

To learn more and catch up on all of last month’s conversation, watch the Endless Modernization webinar replay.








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