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Why Legacy Modernization Projects Fail

The hunger of companies for legacy modernization outpaces the means to feed – such as when we use the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” What does a 24% project success rate mean? It means companies are doing something wrong when they try to execute technology projects! There is even a term, “black swan,” for projects that fail to such an extent that they consume the entire business. One in six projects are black swans. How does any enterprise stay afloat?

Scope Leak

Rather than depress you with a long line of sad statistics, let’s get to the heart of the problem behind legacy modernization. In an article for Fierce CIO, Deanne Wertin says it all boils down to the absence of available infrastructure, and you know, that makes a lot of sense considering that vendors, systems, and methodologies are always improving with little effect on project outcomes. Statistics point to a phenomenon called “scope leakage” (yuck) that causes projects to drain the life force of their host business.

The Road from Tradition

Wertin pins the blame on a lack of effective planning at the project’s onset. It’s hard to imagine embarking on a long project journey without having a master project schedule, or without understanding fundamental safeguards related to scope. But sure enough, organizations tend to get caught up in vendor solutions and big bang ideas:

Organizations often can’t do things the old way with a new system, but that doesn’t mean the new system escapes from doing what the old system did. Unlike operational business processes, which can be streamlined or modified, core business rules, such as those associated with program eligibility, benefits and payments are still foundational to the system’s functioning. It is important that these are accurately reflected in your new system.

A Solid Foundation

Getting the transition right requires laying a solid foundation – one that stresses proof of concept, effective risk management, reduced interface complexity, and database modernization. Most importantly, it’s imperative that your company not bite off more than it can chew.

Read the original article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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