June 24, 2022

Do You Have The Right Business Case For Platform Modernization?

The digital revolution is here. It’s been here for years, as companies everywhere discover the merit of modernizing and tackling their business challenges with technological innovation. Yet, even after the pandemic, some enterprises—even entire industries, remain resistant to change. If your organization can benefit from upgrading your legacy platforms, how do you get leadership on board? In this article, you’ll learn how to make a business case for platform modernization and demonstrate why bringing your legacy platforms to current standards should be a no-brainer.

Why modernize your platforms?

Before preparing your argument for business platform modernization, the first step is to explain what it is and what’s in it for leadership and the company at large. If they don’t understand the gaps in your legacy system or the opportunity presented by platform modernization, they won’t see the value.

At 3Pillar Global, we define platform modernization as the process of updating legacy platforms to improve your company’s agility and ability to scale. Technology updates include platform, user experience, and other front-end features.

Once leadership understands the “what,” they must understand the “why” of modernizing your business platforms. The most significant reason most C-suite leaders jump on board is a better ability to react to market needs.

With greater flexibility comes a greater ability to pivot based on what your customers want. By modernizing your applications, you’ll be able to excel at change and minimize your time to value while solving for the needs of your customers.

In addition to creating a more agile organization that’s able to adapt quickly to meet changing market conditions and customer needs, platform modernization leads to a myriad of other benefits, including:

  • Ability to find and act on new market opportunities
  • Improved scalability for long-term growth or the ability to flex for specific projects that necessitate time-bound expansions before returning to normal levels
  • Improved customer experience and brand loyalty, which creates a competitive advantage.

Getting management on board with application modernization

Usually, when leadership begins to see how modernizing legacy business applications leads to the benefits above, deciding to take action is a foregone conclusion. However, actually achieving those benefits means that leadership must throw the full weight of their support behind your company’s platform modernization endeavor—it’s more involved than a simple tech upgrade.

The resulting organizational changes mean that they need to be on board with a larger scale optimization and the long-term, big picture benefits. In addition to upgrading technology, your team will need to adopt a mindset focused on solving for need which can represent a significant shift for many industries.

Identify who needs to support platform modernization in your business

In addition to getting leadership on board with your business case for platform modernization, you’ll need them to understand that their commitment to modernization in your business goes beyond agreeing to it.

In addition to buying into the benefits of modernization, they must commit to supporting your team during implementation every step of the way, including:

  • evaluating processes
  • helping them adopt a growth mindset
  • undergoing new training and answering questions
  • understanding how and why their roles may be changing

Because you’ll need support from the top down, you want to clarify who should be part of change management in your business at every level, from the Board of Directors and C-Suite management to individual teams. The next step is making sure that everyone on your implementation team understands the true impacts of modernizing business platforms. In addition to improved client experiences, many businesses also experience positive changes to company culture.

Understand the cost of doing nothing

Because change can be challenging at all levels, you may face resistance to modernizing your business platforms, mindset, and operations.

With this in mind, it’s critical to impress upon leadership that continuing on the current path and not modernizing legacy technology comes with substantial drawbacks, including:

  • Inability to innovate or react to market-changing needs
  • Inability to solve for customer challenges
  • Lack of competitive advantage in the marketplace
  • Decreased security as updates and patches may take more time to deploy
  • Offline workarounds when your platforms don’t integrate well

Even if your legacy systems and platforms haven’t led to problems in the past, the longer you go without updating, the higher the chances your company will face these challenges down the road. The cost of failing to act now may be higher than your company can support in the long term.

Is platform modernization right for your business?

Now that you know how to make a business case for platform modernization, it’s time to decide if your company can take advantage of the benefits associated with modernizing your platform. And how do you know if it’s right for you? While there’s no one-size-fits-all series of questions to ask, here are a few key factors to consider:

  1. The digital products you modernize should be big enough (read: sufficiently mission-critical) to make an impact. Is your product right-sized?
  2. You must be able to set a reasonable and attainable schedule to minimize time to value. Can you show results in a relatively quick time frame that’s a matter of weeks, not years? Will the platform modernization allow you to react quickly to changing customer needs?
  3. You must be able to define how you’ll measure success. Can you set key performance indicators (KPIs) that show the impact?
  4. Your leadership must be on board. Do you have sufficient commitment to begin planning?

Your platform modernization isn’t “all or nothing”

Some businesses look at platform modernization and get overwhelmed by the process. However, you don’t have to update every single platform or process all at once. 3Pillar Global can help you evaluate your goals and prioritize what you want to focus on to help you determine which parts you want to modernize first. By focusing on business outcomes, we help determine priorities.

Additionally, not all parts of your platform require modernization. It’s absolutely possible and likely that the increased features and functionality your business gains with platform modernization will allow you to retire some outdated processes and technology. 3Pillar Global can help you make these determinations.

How to start your business platform implementation:

The best place to start undertaking platform modernization is by creating a plan:

  • Assess your company and prioritize your goals.
  • Determine the best platform modernization approach for your business.
  • Identify your implementation team.
  • Create a roadmap and a timeline.
  • Implement, test, and launch your modernization effort.

Modernization is valuable for most businesses today. And while change isn’t always easy, choosing the right partner can ensure your application modernization successfully follows a roadmap to create lasting change in your business and for your clients. Ready to see how 3Pillar Global can help? Contact us today.

Special thanks to these members of FORCE, 3Pillar’s expert network, for their contributions to this article.

FORCE is 3Pillar Global’s Thought Leadership Team comprised of technologists and industry experts offering their knowledge on important trends and topics in digital product development.