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  • Writer's pictureJohn Price

The Dilemma of Technology Modernization

In researching the topic of technology modernization there are some great articles and some that are just buzzword salad. This article is not about "future-proofing resilient process design and agile workflows with human-centric, innovative artificial intelligence using re-imagined, cutting-edge technology as a force multiplier for speed and adaptation of strategic goals"... sheesh!

Modernization means change, and it is fueled by the acceleration of technological innovation. Change is indeed the one constant in life and technology. The latest software and technical systems promise to improve your systems and workflows, making everything better, yet the reality is that operational and technical issues existed before the modernization initiative and (surprise!) will exist after modernization.

Before issues

  • Legacy and outdated technology that impedes performance and productivity

  • Increasing infrastructure vulnerabilities, privacy, and data security issues

  • Duplication of applications used for the same process or purpose for different teams across the company, which increases IT maintenance and support 

  • Lack of interoperability and integration, creating complex data flows and process bottlenecks

  • User dissatisfaction with status-quo and the long wait for improvements to trickle down

After issues

  • Managing investment in time, money, and resources; navigating budget issues

  • Aligning IT and business strategy: An example is the wave of mergers and acquisitions creating major issues assimilating disparate software applications and systems into a cohesive, go-forward strategy and architecture

  • Finding professionals with talents and skills to support the new technology initiative

  • Managing and communicating cultural change are keys to a modernization initiative. Poor communication across the organization, resistance to change, and lack of support resources are all issues that can stall progress

Finding a balance

Yes, modernization means change, and, as a quick search will show, we can discover all its benefits and challenges. Although change is inevitable, we all want to be able to control it our own way, yet we cannot fully direct change. I see two overarching areas for organizational success with modernization initiatives. The first is understanding not just the technology but what the new processes and workflows will look like, and how it will impact and change the way things work now.

That leads into the second, often discounted, area of your organizational culture. Everyone has a stake in the success of the modernization initiative, and giving them a voice in planning and execution – skin in the game – will help ensure the desired outcomes. The fundamental requirements across the organization are involvement, communication, training, and celebrating success.

The dilemma for technology modernization is in finding the right balance between modernization and culture... what is your best fit? Of course, how to do it and the implementation are also quandaries. Let’s look at that in upcoming posts.


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