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2022 Outlook by Laura Ubelhor: Modernization

Community » Blog » 2022 Outlook by Laura Ubelhor: Modernization
Continuation of “2022 Outlook” by Laura Ubelhor as published in Eye on the i, December 2021.


Modernization is not the same thing to everyone. In my mind modernization is a necessity to insure you can bring your system including hardware and software up to date with current technology to continue to support an organization’s IT needs well into the future. I am often amazed how many organizations have not made much change over the years and have run the same applications and used the same technology for many years and are now facing the reality that the organizations systems are out of date. Retirement of resource that have been in place many years, chugging along, providing day to day and project support, and using the same old technology that is within their comfort zone and neglecting staying in tune with new technology and solutions often is at the root of considering modernization. There definitely is not a one size fits all. So often someone nears retirement and leaves at the hand of an IT director or manager the obstacle of figuring out what to do once the ever so reliable resource that supported systems so well for many years is out the door and what do we do to sustain IT for an organization well into the future. What exciting times we live in with so many exciting changes being embraced in the world of technology but on the other hand it certainly makes things more complicated and confusing. IT should always have a plan which includes a future plan. Often that sometimes viewed as “ugly” word budget has a significant impact. Each one, organization and industry, is unique. So many considerations with so many choices and options where does one start. There are many modernization offerings but those that end up with great solutions and security well into the future start with an assessment of what is already in place and available into the future. Understanding what you have and what is the objective of the effort is very important. For example, do you have a bunch of COBOL in place that your organization depends on for day-to-day operations? If so, modernization is a necessity. COBOL developers do not grow on trees in fact they are outright hard to find as well as are COBOL education options. Are your COBOL developers retiring? If so, modernization is a must. But what should the answer be? I have seen companies move to other platforms and sometimes it works out great and there are other instances they end up going from something robust that fits the business needs to finding work arounds like downloading data to excel and a lot of manual effort. Many companies offer modernization solutions but do be warned often the solutions are built around a tool or product or service a company promotes and sells. Modernization does not mean that you need to get rid of RPG necessarily, but it may mean that instead of RPG IV you convert to ILE or Free format. IBM continues to enhance RPG and it has evolved into a modern language. Not to say you cannot find a fit you can. A great solution can be found. It is often a tough lesson in keeping current. The budget saved by not making changes throughout the years will now require monies to be spent on a large project. No one has the magic wand to make the modernization issue go away. It is a major project and requires a lot of attention. There are the exceptions those that have kept current and had the foresight to plan for change and transition. For anyone that has modernization needs do know there are great solutions start sooner than later. Transition is possible and with great outcomes. 2022 will be a big year for modernization. The possibilities are available and be assured doable. Keep in mind you are not the only one that has faced this challenge and opportunity and do not lose sight of having a great understanding of the specifics and the objective always makes a project better.