Those organisations that have invested in digital transformation, experience tangible benefits that put them in stronger market positions and hand them stable bottom lines. According to Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, modernisation is key to long-lasting digital transformation that is geared towards improving business, process, and growth, but it also must be implemented with the right toolkits and approaches.
“Modernisation may be one of the most important factors for the business to consider when it comes to preparing for a digital future, but it must be backed by process to ensure that it delivers on its potential,” he says. “With any new system that comes into the organisation, there must be validation and verification to ensure that it meets the needs of the organisation. The same goes for the modernisation of legacy systems – they too have to be tested to ensure that any changes fit the business and its overarching strategy.”
Sitting at the heart of any successful modernisation project is one simple step – testing. This provides the business with the proof it needs to determine whether or not a process has been done correctly and that the business rules that existed within the legacy system have been catered for in the new platform or with the new technology. There will always be specific processes and elements that must be moved with the technology, that have to travel into the upgrade and testing will ensure that this is done correctly. It will also, fortunately, catch those processes that impact on productivity and hamper the business and prevent them from being carried over into the new systems.
“The modernisation of infrastructure is not a closed process, it’s open-ended and iterative, allowing for the organisation to streamline its processes and improve performance,” adds Mbonambi. “In addition to removing unwanted processes and ensuring that systems are smoothed over for more efficient business practice, modernisation helps the organisation uncover new ways of engaging with customers.”
Fully automated migration uses technology to convert legacy code and data into modern platforms so that organisations can undertake modernisation initiatives that are more closely aligned with modern business objectives. This is the digital part of the transformation equation and should include the holistic implementation of digital change across people, processes and technology. It also adds that one overused, but definitely much needed, word to the business vocabulary – innovation.
“There are three top modernisation principles that should dictate how the organisation approaches digital transformation,” says Mbonambi. “These are customer first, simplified architecture and agile design. Each of these principles is immensely important in ensuring that the organisation is capable of leveraging digital for sustainable and relevant business growth.”
In spite of what the hype may say, modernisation is not fancy, state-of-the-art, bleeding edge technology. It can be, but best practice is to aim for infrastructure that is capable of meeting customer needs and demands, and that is flexible enough to adapt to changing markets and situations. Modernisation as an inclusive element of digital transformation is about improving the customer or employee experience, improving productivity, and delivering competitive value. The second principle – simplified architecture – focuses on how digital transformation can help the business bypass the complex and rigid systems that typify legacy architecture. Modernised and modular platforms are far more scalable and elegant, allowing for simpler integration and management throughout the organisation.
“The standardisation of software code, the integration of standards, and the streamlining of infrastructure have allowed for systems to become far more elegant in their design and development,” says Mbonambi. “APIs allow for companies to develop interoperable components that fit together and act seamlessly and really do transform how organisations approach design, development and operations.”
Finally, modern organisations have to constantly adapt within changing environments which puts pressure on them to continuously evolve their products and practices. With agile, digital infrastructure, organisations can overcome legacy rigidity and respond to change. This, in the wake of 2020s drama and disruption, has been proven a powerful ally as organisations have sought to pivot and adapt to remarkable circumstances.
“Testing can collaborate modernisation principles to help organisations build sustainable businesses by ensuring that all these key principles are properly tested and interrogated in line with strategic objectives,” concludes Mbonambi. “Testing will build artefacts addressing the processes and frameworks to validate and verify these principles according to the organisation’s needs. That way, any company can leap into digital and transform its future efficiently. After all, modernisation without process and strategy is just shiny technology without direction.”