4 Keys to Ensuring Your IT Modernization Efforts Start Strong
The US government has a long and somewhat spotty record with IT modernization – but that could be about to change. Recently, one of its top offenders, the IRS, released a five-year plan that included, among other provisions, a proposal to begin sun-setting a critical application said to be “the oldest IT system in government.” The application in question is the IRS’s Individual Master File (IMF), a tool tasked with receiving taxpayer data and issuing refunds. That’s a lot to put on the IMF’s almost six-decades-old technical architecture. It remains to be seen whether the agency will actually receive the funding needed to carry out this blueprint. However, one thing seems clear; the IRS has plenty of company among those looking to upgrade their IT in the coming months.
In its IT Industry Outlook 2018, CompTIA predicted the global IT industry to grow at a rate of 5% in 2018. This is based, in part, on IDC’s forecast that global IT spend will top 4.8 trillion this year. Further supporting this growth projection is CompTIA’s IT Industry Business Confidence Index, which hit an all-time high during Q4 of 2018 and, despite a dip; it hovered close to that mark into Q1 of this year. Those figures show the appetite for IT modernization is there.
Without proper planning, however, it’s easy for that enthusiasm to go off the rails quickly. Then, instead of reaping the benefits of IT modernization, businesses could be forced to contend with ballooning expenses, elongating project timelines, unrealized goals – or all of the above.
Keeping modernization efforts on the right track
Are you one of the companies looking to join the IRS in potentially launching an IT modernization effort this year? Here are four tips to help you get off on the right foot:
- Start with the “why” in mind. We’ve talked about this concept before on this blog, but starting with the reason behind a proposed upgrade is essential. IT can keep the focus on the “why” by crafting a narrative that demonstrates both a clear problem and the way in which a solution addresses it. This is the only way to win the support of folks whose eyes glaze over during presentations overrun with bits, bytes, and other jargon.
- Conduct a full readiness assessment. Even the most heralded IT solutions can only live up to that reputation if their surrounding solutions allow them. IT must test to ensure the static pieces of their IT environment will play nicely with whatever latest and greatest solution is coming in. Otherwise, it could set off an unplanned-for chain of improvements and corrections – as well as expenses.
- Involve stakeholders early on. Replacing one solution with another can certainly have an unexpected impact on the other tools in an IT environment. However, changes can also affect the end users who rely on those technologies. Time should be spent with these stakeholders on nitty-gritty tasks like scheduling minimally-intrusive downtime as well as on higher level, “How your job will be different/easier moving forward” conversations.
- Split IT modernization efforts into phases. Maybe it’s because approvals for upgrades can be rare. Or, maybe it’s an attempt to treat modernization like removing a Band-Aid. Either way, the temptation is there to try to go big. Good intentions aside, this can lead to projects getting out of hand. Instead, during planning, IT should divide their efforts into manageable phases, allowing the team to maintain greater control.
Next Steps: Don’t pursue IT modernization alone
Another piece of good advice? Engage a partner with experience overseeing IT modernization projects, a team that knows the common pitfalls and how to avoid them. Arraya Solutions can be that partner. Our team has decades of experience overseeing these efforts for organizations of all shapes and sizes. Leaning on that expertise can keep projects on time and on budget.
Want to learn more about how Arraya’s team can help you modernize your IT environment? Visit: https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/. As always, feel free to leave us a comment on this or any of our blogs through social media. Arraya can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Once you’ve let us know what you think, follow us in order to stay updated on our industry insights and learning opportunities.