Spring cleaning: Clearing the path to faster digital transformation
April 16, 2021
By Larry Faragalli, courtesy of Brightly
Your home isn’t the only thing that requires a deep-cleaning at regular intervals, the technical side of your organization demands just as much attention to detail. We’ve outlined three key items below that can help accelerate a successful digital transformation; each of these should be at the top of your spring cleaning checklist.
Reduce technical debt
Before attempting to repair your technical debt, let’s talk about why you have it in the first place. The problem occurs when companies opt for quick-fixes (often zooming in on a single issue) instead of choosing holistic solutions. Think of it as repairing a cracked windshield with duct tape instead of replacing the windshield entirely. As it goes with most things in life, choosing the quick fix now is like kicking the can down the road (it will almost always result in bigger problems later).
Agile methods can help reduce technical debt by allowing you (and your users) to test-drive your software or proposed solutions at various stages. Investing the time and effort into creating strategic roadmaps before development begins can also limit technical debt, or ensure the debt you’re taking on is good and necessary. If you’re not sure how to start getting back in the black with your technical debt, consult with a dedicated team that tackles such issues daily.
Improve legacy systems
Completely eliminating legacy systems may not be realistic, as they may be the very thing keeping your business running, but it is possible to bring things up to speed. This is an absolute must, considering legacy systems are often incompatible with new technologies such as hybrid cloud and mobile environments. When left alone, legacy systems become a major roadblock to successful digital transformation.
When it comes to updating or replacing legacy systems, there’s no hard and fast solution because, as Gartner puts it, the best approach depends on the problem you’re trying to solve. The best course of action is to evaluate your current systems, get real about what needs to change, and decide the best path forward for your business.
Eliminate tribal knowledge
Organizations that have relied on legacy technology often also find that a number of their employees embody a single point of failure. These are likely people who have been with the company long enough to still be operating on outdated processes and clinging to knowledge that has never been recorded. Tribal knowledge is dangerous, because the moment those employees are no longer with you, neither is the crucial information you need in order to keep things running smoothly.
Begin eliminating tribal knowledge by creating simple processes for documentation, and use software that allows you to easily capture everything. Identify those individuals who hold the keys to this information and have them work directly with newer employees so that tribal knowledge becomes accessible (and, again, document it!).
Whether or not your digital transformation plans are on track, it’s crucial to regularly monitor your internal processes and systems. With a little patience and a lot of planning, you can chart a path of success for your digital transformation journey.