Modern technological developments follow each other quickly and force companies to look increasingly critically at their IT landscape. The motto “to stand still is to go backwards” is more applicable than ever, and modernizing the software, frameworks and infrastructure (briefly summarized as the ‘tech stack’) is therefore not a luxury but a pure necessity to remain competitive and relevant as a company.
In his role, Dion Drost, Low-code Account Manager at LINKIT, deals with companies that struggle to modernize their tech stack daily. “The will to innovate is often there, but it is held back by fear, financial considerations or ignorance,” he says. “Yet you get a return on the investment for a modern tech stack. Suppose you do not participate in the modernization. In that case, your organization’s ‘technical debt’ will continue to increase, and its vulnerability will increase. After all those years of ‘slapping’, the’ interest’ you pay is extremely high.”
To prevent this, we share a step-by-step plan to help organizations renew their IT environment in this article. We show you step by step what questions you should ask yourself as a company, what knowledge is required and what technologies help. This way, technology does not catch up with you, and you remain progressive as a company.
According to Dion, it all starts with a well-formulated digital vision. “Make a map of where you want to go as a company, what the customer needs are and what problems need to be solved. Also, look at the current application landscape and technological possibilities.”
One way to determine the right direction is LINKITSYSTEM’s 4D approach. “This method consists of four pillars (Dream, Design, Develop and Drive, ed.) and is aimed at a smooth collaboration between IT, management and the business,” Dion explains. “IT must quickly answer future business questions through new technologies. But they must also dare to ignite the fire in the business to adopt new techniques, such as low-code.”
The second step is to evaluate the current tech stack. Dion: “Amazingly, there are many practical examples of organizations with no idea of the number of applications in their environment. A jungle of apps that arose because IT merely executed what the business asked, without asking critical questions.”
He continues: “Look at the technological possibilities and limitations of the current stack so that you know exactly what is needed for a new tech stack. Which applications will become future-proof after a ‘refresher’? Which ones need to be replaced, developed or purchased? It is also possible that applications disappear completely from the landscape because they become redundant due to the application of new solutions.”
A roadmap is created once the IT environment has been mapped and the digital vision has been formulated. What business lines are there? What types of activities are included? What technologies exist to support this? These are all questions that are part of the roadmap development.
The sequence of the modernization process can be determined based on the answers to these questions. “Some business units are more critical than others, making a correct sequence essential. Moreover, smaller steps can be prioritized well in advance, keeping the entire process clear.”
POCs are created to determine the practical feasibility of the technologies desired per business unit. Dion gives a practical example: “A LINKIT customer wants to renew her entire ERP system. However, the current system contains a lot of customization they need help finding in a new ERP package. That is why we support them with small ‘Proof of Concepts’, with which we determine whether a new technology (in their case low- and no-code) can solve this.”
By working Agile according to the DevOps method, IT and the business are merged, and risks during the transformation are minimized, says Dion. “By testing the tools and processes in defined environments (POCs, ed.), everyone involved can verify the concepts and desired technologies more quickly. This way, as an organization, you gain insight into the applicability of the desired functions before the final version is developed.”
After carrying out the POCs, the final choice is made for specific applications, and further development follows. It makes it easier to gather insights and implement necessary changes to ensure the quality and performance of the products.
“The chosen product is finally developed based on all requirements and feedback from step 4,” says Dion. “Extensive testing and various validation steps in step 5 then ensure that the product is reliable, scalable and functional.”
The organization and involved partners create an implementation plan when the final development is completed. It determines, among other things, the time frame an inventory is made of the business components ‘to be affected’ during the implementation and which data needs to be migrated.
Dion: “Previously, a deployment was done in the ‘waterfall way’, and everything was implemented simultaneously, with all the consequences. Nowadays, we work in sprints, and thanks to monitoring and feedback techniques, any problems can be resolved on time.”
Test automation is therefore anchored in LINKIT’s working method, he says. “By setting up a high-quality DevOps team, extensive development, testing, validation, and implementation occurs. This way, as an organization, you are assured of a well-functioning infrastructure that you then manage yourself (or through your partner).”
To correctly manage the new tech stack functionally and technically, a company would do well to set up a super or key user organization, says Dion. “Small, functional questions can be answered quickly without approaching your partner. However, a company such as LINKIT is recommended if it concerns technical matters. It means that companies do not have to train people and can continue to focus on their core business, without fear of risks or system failure.”
Development does not stop after implementation. It is essential to listen to user feedback and continuously improve the products based on changing needs and technological possibilities.
“Technologies are developing quickly, and new functionalities are constantly being released. As a company, it is good to be aware of this. Still, there is also a specific role for the external partner,” Dion explains. “Partners like LINKIT know the market inside and out and know the latest functionalities. By closely involving us in the modernization process and management of the tech stack, you ensure yourself of the latest technologies (such as OutSystems and Mendix, ed.), and you increase the company’s competitive position. You can continue to look ahead.”
Could you also benefit from such a transformation? At LINKITSYSTEMS we would be happy to guide you! Contact one of our experts for more information.