All too often businesses look at the costs and risks involved in modernizing applications and hastily conclude ‘if it isn’t broken, let’s not fix it’. This increases technical debt which sooner or later will need to be repaid. Unfortunately many IBM i modernization projects start only after there has been a serious business impact caused by the failure or inflexibility of a legacy application. Here are some common fears about IBM i modernization:
||Many IBM i applications have been in production for years. They tend to be very stable. Pulling the plug on this and replacing it with something new could mean business interruptions.
|Reliability, availability & performance
||The IBM i platform is highly reliable and highly scalable. Applications which need peak performance such as for telecoms and logistics have been fine tuned for performance years ago. Pulling the plug on this could mean reliability, availability and performance suffer.
|Organizational and cultural impact
||Modernizing legacy applications can be perceived by some as a threat to their careers.
||‘Sticker-shock’ is sometimes a barrier when a ‘big-bang’ (replace all) approach is being costed.
|Existence of useful artefacts
||Knowledge of some IBM i applications resides within an employee’s head and not within formal documents.
|Fear of the modernization merry-go-round
||The minute you modernize an application, it’s already outdated.
The IBM i mostly runs mission critical applications. Many users refer to these as the applications which actually run the business. In a way IBM i applications are a victim of their own success, they were developed mostly in an innovative and efficient way (in their day) and they have had unprecedented longevity, running well for decades.