The COVID-19 epidemic has pushed the trend of remote access for critical corporate systems, which has become a big stimulus for digital transformation. Organizations all over the world have been compelled to establish work-from-home arrangements for tens of thousands of employees, and they’ve had to figure out how to make critical business systems available to their newly distributed workforces at scale and securely.

Providing this level of access is a massive undertaking with a significant chance of failure. Increased demand within enterprises to demonstrate value rapidly is adding to the pandemic-fueled urgency, according to Micro Focus product marketing director Ed Airey. “I just don’t believe people have the patience they used to have when they would wait for much lengthier projects.”

Faced with these demands, many companies are deciding to modernize their core applications through incremental enhancements rather than rip-and-replace. As a result, according to a new Micro Focus survey, 63 percent of respondents want to update their COBOL systems in 2020.

The Standish Group’s study backs up their decision. “Endless Modernization: How Infinite Flow Keeps Software Fresh,” according to the paper, indicates that a continuous modernization strategy often outperforms project-based approaches. The Standish Group’s gradual improvement strategy is called Infinite Flow.

You don’t have months to demonstrate commercial value; instead, “you only have weeks,” according to Hans Mulder, one of the report’s authors.

“There is a limit to how many projects can be completed. It’s starting to look a lot like anti-projects. And, because fundamental systems are so important, businesses must have strategies to enhance them on a daily basis.” – Hans Mulder

Overall, it is widely agreed that ongoing modernization reduces risk, increases value, and improves success rates. It’s quickly becoming a vital component of digital transformation. The following are the report’s primary takeaways.

Continuous modernization suits core applications

Modernizing mission-critical application software is frequently approached as a single large project with a start and finish date. However, the scope of these initiatives frequently becomes unmanageable, leading to their cancellation or abandonment. Due to the fast pace of today’s business, even after a project is done, the requirements may have changed by the time it is delivered.

According to report co-author Jim Johnson, evidence reveals that Flow-like micro-projects should succeed 80 percent to 90 percent of the time. Micro-projects also make it easier for end-users to adjust to and provide feedback on changes because they deliver new features and functions in small increments.

According to the study, every day delivery techniques inspired by Infinite Flow can boost customer satisfaction by up to 80%.

This approach of modernization is also promoting digital transformation, according to the Micro Focus survey. It found that 70 percent of businesses favor modernization over replacing or retiring major COBOL programs for executing strategic change because it “continues to offer a low-risk and effective means of transforming IT to meet digital business ambitions.”

Continuous modernization is particularly popular among government, educational, and financial institutions, where technological complexity, regulatory constraints, and an ingrained culture make major, one-time projects particularly difficult. These companies are disrupting the status quo in project management and delivery by looking at how they might adapt their fundamental business processes to offer remote access.

“People searching for speedier ways to bring value back to the business is what we’ve observed among our customers. They’re looking for ways to reduce the cost and risk, because every project, every IT initiative, is being scrutinized right now for obvious reasons: budget, personnel, and time.” – Ed Airey

Getting into the Flow

Teams are the foundation of Infinite Flow modernization, and the goal is to attach a Flow team to a certain app or embed one in a specific department, according to Johnson. The purpose of these teams is to form relationships with the app’s users, learn from their experiences, and figure out how to improve and keep the app relevant over time.

According to Standish Group’s Mulder, this is the strategy the city of Amsterdam followed when it was obliged to relocate 30,000 employees to remote work at the start of pandemic lockdowns last year. It distributed its 180 IT employees across its 30 or so government departments, giving each one its own Flow team, which was led by executives who acted as sponsors for each micro-project.

With the strategic vision of the Amsterdam government, which is intended so that any citizen can obtain any information they need from the city without requiring a lot of labor, the sponsor can “plugin and get the work that they need to run their department,” according to Standish Group’s Johnson.

According to Johnson, any employee can complete the work that is required. Except for those who sweep the streets and repair traffic lights, the majority of workers who work for the city these days are remote.

While a large-scale makeover like this may appear to be prohibitively expensive, Johnson claims that Flow-style modernization actually lowers costs while increasing output. He claims that getting beyond sacred cows and inertia within an organization is the greater challenge.

The organization has a strategy, but someone is working on tactically implementing that strategy every day.

“When we talk about Flow, we’re talking about a culture shift that focuses more on encouraging organizations to think strategically while acting tactically,” says the author. – Jim Johnson

Welcome transformation

Organizations must accept change at this point. Mulder believes it comes down to how much complexity an organization can handle at one time. “If you had a 540 million project, you won’t be able to grasp this—too it’s big,” he remarked. “You must be able to answer the question, “What can we accomplish on a daily basis?” Because that’s the only thing you have control over.”

It’s evident that businesses still consider their core apps to be critical to their operations, and retiring or replacing them is unimaginable. Flow-like modernization is proven to be a quick and flexible solution to adapt them for remote access and keep them relevant as IT environments change.

For more info:

Also Read: