Identify the best approach to legacy system modernization
With changing customer behavior, enterprises have changed their norms and business applications. Now, retailers have to fulfill orders in a multichannel, multitouch eCommerce environment; consumer banks have to provide secure and user-friendly apps, and travel brands have reconfigured their approach to stay relevant in the face of disruptors.
All these changes require legacy system modernization.
What are legacy systems?
A legacy system may be different for each company, depending on their business. While many organizations prefer to leverage new software tools and run them on old systems, others update their applications one at a time. That said, few companies are still using both old software and old systems.
Legacy systems are considered old when the software fits the early 2000s, not 2020-21. However, not all legacy software or systems are defined solely according to their age.
What is legacy systems modernization?
Simply put, modernization means updating all or some of the IT stack to enhance your business processes and goals.
However, here are three definitions that will help you understand that legacy system modernization is more than just updating the system.
- Legacy software: The application(s) that your business depends on from the last year to the past decade or more.
- Legacy software modernization: Replacing and updating all inefficient systems, processes, and applications either partly or entirely.
- Re-platforming: Modernization begins with the platform on which your business applications are built. Moving your e-commerce platform from Shopify to Magento is an example of re-platforming.
There’s no denying that business leaders drive innovation at their companies. But they need the latest technologies to enable and support this innovation. They need fast applications, systems that support connectivity, and platforms that bring all these together. Most older IT companies fail to meet these modern needs. So, legacy system modernization is a must in such cases.
That said, digital transformation has pushed application leaders to find effective ways to modernize legacy systems.
Why do you need legacy system modernization?
Legacy system modernization is more than just updating the system. It is about bringing the entire organization to meet the digital environment.
Some of the reasons to consider legacy modernization are:
- It helps create and maintain a competitive advantage by building a solution that will help you stay ahead of competitors.
- Provides reliable processes with reduced risks, improves the system’s functioning, and improves performance.
- Ensures satisfied customers and happier employees by meeting UX and performance standards.
- It helps you scale in the future by transforming your IT stack into an agile platform for future change.
- Secures your IT infrastructure from internal security breaches and external threats
- From accounting software to CRMs, legacy systems introduce simpler integration with several new enterprise software used by various businesses.
- Addresses the financial inefficiencies of legacy system
- It helps realize growth opportunities, exceed customer expectations, and gain new customers by staying ahead of the enterprise software curve.
Have a look at some of the points in more detail.
Integrated, up-to-date, and user-friendly software and systems will save your company on downtime, transactions, and more. For instance, Javelin Strategy & Research observed that mobile and online banking transactions cost only $0.10 while offline processing cost around $4.25 for financial institutions.
Older software and systems can help you spend less on technology, but they end up incurring other overhead expenses.
Most organizations rely on third-party APIs to realize maximum enterprise value. For example, Zillow, a real-estate listing site, relies on the Google Maps API for full functionality.
Making sure your new software system is ready for integration will help meet the expectations of your customers, employees, and stakeholders.
Gartner recommends how to approach legacy modernization
Here is a three-step evaluation process provided by Gartner on how to approach the legacy system’s modernization.
Step 1: Use six drivers to evaluate your legacy systems
There are six main drivers for the modernization of your legacy system. These are the issues or concerns that the legacy application has created due to its architecture, functionality, or technology.
Three of these drivers are from a business perspective, such as business value, business fit, and agility. So, if your legacy system does not meet the new requirements, it will have to be modernized to fit properly and should be updated to provide more business value. Systems that are not agile enough to meet digital business demand are more likely to risk liability.
Step 2: Evaluate modernization
Once you identify the problem and select the opportunity, look at the modernization options. Here are seven options provided by Gartner. These options are ranked based on the ease of implementation- the easier it is, the less risk and impact it will have on the system and the business processes, the difficult, the more risk and impact it will have.
- Enhance and extend the application features by encapsulating its data and functions by making them available via an API.
- Be it cloud, virtual or physical, rehost the application component to other infrastructure without changing its code, functions, or features.
- Make minimal changes to the code but not the code structure, features, or functions to migrate to a new runtime platform.
- Restructure and optimize the existing code but not its external behavior to improve non-functional attributes and remove technical debt.
- Modify the code materially to shift it to new application architecture and exploit newer capabilities.
- Rebuild the application component from scratch while retaining its scope and specifications.
- Eliminate the former application and replace it while taking into account the new requirements and needs.
Step 3: Select a modernization approach that has the highest effect and value
The last step is to choose the modernization approach by mapping the seven modernization options concerning their effect on architecture, technology, functionality, costs, and risks.
It is important to weigh all the options to identify the extent to which they will all have the desired effect with less effort and maximum positive impact.
How can Fingent help update your legacy system?
Whether you are looking to re-architect your enterprise software or re-platform your entire system, or simply looking for new solutions that integrate with what you have going, we have you covered. We offer business process re-engineering and platform modernization services.
With expertise in various industries and a full-cycle in-house software development team specializing in legacy modernization, we can make your entire process efficient and personalized. Talk to our expert to know more about this.
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How to plan a successful COVID-exit strategy and get your business on track?
If the 2008-09 global recession was due to financial meltdown and economic vulnerabilities, the 2020 economic crisis stemmed from the global pandemic and subsequent health emergency. Both incidents hold lessons that business owners and leaders should follow to fast-track their organizations’ recovery in 2021.
Economic growth in 2021 is likely to improve compared to the growth rate in the second half of 2020. However, it will still be uneven. Additionally, the timing and growth will vary for different products and services and geographic markets.
Given the uncertain recovery of the economy, leaders and business owners need to plan a successful strategy to lead their teams and organizations over the year. The focus should be a forecast of their companies’ revenue potentially earned in every quarter of the year.
That said, the COVID-exit strategy is not straightforward. Leaders and business owners will have to make a few difficult choices.
- How much should my organization change, and how fast?
- How far should I go to change my current strategy and adopt faster and more agile approaches?
These are some of the questions that you’ll probably need to figure out. However, remember that if your organization does not move quickly, it will lose itself in the crowd.
One of the best ways to transform is to apply the “all-in” approach to transformation. It means to go ahead with full speed. Whether your organization’s transformation should be about portfolio moves or performance improvements misses the point. If you want to succeed, you must consider both and make your transformation go big. This approach will help your organization emerge stronger and sustain the competitive edge for a long time.
This article discusses how leaders can build a successful COVID-exit strategy and begin a holistic transformation.
Three fundamental steps that organizations can consider
If your organization is successfully managing portfolio and performance moves simultaneously in a transformation, you can invest in three foundational steps:
- Getting an honest view of the business’s full potential across both portfolio and performance moves.
- Understanding the impact of those moves.
- Creating a program with a proper structure and sequence to maximize value creation.
While understanding the full business potential, leaders must know the importance of setting a high aspiration. According to McKinsey & Company, companies that put their gross transformation targets at 75% of trailing earnings are more likely to create value sustainably.
Incrementalism may be risky for organizations trying to break out from the COVID-19 crisis. Management teams seek safety to confront the current situation and avoid the discomfort of going in for the big moves. In reality, leaders must use this time and opportunity to challenge assumptions and overcome social barriers that block bold moves.
Successful digital transformation requires leaders to answer these questions
- Which line(s) of business does my company no longer own naturally?
- Which trends accelerated by COVID-19 could transform my business?
- What are the new efficiencies and business models developed by my company to meet the COVID-19 necessities?
- How can my organization benefit from the advantages of those new efficiencies and business models in the next normal?
- How has my organization’s health changed, and what elements and capability building will be required to maximize the impact of the COVID-exit?
While you are trying to balance portfolio and performance moves, you will also need to consider the sequencing. Portfolio and performance initiatives must go hand-in-hand. You must consider each move by defining the magnitude, timing, and risk of impact.
According to McKinsey & Co., stand-alone portfolio moves capture less than half of value creation, especially in areas such as deal premiums, performance upside, or growing new business. However, if your strategy is ill-conceived, even stand-alone performance moves can take time and maybe outweighed by acquiring the wrong business lines.
Two cases of “all-in transformation”
While you must consider both portfolio moves and performance improvements, which of these should you execute first? The answer depends on the organization and context.
How and when you implement your transformation elements must be guided by your organization’s various circumstances and potential at any given time.
We’re listing two cases of “all-in transformation” here. Both the examples highlight the significance of sequenced transformation in unlocking business value. In both cases, the organizations identified the required potentials, set high aspirations, and deliberately sequenced the portfolio and performance moves to achieve the results. However, the companies differed in how they advanced from there.
In the first case, the value creation and its sequencing were as follows:
- The company streamlined its cost structure, focused on resource allocation, and carved out a few of its competing lines after consolidating business units and simplifying the executive team. This reorganization enabled about 10% of total transformation value creation.
- Next, the company improved the effectiveness of its sales force which generated high revenue growth. It also implemented automation and simplifications to reduce overheads and adopted a strategic procurement approach to reduce external expenditure. These operational improvements enabled about 75% of transformation value creation.
- Lastly, the company invested in optimizing firms it had acquired and integrated a similar set of core capabilities.
The second case, though an all-in transformation program, took a separate route.
- After a significant merger, the company re-evaluated its core business portfolio and divested non-core business. This approach enabled the organization to focus on financial flexibility by using the proceeds to buy back stock. Overall, this performance move allowed the company about 75% of value creation.
- By streamlining its operations, focusing on revenue growth and margin improvements, the company’s performance transformation enabled about 25% of value creation.
From these examples, leaders need to understand that they cannot choose between a portfolio-first or performance-first approach while planning their exit strategy. The order is not important, but leaders will have to accept that they are going all in, set high aspirations right from the start, and let the realization of full potential determine what happens. Avoiding an ad hoc approach to value creation may have significant implications over the long-term. Research reveals that organizations that go for the “all-in” transformation approach are more likely to show lasting improvements and are nearly three times more likely to be ahead of their competitors.
After a year of uncertainties, CEOs and business leaders are aware that the COVID-exit path will not be easy. However, if companies adopt an all-in transformation approach, they can expect more dynamism and flexibility during the journey.
At Fingent, we use cutting-edge digital solutions and rapid innovation to help businesses reinvent the future. We’re closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Feel free to get in touch with us to know how we can transform your business digitally.
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How AI and Voice Search Will Impact Your Business in 2020
“It is common now for people to say ‘I love you’ to their smart speakers,” says Professor Trevor Cox, Acoustic engineer, Salford University.
The Professor wasn’t exactly talking about the love affair between robots and humans, but his statement definitely draws attention to the growing importance of voice search technology in our lives. AI-driven voice computing technology has drastically changed the way we interact with our smart devices and it is bound to have a further impact as we move into 2020.
In this blog, we will consider six key predictions for AI-Driven voice computing in 2020.
How Essential Is AI-Driven Voice Search For Businesses?
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and is evolving day after day. It can support basic tasks at home, organize and manage work, and the clincher – it makes shopping so much easier. No doubt about it, AI-driven voice search and conversational AI are capturing the center stage.
Related Reading: Why you can and should give your app the ability to listen and speak
Voice-based shopping is expected to hit USD 40 billion in 2022. In other words, more and more consumers will be expecting to interact with brands on their own terms and would like to have fully personalized experiences. As the number of consumers opting for voice-based searches keeps increasing, businesses have no option than to go all-in with AI-driven voice search. With that in mind, let’s see where this is going to be leading businesses in 2020.
Six key predictions for AI-driven voice search and conversational AI in 2020
1. Voicing a human experience in conversational AI
Chatbots are excellent, but the only downside is that most of them lack human focus. They only provide information, which is great in itself, but not enough to provide the top-notch personalized experience that consumers are looking for. This calls for a paradigm shift in conversational design where the tone, emotion, and personality of humans are incorporated into bot technologies.
Statista reports that by 2020, 50% of all internet searches will be generated through voice search. Hence, developers are already working on a language that would be crisp, one that is typically used in the film industry. Such language could also be widely used on various channels such as websites and messaging platforms.
Related Reading: Capitalizing on AI Chatbots Will Redefine Your Business: Here’s How
A noteworthy accomplishment in voice recognition software enhancing personalization is the recent developments in Alexa’s voice profiling capabilities. Personalization capabilities already in place for consumers are now being made available to skill developers as part of the Alexa Skills Kit. This will allow developers to improve customers’ overall experience by using their created voice profiles.
Such personalization can be based on gender, language, age and other aspects of the user. Voice assistants are building the capacity to cater even to the emotional state of users. Some developers are aiming to create virtual entities that could act as companions or councilors.
3. Security will be addressed
Hyper personalization will require that businesses acquire large amounts of data related to each individual customer. According to a Richrelevance study, 80% of consumers demand AI transparency. They have valid reasons to be concerned about their security. This brings the onus on developers to make voice computing more secure, especially for voice payments.
4. Natural conversations
Both Google and Amazon assistants had a wake word to initiate a new command. But recently it was revealed that both companies are considering reducing the frequency of the wake word such as “Alexa.” This would eliminate the need to say the wake word again and again. It would ensure that their consumers enjoy more natural, smooth and streamlined conversations.
5. Compatibility and integration
There are several tasks a consumer can accomplish while using voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant. They can control lights, appliances, smart home devices, make calls, play games, get cooking tips, and more. What the consumer expects is the integration of their devices with the voice assistant. 2020 will see a greatly increased development of voice-enabled devices.
6. Voice push notifications
Push notification is the delivery of information to a computing device. These notifications can be read by the user even when the phone is locked. It is a unique way to increase user engagement. Now developers of Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant have integrated voice push notifications which allow its users to listen to their notifications if they prefer hearing over reading them.
What Does It Mean for Your Business In 2020?
AI-driven voice computing and conversational AI is going to change all aspects of where, when and how you engage and communicate with your consumers. By 2020, IDC estimates a double-digit growth in the smart home market. Wherever they are and whatever channel they are using, you will be required to hold seamless conversations with your customers across various channels.
“Early bird catches the worm.” Be the first in your industry to adopt and gain the benefits of voice search and conversational AI. Call us and find out how we can make this happen for you.
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Business Consulting & Technology Augmentation delivered by Fingent helps client evolve into a regional market leader, achieve quantifiable objectives and add multiple dimensions to their business repertoire
A Top Ranking Property Management Client
A leading property investment and management company, handling more than 8000 properties segmented under single family real estate wanted to implement technological transformations to their business to soar new heights. The client manages real estate portfolios of private equity funds, offering a vertical spectrum of services ranging from property acquisition all the way to lease or sale management.
Major Roadblocks in their Real-Estate Business
Back in the day, a typical brick and mortar operational model was effective for the client, if not sophisticated. However, overhead liabilities and persistent gaps of a manual process soon curtailed scalability, and automation was inevitable.
How a Wrong Decision Curtailed Their Business
A switch was made, and a leading off-the-shelf property management software was inducted into the environment. But as is the case with most implementations, migration was far from seamless. The software primarily catered to multi-family real estate requirements, and level of customization offered was too limited. The gap was however massive, even if customizations were to be made. In the simplest terms, when the rework was exceeding the value-added work that has been budgeted for, the client realized that the project is failing. This is what happened to our client when they attempted to introduce a ready-made property management solution for their processes.
When the software fails, it jeopardizes the company’s prospects. And if the failure is large enough, it can even steal the organization’s entire future. In fact, software failures can be traced to a combination of incorrect project management, technical, and business decisions.
For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong- H. L. Mencken
The client was forced to fall back on a plethora of excel sheets to manage million dollar transactions and persist with several manual processes. They were considering alternate vendors when detailed transparent analysis and ability to comprehend the business problem firmly tilted the decision in Fingent’s direction. Following multiple rounds of promising discussions, executives at the client side were excited to begin the core transformation project with Fingent.
Finding the Right Solution
With disparate cycles amalgamating into a vertically integrated solution, a phased approach had to be adopted. The challenge was to ensure business continuity while deploying solutions on a unified platform. Business processes were classified into three major cycles – Property Acquisition, Management, and Maintenance.
- Property Acquisition – Prospective properties get channelised through an application funnel for inspection and evaluation. The value range thus assigned to a property help bidders make decisions during auctions. Acquired properties get updated on the database, and transactional parameters and contracts are abided by in the system. An assigned property manager visits respective sites, to initiate renovation and development. Three distinct mobile applications were created – for Scouting, Bidding and for the Property Manager, which are tightly integrated into the property acquisition application.
- Property Management – Application enables lease ready properties to be listed. It syndicates with several listing sites and caters to the entire lead management cycle for sales associates. All contractual formalities for leasing are taken care of within the application. An accounting module caters to the rent collection process, with a section dedicated to handling exceptions including evictions. While a mobile application caters specifically to the functionalities of a leasing agent, another app helps tenants explore the properties themselves. The latter termed the self-showing app enables physical entry into a pre-booked property view session based on geographic coordinates.
- Property Maintenance – Comprehensive property maintenance application within the real estate spectrum, enabling tenants to raise support tickets for various issues. A mobile application allows tenants to connect directly with vendors that are pre-approved and listed.
By meticulously gathering and mapping requirements, an area of expertise for the Fingent team, the project met every major milestone on time and budget. Key highlights of the comprehensive property lifecycle management include:
- Cloud-based solution delivering features via the web and mobile platform, with the capability to scale at ease. An advanced property lifecycle solution that exhaustively covers all possible process flows in single family real estate
- Seamless integration with industry leading service providers for payment, credit verification, accounting, listings etc. Individual portals for the owner, tenant, and vendor.
- Efficient data sourcing enables tight department wise integration, helps to create proficient workflow and enables easy data migration from disparate data sources. To cite an example, all parameters can be imported while acquiring a portfolio, without manual intervention
- Facilitates transparency across functions and departments alongside exhaustive customized reporting, delivering maximized performance.
The Right Software Solution can Make a Good Business Great
Deployment of a unified platform, tightly integrating all functions within the property management life cycle, transpired into exponential business growth for our client. Streamlined, end to end automated workflow meant substantial cut back on their operational overhead, while enabling phenomenal scalability.
Fingent’s client got listed by the prestigious magazine Inc., ranking amongst the Top 10 Real Estate and Top 200 overall. A whopping growth of 2626% was registered over 3 years, and company valuation increased multifold. This lead to a 1.7-Billion-dollar hedge fund investing in the client to further propel growth.
The enterprise application suite is now maturing into a comprehensive product for the real estate industry, opening up a new line of business for the client in partnership with Fingent.
To Sum Up…
The average company spends about 4-5% of revenue on IT. Much of this money goes into software and hardware, software upgrades, software license fees, and the like, but a big chunk is still for new software solutions that are assumed to create a better future for the organization and its customers. Custom software solutions and enterprise applications are now one of the largest corporate expenses outside employee costs. Yet choosing the right software vendors and getting the right solution tailored made for your processes is mission critical for every business aiming heights in today’s competitive market.
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By the late 1980’s the prominent sound of “ding, ding, zip” of the typewriters that reverbed through the office halls gave way for a softer, mimicked, mechanical feel of the typewriters. The computer keyboards with time evolved, making it the familiar yet a distinct avatar of the faithful typewriters of the past. What changed was more than just the mechanical clinker in the office halls; they gave rise to a new status quo on how work was performed and what could be achieved by ideally leveraging the computers.
A Digital Revolution
A little bit of reflection on the successful business of our times like Facebook, WhatsApp, Zynga, Twitter, Square, Netflix, points to the fact that, these companies were either born digital or made efforts to alter their business to becoming digital. The companies that innovated, the ones that laid the old to rest, followed a process of creative destruction. What businesses have to remember is that, most of the times the employees and the customers have got a faster affinity to adapt to changing technology. This adoption would only be followed by an expectation that the business that they interact with, also follows suit. For B2B players it becomes important that they use Mobile, Big Data, IoT, 5G, and augmented reality for revolutionising the customer experience, optimising operational and industrial processes, innovating rapidly, bringing faster cash cycles, driving employee productivity and for improved service enhancements.
Statistics shows that there would be 6.1 billion smartphone users worldwide, 56% of all web traffic is through mobile and the global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 6.2 Exabytes/ month! That’s a lot of numbers indicating the importance of a Mobile strategy.
Digital Business Transformation through Mobility
Mobility is not just about going wireless. It focuses on the business process and the work models that effectively utilise mobile. Internally it is about the business models and processes that can enable marketing, HR and operations to utilise the benefits of going mobile like improved and faster decision making, increased productivity of the employees, faster resolution of internal issues, brand perception enhancements, reduced sales cycle time and increased revenues. But there are concerns of network security, compatibility and security of the devices, corporate and customer data security, regulatory requirements that always make the C-Suite executives think twice before they tread on these unsure waters.
Transforming a business through mobility has to have a well-rounded view of the entire business and a thorough recognition of the priorities of going mobile. It can be as simple as supporting more mobile handheld devices, extending internal systems for mobile access, offering incremental BYOD, providing more mobile support to the customer, implementing corporate mobility policies and so on. With Mobility, work becomes something that people do and not a place they go to, it has the capability to bring transformations with regards to:
Increased Revenue Potential
Mobility is pervasive and the ever trusted smartphone has led the march, becoming the go-to device, people use for work, pleasure or to kill boredom. Living in the comfort of your pockets, the mobile becomes the first medium of choice for one to interact with the outside world. This gives business a chance to connect to the customers at any point of time. Similarly, mobile apps that can help the customer consume products and services would invariably help to increase revenues. Employee empowerment and customer engagement are the two critical interactions for a business to make. Having a solid mobile strategy would help them both to be connected on the move, thus effectively enabling contracts and deals closures on real-time.
The first signs of going digital would be improved employee freedom. An employee would no longer be restricted to the cubicles, instead he/she will get a chance to work on ‘wherever whenever’ style. Through cloud-based applications, the staff would be able to access resources and attend to important work, no matter where they are. Such apps are now even built with offline connectivity that can help the field workers to sync things later into the cloud while effectively helping them perform their work. Reach out is one such app that has been developed with the offline connectivity, for managing work orders and jobs in inspection and audits. This goes a long way into providing flexibility, responsiveness and faster turnaround times, which in the end translate to excellent customer satisfaction. This sets up a win-win for both the customer and the business as it enhances the way you work and the way the business serves the customers need.
Another major contributor to employee productivity is the way mobility enables workplace collaboration, regardless of the physical proximity of individuals and teams. When effective collaboration is required among individuals and teams spread across multiple locations, mobile truly makes the effort more streamlined and natural. Cloud-based enterprise collaboration software can help teams to break down barriers of location and time, bringing the best of talents to work in unison.
With the flexible and collaborative nature of work, there comes a need of precise and timely communication that can draw the line between being successful or crashing out. It becomes highly essential that the mobile workforce is appraised with relevant metrics that help them to take the right decision and also to update crucial project updates. Aware mobility helps to accelerate performance by having this view of important metrics right on your trusted iOS or Android device. This can help to get on time information that helps you take that important decision when required.
Operational Efficiency and Productivity
Businesses would have to change the way they have conducted themselves over the years. They would need to get re-organised, to accommodate the task oriented usage style of mobile users and deliver them efficiently, without having any security concerns. Real time statistics of location and direction have already helped logistics and field service, to come up with strategic ways in which these could be leveraged. This leveraging should ideally result from a re-envisioned business process. Mobilisation of Salesforce interactions, supply chain management and innovative charging models can be devised by having mobile at the hub of the transformation, for a truly digital organization.