To be effective, modernization cannot be achieved in a vacuum, but must be an integral part of an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) approach. It must be guided by a modernization framework and a predetermined roadmap of the desired future state.
ALM is the concept of actively managing an application throughout its usable life, including the processes and assets associated with producing and maintaining software applications. Critical organizational competencies include change management, workflow and work item management, and an integration plan that enables traceability and accountability across multiple processes, locations, tool types, and tools across diverse stages of development and delivery. ALM must also include sophisticated project and portfolio management and IT service management tools and techniques, which assist in planning, measurement, control, and reporting.
An Application Lifecycle approach encompasses the practices, processes, and tools that aid in managing the application development life cycle, specifically the workflow and assets associated with producing or maintaining a custom software application. Modernization leverages a portfolio management approach in order to more effectively manage enterprise systems throughout the application’s development lifecycle.
For example, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) (ITIL Official Site 2007-13, The APM Group), which is a set of best practices for IT services management, includes the following ALM standard phases within its documentation:
- Requirements: requirements gathered based on the business needs of the organization
- Design: requirements translated into specifications
- Build: application and operational model are made ready for deployment
- Deploy: operational model and application are put into the existing IT environment
- Operate: the IT service provider operates the application as part of the business service
- Optimize: performance is measured, improvements discussed, and additional development is initiated if needed
The modernization framework provides a methodology to build a business case, define a baseline, and delineate the most appropriate tools and techniques to use, incorporating quality-by-design into the process. Perhaps most important, successful implementation follows a carefully pre-defined modernization roadmap.