A Guide to Legacy Modernization

78% of digital transformation efforts fail to drive desired results due to poor planning. Here are some steps that will ensure success.

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Whether you are moving from a paper-based system or upgrading an existing application, you may have already realized the dire need for digital transformation within your organization. Moreover, you might have validated this decision with the requisite proof and convinced the higher-ups to give a green light to the modernization process. However, 78% of digital transformation efforts fail to drive desired results due to poor planning. In other words, insurance agencies have to chalk out a concrete plan for this ambitious venture.

Here are some steps that will ensure legacy system and technology modernization success:

Make Organizational Goals Concrete

By this point, you may have already identified the problems and pressing issues plaguing your current system. With this problem statement in mind, identify the changes that you anticipate with the introduction of modern applications and insurance technologies. The resulting objectives would serve as your organizational goals. For greater efficacy, translate these into SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) so you can monitor the progress.

Evaluate the Available Options

Once you have acknowledged the persistent problems and devised possible solutions, it is time to bridge the two by seeking practical options. Here’s a quick summary of some of the most common application modernization techniques:

  • Retain and Expand: Retain the legacy system and make necessary modifications to expand its scope and applicability.
  • Rehost: Rehosting is a lift-and-shift approach, modernizing applications with minimal modifications.
  • Replatform: Replatforming requires shifting the entire code or parts of it to a new ecosystem while retaining the core functionalities.
  • Refactor: Refactoring optimizes the code and code structure to update the legacy software.
  • Redesign: Redesigning involves making significant changes to the code architecture to enhance capabilities.
  • Rebuild: Rebuilding entails redesigning and rewriting the application without changing the scope, specifications or capabilities.
  • Replace: Replacement should be the last resort if insurance agencies can no longer justify the use of legacy systems. If you are still stuck with obsolete paper systems, replacing them with digital-age insurance software solutions would be the first option.

These 7 R's of application modernization will help you prepare a successful road map for your transformation.

See also: 4 Keys to Agency Modernization

Prioritize the Modernization

After you have decided on the technology modernization methodology, you need to weigh out its impact with regard to the workload, resource availability, downtime, risks, cost, etc. Based on these parameters, you can minimize the impact by prioritizing the activities based on their relative importance for maintaining business continuity, resilience, agility, etc.

Once again, the SMART principle can help quantify these goals and ascribe them to a timeline.

Select a Technology Partner

While the need for digital transformation and legacy modernization may stem from pressing issues requiring immediate action, insurance agencies may not be equipped to handle such a mammoth task on their own. In such a situation, it is always wise to partner with a technology enabler for the job as you focus on your core operations. Look for an organization that specializes in the digital transformation of insurance agencies so that they can cater to your specific requirements.

Test, Observe and Optimize

Digital transformation and technology modernization are continuous processes. As such, insurance businesses have to keep an eye on their status and progress during and after implementation. Test, observe and optimize the workflows.

Closing Thoughts

Even though digital transformation and application modernization may seem overwhelming, they do not have to stay that way. A well-planned and -thought-out strategy can overcome any obstacles and help your company get the most out of this process. Legacy system and application modernization will free your insurance business from IT complexities and compatibility issues. By leveraging digital-age insurance technologies, you can adapt and innovate at scale.

Faheem Shakeel

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Faheem Shakeel

Faheem Shakeel serves as the practice head (insurance technology and services) at Damco Solutions.


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