Our Live Twitter Q&A with @JulianDobbins



Last week, Micro Focus took part in a live Twitter Q&A with Julian Dobbins, product marketing, agile software delivery at Micro Focus. If you missed our online chat you’ll find the transcribed conversation below, so you can follow our discussion about IT modernization best practices, trends, and insights.

Follow Micro Focus on Twitter: @MicroFocus
Follow Julian Dobbins on Twitter: @juliandobbins 

@JulianDobbins: What software priorities do businesses have for 2011?

@MicroFocus: According to @Forrester, 66% say legacy modernization is top priority  

@MicroFocus: ‘Doing more with less’ is still king of the hill – but the business won’t thank you without innovation  

@JulianDobbins: Why are more businesses modernizing existing applications instead of ripping and replacing?  

@MicroFocus: Existing business logic often provides the ‘secret sauce’ – throw it away at your peril  

@MicroFocus: Put another way… 80% cost reduction on a 12-18 month ROI is hard to ignore!  

@JulianDobbins: What are the business risks of an out-of-date IT infrastructure?  

@MicroFocus: Unsupported hardware and inflexible, poorly understood apps are the enemies of efficiency and innovation

@MicroFocus: A classic case of a stitch in time saves 9: Leave it too long, costs go up, willingness to fix goes down  

@JulianDobbins: How does an organization know when they need to modernize their existing business infrastructure?

@MicroFocus: Modernization isn’t a one-off activity, it’s an on-going state of mind. Just like housework and exercise  

@MicroFocus: Just as one should exercise regularly, companies should run regular tests to ensure apps run well  

@JulianDobbins: Is testing involved in recognizing the need to modernize out-of-date infrastructure?  

@MicroFocus: Constantly testing or reviewing an application’s fit for the business is a crucial part of modernization  

@JulianDobbins: How much $ can be saved from modernizing existing applications vs. ripping and replacing?  

@MicroFocus: >70% savings in post-migration application costs are common. Recent example: $25m per year saved

@JulianDobbins: How much time can be saved from modernizing existing applications vs. ripping and replacing?  

@MicroFocus:  In some cases, years. We’ve seen rewrite projects fail completely.  We’veseen them never get started  

@JulianDobbins: Is modernizing more green than ripping and replacing?  

@MicroFocus: Yes – virtualizing apps and boosting platform utilization are key ‘green’ modernization activity  

@JulianDobbins: What is the average time investment needed for a typical IT modernization process?  

@MicroFocus: How long is your piece of string? Modernization is an on-going processes. It’s a state of mind  

@MicroFocus: Aclean CICS/COBOL migration can take months not years. As can UI improvements and Web service wrapping  

@JulianDobbins: So, you outline 10 best practices for an affective biz technology transformation. Let’s discuss  

@MicroFocus: Yes, based on what our customers are doing to modernize their portfolios, platforms and processes…  

@JulianDobbins: 1. Top-down app portfolio evaluation – What does this entail?  

@MicroFocus: Ahigh-level assessment of business value, cost and risk. Find out which appsmatter most (or least)  

@MicroFocus: Use the 80:20 rule. Start where it matters. It’s a means to an end – so set a scope and stick to it  

@JulianDobbins: 2. Obtaining senior sponsorship – Why is this essential?  

@MicroFocus: Big change often needs a big stick. Modernization touches everything. Siloed thinking is dangerous  

@JulianDobbins: 3. Identifying unique intellectual property – How can this be measured?  

@MicroFocus:  Commodity apps are easy to spot. Ex: Tesco’s core replenishment system was *not* commodity.  

@JulianDobbins: 4. Moving to the right platform for your business – How can you pick the right platform?  

@MicroFocus: The right platform for IT is the one that supports business growth. Saving $ is not enough  

@JulianDobbins: 5. Preserve / extend competitive differentiation in core apps – How do youstand out?  

@MicroFocus:  Differentiation locked behind a green screen is hard to see – extend ashigh-value web services  

@JulianDobbins: 6. Modernize your tooling – How do you maximize productivity with what they’ve got on hand?  

@MicroFocus: Use the latest tools you can for the skills you need – today & tomorrow. Gen-Y won’t thank you otherwise

@MicroFocus: 40% productivity gains mean more time to innovate – even if you’re still deploying on the same platform  

@JulianDobbins: 7. Build quality throughout the lifecycle – How do you measure quality at each step in the cycle?  

@MicroFocus: Quality means many things – # of defects is easy to track. For business alignment – communication is key  

@JulianDobbins: 8. Collaborate / encourage involvement – Why is stakeholder input critical?  

@MicroFocus:  Zero defects means nothing if the user ain’t getting what he needs. Things change.  Keep talking throughout  

@JulianDobbins: 9. Manage changes – How do you go above and beyond ‘just source code’?  

@MicroFocus: Change management is the heart of good software delivery – and that means code, tests, requirements…  

@JulianDobbins: 10. An app is for life, not just development – How do you ensure a long lifespan for your apps?  

@MicroFocus: Annual review process – rate apps for cost, risk and business value. It’s a habit worth getting into!  

@JulianDobbins: In addition to cost save, what other benefits have companies seen?  

@MicroFocus:  Stick close to the users – they’ll often be happy with 80% of features – that’s 20% faster to market  

@MicroFocus: Understand your portfolio – make the changes where they matter most; not the easy ones no one cares about  

@JulianDobbins: Are there times when modernizing simply isn’t an option?  

@MicroFocus: It’s always an option – but not always the *right* option. Commodity apps – a perfect fit for packages  

@JulianDobbins: How does @MicroFocus help their clients execute these steps?  

@MicroFocus: Through great tools that support customer choice and process efficiency… and through good partners  

@JulianDobbins: Do you have anything else to add?  

@MicroFocus: As ever, don’t take the vendor’s word for it – check out the case studies, speak to our references  

@MicroFocus: If you’re going to Gartner Symposium in Orlando, stop by the booth and say ‘hi!’

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