IT is not fashion, so why do I need a new IT-platform?
When a client want a new IT-platform, my question is why? Isn’t the old one still usable? If they have a hard time to give a reasonable answer, I try to ask some leading questions.
We don’t have feature x is not a valid answer IMHO. It’s very seldom that there is a single feature that disqualifies a platform. Often, you can have a decent workaround or the feature could be added to the next release, or the one after that.
Do you you want to consolidate different plattforms? The answer to one is often yes, but the business case is often not good enough for a change, unless other there are other benefits.
Are there other business units in the organisation that need this type of plattform? If yes, what are their requirements that are so different from yours? Not invented here is not a decent answer.
We have new types of service and/or products in our business and our platform doesn’t support this. With a flexible IT-solution, it should be very easy to add new types of services and/or products. But, if the existing platform is so rigid and that it will take more than 6 months to offer new things to your customers, you have a huge problem. You need to do something about it and it will painful, trust me.
We would like to work more efficient and the current platform doesn’t support this. More automation, less manual work and let others do the job for you is a very good reason for changing the platform. This reson for change links very well to my next question.
What if customer and parters need access to our IT-systems? This is a very challenging proposition for legacy software, especially if its’s a large homegrown system that have been evolving during a long period of time.
A variant of the above question is when you need to support new types of user interfaces. From old terminals to desktops, from client-server to web, from desktop to mobile and preparing for wearables and IoT. You got a very valid point is this is your problem. The older and more mature platform you have, the chances that the plattform will support the future is smaller and smaller.
Performance and lack of thereof is something that could be improved by changing platform. If you business have grown or your customers have resigned waiting on your slow web, then you need to do something about it. The problem is that you can only add hardware to a slow platform up to a certain point, and above there you can’t grow number of transactions or page views.
Lack of security is another fine reason for changing your platform. Security is more and more important as cybercrime are on the rise and there are coming up new regulations around customer privacy in EU. Be careful when evaluation the new platforms, so you don’t end up with yet another dud.
Is it not supported by the vendor? This question is a crucial one, but often not identified by either business or IT. Examples can range from not supported infrastructure or programs written in VB6 code to old ERP-platforms that are customized to death. Agreed, you definitely have to do something, if you want to be in that business.
What is your reson for a new platform? As IT is not fashion, yet.