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Enterprise Applications Myth #2: You Only Need to Focus on the Application in Any Modernization Initiative

This is the second in a series of myth-busting posts.  Myth #1 was “Apps and Data Live and Die Together“.

Myth #2:  When embarking on an application modernization initiative, either doing a significant application upgrade or entirely replacing legacy applications, you really only need to focus on the application and making sure that it aligns with your business processes.

Fact:  Managing and migrating data is a top priority in any application modernization initiative, and neglecting the data can introduce huge risk to the project.

Of course you have to spend significant effort on the development of the application itself and aligning it with business processes.  However, many organizations only focus on these areas, and leave the data as an afterthought to the project.  People often assume that after the new application has been developed and implemented, it’s a relatively straightforward matter to migrate or convert the data from the legacy system into the new application.

This is far from the truth.  Most major application implementation or upgrade projects run over time or over budget.  In many cases, that is due to issues with the application data.  Either the data issues were not properly addressed early on in the project, or they simply weren’t factored into the plan at all.  In fact, 84% of data migration projects fail to meet expectations (Bloor Research).

Instead of treating data as a secondary priority to the application, more and more organizations are realizing that the true business value in their applications lies within the data, rather than the application code itself.  Data is a highly valued asset that must be shared across business process and application boundaries.

In an application modernization initiative, it is now considered best practice to invest in a shared data integration and data management layer before you actually implement the applications.  Investing time upfront in data profiling, data cleansing, data integration and master data management, as well as in archiving off inactive data, pays huge dividends by significantly reducing the risk and cost of the rest of the application implementation.  By ensuring you have consistent, trusted data that can be delivered to the applications via a shared services framework, you lay the foundation for a successful application roadmap.

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