Plotting a course to transform IT infrastructure means overcoming the challenges presented by legacy technology. These key considerations will help.

Legacy technology poses challenges for any enterprise that has it – which is most of them. Organizations must therefore think about the different mechanisms and approaches that can help them overcome these challenges to put in place digital and cloud-based systems that are resilient, highly-available and scale with demand.

While there are number of tactics and solutions that can be applied from engineering point of view, here’s what organizations should consider as they embark on a progressive modernization of their infrastructure.

Design self-contained systems

In order to meet the speed, scale and robustness ambitions of enterprise IT, organizations must engineer responsive, self-contained systems. The design of systems needs to be carefully thought through if the required quality is to be achieved.

One of the core elements for infrastructure modernization is microservices, a service-oriented approach in which systems are constructed from modular elements of software or a collection of loosely-coupled and physically autonomous applications. This enables applications to be built to meet precise service needs and be deployed more easily. Microservices also help overcome the complexity, integration and failure handling issues associated with legacy IT infrastructure.

Other required elements include APIs (to bind services together), polyglot data (using multiple data management technologies) and DevOps (reducing friction between software development operations with the help of automation).

Align with business function

Organizations should also consider the business function that applications serve and design systems in alignment with the functional model of business. This helps organize microservices and facilitates change at speed. It also provides the context needed for applications to be aligned to business capabilities while also considering the constraints of each domain. To make this a smooth ride, organizations need to take into account the way in which systems are integrated, the internal complexity of business functions and the data that is managed by those systems.

Don’t forget the organizing

Finally, organizations must realize this change is not just about technology. They also need to work out how to organize around the new architecture. Companies need to organize themselves in the right way and create the right culture to support change. In doing this, they must decide whether to take a top-down approach, in which business capabilities steer domain decomposition, or a bottom-up approach, in which domains emerge incrementally. This duality is an important aspect to be handled. In addition, investments in people, capabilities and ecosystem partnerships is crucial to achieve success in this endeavor.

The modernization of systems and infrastructure should be viewed as a journey, not a step change, with the APIs, data, microservices and a DevOps culture acting as the stepping stones. Through this journey, it’s crucial to remember that domain and context matter and you should let these two guide your approach.