A digital system in need of modernization is often critical to a company’s day-to-day operations. If it requires numerous adjustments, modernization becomes complex and confusing.
However, it is not just a matter of what changes are made but also who is responsible for implementing them. The lack of resources and in-house skills to get the job done is one of the most common problems of modernization.
How do you find the most reliable and knowledgeable software modernization partner to be involved in the process?
Finding the perfect software upgrade partner is no easy task. It has to be a technical person who can walk you through the process, mitigate risks, identify problems and offer solutions to make the process efficient.
Initial discussions with different software vendors can be a reasonable basis for further decisions, as they will allow you to understand how well they fit together. There are a few questions you can ask yourself as you search for the most appropriate team:
- Does the potential software upgrade partner have enough resources suitable for the job?
- Do they have the appropriate procedures and structures to perform the upgrade effectively?
- Is the company proactive? On the other hand, can it follow your suggestions and respect your vision?
- Has this supplier ever participated in a similar process?
Based on your findings, you should assess whether a particular technical team can handle the task at hand.
Here we have a list of things you should focus on when communicating with potential software partners. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Flexibility is a key to long-term stability
Let’s dwell a bit on flexibility, as it turns out to be crucial for successful software upgrades. A flexible approach allows the technical team to tweak core procedures to meet your goals and assumptions and to respond well to the inevitable changes that occur along the way. By evaluating the methods used in the process, they can ensure continual progress.
However, flexibility can also apply to other aspects, such as product ownership and team composition. There are many models of collaboration, each requiring a different level of involvement on the partner’s part. On the other hand, a software modernization partner can take full responsibility for working on various modules and functionalities, allocating a special multidisciplinary team. Of course, hybrid options are also possible.
Respect for the rules
A reliable technical partner should recognize and comply with your organization’s rules, especially in the operational and legal areas.
Don’t forget the external factors that influence the business environment and regulate the entire industry you operate. They should guide you through the entire modernization process. It’s crucial that the partnering company demonstrate a proactive approach and guide you in the right direction, but it’s also important that it be open to your vision and respect your point of view.
After the crucial phase of information gathering, business analysis, and code review, it’s time for the most interesting part: software upgrades. In terms of technology activities, it is crucial to ensure that your partner has experience with advanced solutions such as cloud architecture, automation, artificial intelligence, microservices, AI/VR, and cross-platform development. However, market innovations should always be taken with a pinch of salt and critical thinking. A more holistic approach is recommended to select promising solutions and make sure you can quickly scale the product down the road.
Skills and roles
Workflow and skills prove critical in assessing whether the chosen technical partner is ready for the modernization process at your company. To uncover the actual value, it’s worth looking at the people who create it. A strong multidisciplinary team is made up of members whose knowledge and experience complement each other. Each has a specific purpose and plays a vital role in your project. Let’s look at the different professionals you might meet on a technical team.
Choosing a software upgrade partner that provides you with an interdisciplinary team offers many advantages. Mostly it comes down to having a broad set of skills and industry knowledge. The partner can develop the most appropriate technological stack for the project by mixing several programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and integrations. Modernization can include:
- Tweaking a small part of the existing software.
- Refactoring the product.
- Completely rewriting the entire solution.
Only by looking at a problem from multiple perspectives can a team make intelligent technical choices, often involving a creative combination of different tools and languages.
When looking for the best software development partner to tackle an upgrade, it’s worth arranging a meeting between the two technical sections to test expertise and see how an outside vendor can potentially fill gaps in the skills of your internal staff. This is an excellent opportunity to ask about refactoring, migrating databases, migrating to a new version of a programming language, identifying areas for improvement, etc.
Technical expertise and vertical knowledge are just pieces of the big puzzle for building the perfect modernization team for your needs. Soft skills, communication, work organization, and the values held by team members can also make a big difference.
Keeping things black and white
Transparency plays an essential role in a successful collaboration because it builds trust and shows that the technical partner is mature and treats the task professionally.
There are many indicators of partner transparency. One of them is the organizational workflow. The technical team should also be open to discussions, brainstorming, and dialogue to resolve doubts and explain the reasons for certain decisions. It is also helpful if your partner can explain the processes and methodologies they follow at the beginning of the conversation, allowing you to understand their approach better. From this, you will be able to assess whether there is a potential match between the two companies.
Modernization is a journey, not a destination. While there is no universal formula for finding the perfect traveling companion, some factors can help you make the right decision. The choice should depend on your specific needs, requirements, and expectations. Given the rapid pace of technological change, it pays to invest in the upgrade process as early as possible, not later. Stay ahead of the curve and find a committed and experienced technical partner.