Procrastination & Enterprise Application Modernization

We make ourselves believe what we think.  So if you think “Managing our enterprise application has grown costly and modernization is hard and expensive”, then it will be…especially if you tell yourself that over and over and over again.  Negative thoughts push away the positives in life.

Legacy ERP Application Modernization
Thoughts can change your whole life.  How about doing what you do in life…look at the endeavor with the end in mind…what is your desired state?  When do you need to achieve that state?  At some point, enterprise  applications need to be modernized or upgraded to be effective.  Keep telling yourself, and your staff, what modernization will do for you.  To study the implications request the series: Power Move: Relevance of Application Modernization.

Nothing really happens until you bring a thought to fruition.  When you think you can, you can.  I’ll fess up; there are some tasks over which I find myself procrastinating.  Writing is one.  But once I start, just get started, I’m rollin’ albeit sometimes rocky.  Now with project management, software consulting, business process improvement, organization, and landscaping I dive in immediately with gusto.  Exercising, not so much, except for walking my dog!  Why, why procrastinate on some and not all?  With those things over which we do not procrastinate it has to do with our experiences that have created the expectation of good results from starting and completing the effort.

So, what does this have to do with application modernization?  Modernizing applications is perhaps the king of commitments that gets put off year after year after year.  When research does begin procrastination or resistance hits an all time high.  This article outlines reasons for the application modernization resistance, how it costs you, what inaction creates.  A follow on article concludes with a list of a few desired outcomes achieved by not letting resistance faze you, by taking action.  To follow up, a series will deep dive into how the individual components work to simplify your business, breaking it down piece by piece will de-stress how you approach application modernization.


A few reasons for the resistance (in no particular order—that’s up to you!)


Resistance Reason #1: “It costs…”

It just seems easier to limp along with an inefficient enterprise application that gets you by, albeit with complications.  People are familiar with the known.  They have become accustomed to dealing with “it”.  Workarounds have been implemented that seemingly work even though it is costing the bottom line plenty.  Deferring important initiatives may put your business at risk.  Letting known irritations continue equates to inaction.


A look at the alternative costs associated with inaction:

Applying patches

This delay tactic often results with patches being applied and over-applied to “get you by”.  Patches to fix inefficiencies tend to dig a deeper hole in getting you to your desired, and needed, state not to mention the cost involved may exceed its value.  Typically patches are not documented leaving you vulnerable.  When was the last time you updated your application?


Deferring enhancements

Conversely, by deferring enhancements you create a backlog of business initiatives without which may be risking your competitive differentiation, your ability to meet customer demands, your growth into new markets.  Considering business initiative enhancements you are deferring, what are you risking?  Lacking agility, how are you competing?


Manual processes

Committees are assigned to meticulously design and over-design manual processes to work around the shortcomings of the system.  Identifying areas for process improvement is essential.  Have you implemented some manual processes and are now waiting to see if they resolve a shortcoming?  If so, have you set a metrics milestone?  This business process improvement (BPI) discussion needs to take place before and during the system decision phase as well as ongoing throughout the life of the system.  However, when BPI becomes unfavorable and occurs too often it is time to review whether the time has come to take action.


Hidden costs

These patches and workarounds are hidden costs; they become failures as time goes by causing a need for more workarounds.  The failure becomes obvious when you need to design a work around or apply a patch in another area of the system but a previous change makes the newest needed change difficult to implement.


Ineffective decision making

Inability to analyze your data when you need to or in the way you need to makes decision making difficult, costing plenty.  You well know many decisions require quick action from precision data.  If a decision has to be made without accurate data analysis the result inherits a better chance for not producing the desired outcome.

Modernize Legacy Applications


Resistance Reason #2: Change “Nobody likes change”

“Nobody likes change” even if change will make your life better.  After all, there are unknown risks with change; status quo is comfortable.  Don’t let unwillingness to work through change, well structured change, delay you from your desired, and needed state.  How long can you endure your current state?


A look at the current state with inaction:

Extra hours

Extra hours are spent due to inefficiencies or manual processes that could be accomplished electronically.  Labor costs escalate as it takes more people to produce.  More people typically results with a communication breakdown leading to discrepancies in results or downright errors.


Customer complaints

Errors result not only in more time needed to rectify, but potentially in customer satisfaction issues, even more costly.  In your desire to build a customer driven atmosphere customer sat issues must be remedied.  Now more people are either dedicated to resolving ongoing issues or people are pulled off their scheduled processes to deal with resolution.


Growth challenges

Revenue generating and mission critical employees lose focus and urgency being pulled in different directions to remedy situations or to pinpoint the necessary information to perform.  Customer demands have outgrown your technical capabilities.  More people are added to meet consuming demands.



Employees are crabby, hopefully customers are not!  For skilled people to excel in their jobs they need to be productive, to be able to respond to people, customers and processes efficiently.  The need to often deal with problems that otherwise would not need to be, brings on high anxiety.


Direct costs

Not going through the business process improvement change has direct costs as minimally described here.  A more in depth discussion of your current state and what you need to accomplish will pinpoint more gaps in your goals that need to be filled.


Resistance Reason #3: Disruption “No time”

“We don’t have time to allocate staff to a project of this magnitude.”  Instead, staff is allocated to:

  • the aforementioned workarounds
  • putting out fires
  • getting crabbier
  • costing plenty


You get it!

Power Move: Relevance of Application Modernization request the series to study the implications.


Your Resistance Reason not listed here?

Let’s explore the details….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe by Email
Your email: