Top five issues your IT staff wants to address but is afraid to tell you

If you’re an IT manager or CIO, you may want to gather the troops before you begin the Web 2.0 modernization process as even the best laid plans can go awry says Nexaweb Technologies Jeremy Chone.

Commentary--The proliferation of enterprise Web 2.0 has created new and different demands on the IT staff that requires knowledge of traditional legacy skills such as COBOL, C and proprietary applications as well as more modern technologies. To maximize existing investments and embrace enterprise Web 2.0, IT is turning to application modernization technologies.

However, if you’re an IT manager or CIO, you may want to gather the troops before you begin the modernization process as even the best laid plans can go awry. Following are the top five issues that your IT staff wants you to know before you begin…but is afraid to tell you.

1. There is no history of the code. It’s no secret that applications have evolved over the years as a result of vendor upgrades and customizations. As the applications continued to morph, tracking the changes and who was responsible for them fell off the list of priorities making unraveling the underlying code a bit challenging as enterprise Web 2.0 technologies are introduced.

2. We don’t know exactly how many applications we have or how they all work together. Applications make their way into organizations through procurement overrides, departmental purchases, trials, upgrades and, of course, open source. This treasure trove of technology makes an aerial view of the infrastructure nearly impossible to create and inhibits the ability to easily introduce new technologies because a lot of time and money is being allocated to maintaining redundant and/or bad code.

3. We’re actively seeking a new job. While it’s no secret that the average IT turnover rate is 22 percent*, there are two other significant factors that can impede our progress. The first is the lack of interest among the millennium generation to work on older technologies and the second is the fact that within three years, 30 percent of our legacy application experts will be eligible for retirement.

4. You can’t prove the ROI. Faster, stronger, cheaper are marketing terms. Show us what we’re likely to gain from the project in terms of skills, company cost savings and time savings using before and after metrics that are created and validated by a third party.

5. You need to share your vision. We know you engage in long term planning that anticipates what the next three, five or eight years will bring and we’d like to weigh in on the strategy because we have front-line knowledge that may affect your business and IT decisions.

While most IT organizations could likely add to this list, the real challenge--and a critical first step--for IT leaders is to address all issues at the onset of a new project so that realistic goals can be set and achieved.

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Jeremy Chone is chief technology officer for Nexaweb Technologies.

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