BPM & Automation  - 10min

IT Modernization, Part 2: 4 steps to get the job done

IT Modernization, Part 2: 4 steps to get the job done
October 31, 2023

The team responsible for IT modernization projects has to deal with both business issues and of course technical ones. Putting your legacy systems into one piece and shaping your company’s future IT environment will strongly depend on your choices in terms of technologies that will help you build a secure, reliable and long lasting ecosystem.

On your mark, get set, go!

Now that IT Modernization has been defined, and you’ve seen the benefits of modernizing your systems:

  • reduce your costs
  • increase your employees’ comfort, and
  • increase your users’ satisfaction

It's time to ask yourself: Where and how to start?  This is a good place to be then. With Bonitasoft’s years of experience helping our customers to modernize, we’ve come up with this 4-step guideline for a path to upgrade legacy systems and accelerate enterprise digital transformation.

Step 1 - Define the project, with clear and measurable objectives

First, define the project clearly: What is the objective? When it is clear and measurable, it’s possible to determine if it was successful.

The project goal must be reachable, not too easy but not too ambitious.

Define a timeline for the project with key milestones. Here are a few easy-to-use tools and some of them are free: Trello, Asana, Jira.

It is also important not to think of solutions right away, but first consider what currently exists, what has been tried in the past, and what could be done in those contexts. For an IT modernization project, you can start by listing all the company tools, their recurring costs, how many users for each. I recommend asking the users directly in a short survey about the tools they use, how often they use them, and how satisfied they are. That will give you the big picture of the company in terms of the IT ecosystem and a starting point to sort and prioritize.

Step 2 - Build a team, and prepare for change management

A critical step in IT modernization is selecting the team that will carry out the project. The IT team usually leads these types of projects, as they are the experts about the technical aspects of the tools that will be used. This is important during the next steps, the technology selection process. Of course they also will be the ones using the tools, but that doesn’t mean that they have to carry the whole project alone!

Neither can development leaders and CIOs meet this technology challenge alone. Automation at enterprise scale will require all employees to participate, and that may require changing the organization's DNA.

Peter F Gallagher, the #1 Change Management Global Thought Leader 2021 and 2020, as ranked by Thinkers360, said:

For change adoption to be successful, support the employees through the change transition by providing awareness, understanding, involvement, learning, and motivation to achieve sustainable change and benefit realisation. Organisational change adoption must be made easier than keeping the old ways.

If you are looking for useful advice and efficient methodologies which are adopted by world leaders, Peter has written helpful books on change management. You can also find tips on his website.

Change needs to come from leadership, but it can’t be imposed without explanation. People will be willing to adopt it through proof of value.

As I noted in the previous article, “people are resistant to change.” This is why choosing the pilot “project” (or “kaizen event” as Lean methodology calls it) is key. This first implementation will bring visible value to people using it, and not just to the company. A well-chosen first IT modernization project will help bring people on board with the whole project and accept the change naturally.

More than 90% of CEOs believe their companies will change more in the next five years than they did in the last five. Having a workforce that’s ready and able to harness that change will make the difference between success and failure.

- Harvard Business Review

Step 3 - Select the right technology

When we talk about IT modernization, we often also see the term “digital transformation.” They are used in similar conversations but don’t necessarily address the same problems. Let’s take a moment to connect those two terms and mention three complementary concepts that serve them: paperless, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation.

Bear with me for some definitions first :-)

Digital, paperless solutions: Enterprise Content Management

Paperless” describes the replacement of paper documents and other material-based business processes (accounting, supply chain and purchasing management, human resources, etc.) with digital, electronic-based processes (paperless), using digital tools. For example, ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solutions generally provide a secure repository for digital documents. Commonly called a “document management” tool, ECM has evolved in the past few years to become a bigger part of the content strategy of many companies.

In the beginning, organizations used ECM exclusively to reduce paper and streamline filing. But its role has become bigger––much bigger.

- Confluence by Atlassian

Now, let’s turn to the more sexy AI technologies before addressing automation.

Artificial Intelligence solutions: RPA

Artificial intelligence (AI), as opposed to human intelligence, generally means simulation of the latter by software. Lately we hear a lot about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for automating repetitive rules-based tasks without human intervention, using AI or Machine Learning instead.

Solutions like UiPath or Automation Anywhere can connect to business process applications and play with the data they collect to analyze, interact with other systems, or interrogate processes - to provide an answer to a visitor using a chatbot, for example.

Automation solutions: ESB, MDM, BPM, DPA

Automation drives processes or systems so they can operate without human intervention, or with specifically selected human intervention, based on clearly defined rules. This field of expertise is filled with acronyms worth knowing. Ready?

  • Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) offers a set of rules and principles for integrating numerous applications together over a bus-like infrastructure. How does it work? It integrates different applications by putting a communication layer between them and then enables each application to talk to the layer instead of directly with each other. The advantage of ESB products (like IBM, Oracle, JBoss) is the decoupling of each system, so there are no dependencies. You may want to use an ESB to increase agility by offering a pluggable system, for scaling capacities, to leverage existing tools and expose them to new applications.


  • Master Data Management (MDM) is a comprehensive method of enabling an enterprise to link all of its critical data to a common point of reference. This helps ensure that the data is reliable, secure, mistake-free and of good quality. An MDM like Informatica centralizes the data in a single master file to simplify the company organization. This method eases and secures data sharing. The more complex the organisation, the more value MDM brings.



  • Business Process Management (BPM) supports the full cycle of process and decision: analysis, design, implementation, execution, monitoring, optimization, and maintenance. BPM solutions (like us - Bonitasoft, - or Camunda, Bizagi, Appian etc.) are for creating and supporting enterprise-grade applications that connect user interfaces and business processes for better user experiences. Management of customer facing processes and applications Support of structured, unstructured and adaptive business processes execution Coordination of work between people, systems and processes Business processes transformation and new business processes automation Creation of end-to-end customer experiences connecting user interfaces and processes Integration with existing systems via APIs and through custom connectors



  • Digital Process Automation (DPA) can be considered an evolution of BPM, as DPA solutions automate processes from end-to-end (and DPA platforms are provided by the same vendors as mentioned in the BPM section above).


RPA sounds great, but DPA sounds amazing. Can’t they work together?

Step 4 - Expand usability and modernize IT infrastructure intelligently with DPA

Workflow, BPM and now DPA; in essence they describe very much the same thing but under a new, sexier name :-).

Digital Process Automation (DPA) remains at the heart of digital transformation, but is better when combined with...AI!

When BPM meets RPA

BPM and RPA are complementary. While RPA allows you to use bots to handle repetitive and mundane tasks or scale human tasks, BPM can focus on customer interactions and robotic exceptions via process management. But for a seamless end-to-end digital transformation, you need both working together!

Integrating legacy systems with BPM, RPA & API

Legacy systems are still supporting critical functions in companies. Sometimes we just can’t replace them easily. BPM used for orchestration can be an essential tool to coordinate multiple systems that need to participate in processes to deliver new and better services to customers. If a legacy system is accessible through APIs, then a BPM engine can orchestrate them directly.

Many legacy systems do not have APIs, so software robots provided through RPA are very useful for interacting with legacy “old-school” user interfaces.

So in short, I would recommend choosing a DPA platform first to orchestrate and coordinate all your systems - from brand new to legacy. Modernize your legacy and aging systems in an orderly fashion while still being agile and reactive, to stay on the cutting edge. It is possible to design user interfaces and processes that follow the old familiar patterns if you need to help people adjust. Change is slow, but done the right way, I promise, it is possible :-)

I would like to leave you with a quote from my CEO, Miguel Valdes Faura, that summarizes well the challenges of modernizing your IT I think.

IT modernization is not only about how you’re simply going to replace some of your legacy systems, it’s also about how you’re going to adapt the practices, technologies, methodologies, and people that are going to be working together to develop processes and automation projects to make sure it is all in alignment with the business strategy.

I hope this second article in this series about IT Modernization has further clarified things and that you know where to head next in your IT modernization project.

In the third and last article, I’ll focus on the key ingredients for a successful IT transformation through DPA using Bonita, the platform I know best.


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