November 4, 2020

Common modernisation mistakes – part 3 – CA Gen

We ask our experts, what are three most common modernisation mistakes seen throughout their career

Modernising an IT system, especially those that are highly complex, can prove difficult for many organisations.  In a series of blogs, we ask Jumar’s business technology experts what the three most common modernisation mistakes are that they have seen throughout their career.

We speak to Jumar’s CA Gen Portfolio Manager, Kevin Tate. Kevin has specialised in the legacy technology, CA Gen, for over 30 years. During this time, he has supported international enterprises across insurance, financial services and the public sector with a range of services from: resourcing, system support and updates to larger CA Gen application modernisation and migration projects.

Here is what Kevin has to say:

For me the three key CA Gen modernisation mistakes are: lost knowledge, missing artefacts and due diligence. Here’s why:

1. Lost business/ application knowledge

Quite often organisations have outsourced support for their production applications for many years. This means that in-house knowledge of the business and supporting CA Gen applications/technology is compromised. When the time comes to modernise, the current incumbent may not be capable of doing it, this then requires the organisation to engage a further solution provider, who may have to work with the current incumbent. However, this doesn’t always work as it may mean the business will be moving away from that supplier as a result. This leads to communication difficulties and input about the business/application may not be forthcoming. The knock-on effect is an impact on scoping, timelines and cost.

Understanding the key roles to retain in-house will address the risk of lost knowledge.  Another option is to implement key in-house roles that ‘face-off’ to the equivalent roles in any incumbent.  In that way all the benefits of heavy lifting and associated advantages can be provided by any incumbent whilst critical knowledge is retained in-house to support any future initiatives.

2. Missing artefacts/ understanding of production

In the context of modernising CA Gen applications, technology specialists rely on all of the required artefacts being available and complete.  To enable successful modernisation, all Third Party and native source artefacts need to be available and in the right versions. This isn’t always the case and is generally something a customer is not aware of at the outset. Feasibility, timeframes and costs can be impacted to a greater or lesser degree depending on the availability of these artefacts. The situation can be compounded if a customer is not clear what is currently active in production.  This would predominately define the practical scope for CA Gen application modernisation. Without a clear view, it is difficult to know whether all required objects are available to support a modernisation.

With reference to the first point, if a customer has outsourced responsibility for applications, it is important to include requirements for any incumbent to audit and catalogue all artefacts as part of the service provided.  A similar approach should be adopted internally, to document and catalogue key artefacts, ensure all code is under source control and documentation is held in an appropriate repository, etc.

3. Due Diligence

Not understanding all of the possible options available before a decision on strategy and direction is made is another common mistake. Don’t rely necessarily on in-house experience and knowledge as more experienced external organisations may be able to provide viable, appropriate alternatives.  Don’t be scared to exploit the market whilst formulating strategies and approaches.  Whatever you are planning, it is likely other organisations have been down that path and can provide invaluable experience and feedback on lessons learnt.
 

If you would like to discuss any of these points in greater detail and learn more about modernising CA Gen, contact us.

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