Velox commentary
19 Oct. 2023

A Stairway to Heaven Modernization

Does anyone remember laughter ?

Modernize your way to a next generation technology capability

So, if now is the time to invest in your next-generation front-office system, how should you go about it? And what are you trying to get out of it? Historically, the path forward would be a bold "rip and replace" style rebuild. Today, modernization offers a different approach with many benefits. Modernization implies incremental improvement that maximizes the benefit of existing (legacy) systems rather than a big bang change. Importantly, it delivers rapid outcomes especially in terms of ability to continually innovate. It also allows a more flexible cadence where other priorities interrupt as needed. The cadence and order in which things get done is at your discretion and tailored to fit changing business imperatives.

The keys to successful modernization

Becoming cloud and browser enabled is probably priority number one. Cloud computing benefits are well documented but the ability to move to a no-install client deployment model by combining cloud and browser-based UIs is a game changer. As a tech vendor, being able to talk to a client on Monday and have a new version in production for them to use on Tuesday really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Browser-based UIs are now synonymous with new tech and are table stakes for any tech provider that wants to be considered a good bet for the future

But there is another, even more powerful (yet often unsung), benefit: web service-oriented architecture also implies data-centric architecture. This means that your system natively supports collaboration as all data is stored only once. Since most capital markets systems work across teams, this gives a massive productivity boost by collapsing workflows and eliminating the clumsy way data is shared either internally between departments or externally with clients.

Once the sugar rush of new eye candy subsides - it's the material gains in improving your ability to change, or shortening the innovation cycle, that delivers sustained advantage. A modern backend is generic, and schema driven. Keeping the data model (schema) separate so it changes while the container doesn't change optimizes your ability to react to changing client and market needs. Then, add to this a modern application development environment that better anticipates the types of changes you're likely to make and one that provides the right tools to make it as easy as possible for the broadest set of developers.

Automating the user journey by replacing mostly manual with mostly automated is one of the long-term benefits. Every year, computers can do more and more tasks, but systems built on old architecture don't make automation easy. A modernized architecture ensures any and all business functionality is invoked with or without humans in the loop, so the level of automation is dialed up as the opportunity presents itself.

The final key priority is making big strides with the so-called non-functionals: scalability, resilience and operability. Most existing systems have lived through massive changes in volumes of data, expectations around uptime and how they are supported. Coping with this evolution has added to costs of operation and levels of technical debt. With the benefit of hindsight, a new architecture gets to build these things in from the start. When tackled this way, previously expensive, thorny problems become much more manageable.

Biting the bullet is not as painful as you think

It's difficult to put a number on how much of a difference these improvements make to your systems, but it goes without saying that it's considerable and ultimately, they pay for themselves many times over. I know from personal experience how hard it is to kick off large replacement projects. Modernizing with an architecture that wraps around your existing systems (leveraging what works just fine for now) not only empowers your business with a succession of quick wins, it also allows you to tackle a massive effort in chunks that won't require everything else on the tech to-do list to grind to a halt.

Find out more about velox and how we #buildfaster here.

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