The Need for Digital Transformation
A common discussion taking place across all enterprises today is the need for digital transformation, a change from legacy to digital processes and procedures. While many of the benefits of modernization relate to improvements in efficiency and productivity, there are several core compliance benefits, as well.
Corporations are constantly challenged with getting quality products and services to their customers efficiently while keeping internal processes in compliance with industry and government regulations. To ensure compliance, organizations are often mandated to keep up-to-date time logs and reports, a difficult task when relying on paper-based processes and outdated legacy systems.
The global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, with about one-quarter of the world’s population currently defined as a mobile worker. But as legacy processes remain the standard operating procedure in many organizations, remote workers are becoming increasingly burdened by the need to perform antiquated and time-consuming tasks.
It’s no surprise that mobile devices have proliferated in the enterprise; the analyst firm Markets&Markets now projects the enterprise mobility industry to surpass $284 billion in revenue by 2019. What was unforeseen, however, is the mostly unmet appetite for enterprise apps that has followed. Despite such projections and the subsequent app demand, the modernization of legacy business applications has remained slow due primarily to time and cost, lack of resources and complexity in connecting to back-end systems and data sources. Thus, by the end of this year, demand for enterprise mobile apps will outstrip IT internal development capacity five to one, according to Gartner.
The Complexities of Legacy App Modernization
Trusted business systems that many large corporations rely on include Oracle’s E-Business Suite for employee time tracking, reporting and document management and SAP’s Supply Network Collaboration for workflow automation between companies and suppliers, amidst other ERP systems. These applications are workflow intensive, and the user-experience is burdensome, making basic functions for today’s workforce complex and time-consuming tasks, often laden with delays. Not only are these systems untenable on PC, but most organizations have limited or no access on mobile devices, relegating business users to their desks to log time and complete reports.
For many organizations, even those with the intention to modernize, enterprise systems are highly customized with multiple integration points, requiring complex workflows and even the need to access multiple applications at once to complete the simplest task. As a result, mobilizing these systems has been low priority for IT teams. Even with ERP providers offering supplemental packaged mobile apps, these apps are unable to meet the customization needs on the back end and, as a result, require lengthy and expensive upgrades.
To solve the challenges of legacy app transformation, organizations are increasingly looking to solutions that simplify the user experience for their workforce while leveraging the existing data and workflows of their ERP systems. Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD) platforms provide enterprise IT and lines of business (LOB) the ability to quickly design and prototype new interfaces that connect to the existing infrastructure, saving valuable time and resources and ultimately expediting the development of enterprise apps that employees have come to demand.
The Compliance Benefits of Mobile Modernization
The compliance benefits of application modernization are often overlooked when analyzing risk/reward and cost/benefit. While not surprising, this oversight is unfortunate, because legacy modernization has practical, long-term benefits for maintaining various levels of compliance without introducing any new risks. For LOB and IT, the compliance argument alone could potentially be sufficient enough to unlock funds and get approval for discretionary spending on the enterprise apps that frequently constrain the procurement process. The compliance benefits of legacy application modernization include:
- Increasing reporting accuracy – Easily complete compliance processes for time entry, track project statuses and update product defect data from anywhere and at any time. Track PLM lifecycles more accurately and provide greater customer support.
- Hardening security – Preserve existing application authentication mechanisms such as LDAP and Kerberos by leveraging existing user credentials, and enhance existing security features with geo-fencing, hardware encryption and fingerprint authentication.
- Increasing accessibility – Eliminate the risk of mistakes and oversight by having access to relevant data and processes 24/7, and easily enter data for projects on any mobile device. Enhance productivity without creating new risks.
- Improving project management – Track project statuses and update product defect data from anywhere, allowing management to view issues in real time with push notifications and to immediately remedy any compliance issues.
- Achieving cost savings – The efficiency and real-time accessibility of modernized apps reduces risk and improves performance, thereby eliminating the need for costly audits and providing opportunities to save on yearly R&D tax credits.
For businesses undergoing a digital transformation, the modernization of legacy business applications is a critical component, but the benefits of doing so are more extensive than greater efficiency, employee retention and competitive disposition. With simplified and intuitive experiences, it is easier for organizations and employees to comply with government and industry rules and regulations that, if not met, could ultimately cost shareholders millions.