Aug 22, 2019 · by Brian Roche

Navigating the Complexity of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is no easy feat, especially when clients like ours at Cognizant Softvision, tend to think big. We find ourselves in conversations with our clients wanting to leverage software to create a competitive advantage while achieving new levels of business velocity and speed. While we applaud and welcome the tenacious spirit, unfortunately, trying to achieve these outcomes comes with navigating the many pitfalls that are often preceded before successful transformation. 

We, better than most, understand the desire for transformation, which is why we’ve highlighted our experiences and best practices for navigating the complex technology and organizational landscape – in an effort to help our clients and the like-minded continue to think big.

Microservices Architecture 

Microservices have been a ‘buzz word’ in the industry for some time now. They are, without a doubt, a reasonable choice for modern systems. But, we often see organizations wishing to re-architect their systems and leverage microservices without any clear ROI. Teams should understand that microservices trade reduced development complexity for increased operational complexity. Writing the services is simpler, but the orchestration required to get them all working together is a lot harder than with a monolithic architecture. Teams should opportunistically rewrite their applications using a microservices architecture when it makes sense. Usually that means when they’re required to revisit the specific functionality or area of code.

Legacy Modernization 

With legacy system modernization there is no silver bullet. It’s hard work to transform these systems and the goals aren’t often clear when embarking on this effort. The key is to remain ahead of the curve is changing before it becomes urgent and you are forced to change. 

Many of these systems have been around for many years and their functionality is not well understood by the organization making it even more difficult to transform these systems with low risk and high confidence. These systems were often designed for an era when change cycles were measured in months or years and not weeks or minutes. They key to successfully transforming these systems is to adopt a change mindset where these systems are replaceable as a whole instead of just the parts. Doing so opportunistically allows organizations to stay just ahead of the market curve.

The most successful organizations have learned to disrupt themselves before their competition or the market demands change. This proactive approach enables them to determine the value in their legacy system and rearchitect them for an era that demands rapid iteration.

Establishing a Learning Culture 

Many organizations wait too long to transform and end up playing catch up only to inevitably fail in their change initiatives. Let’s face it, we make change more difficult by measuring the wrong elements of transformation and imposing unrealistic expectations on teams pioneering those changes within our organization. We get it, change is hard, but falling behind the competition and becoming obsolete is harder. 

First, change should be measured by our learnings and not the time or distance traveled. Pioneering change is not easy and it’s certainly incredibly difficult to go first. There’s no roadmap, nor a recipe for success and everyone organization’s DNA is different. So, a one size fits all transformation movement is not the right path to success, nor is it realistic. 

The teams that transform with success are the ones who commit themselves to learning ‘what not to do’ instead of measuring their transformation in time or distance traveled. Organization transformation is an iterative process that takes time and it needs to be supported by a committed leadership team with a clear vision for success. 

Think big, start small and iterate 

Perhaps the final key to success is your ability as an organization to have a clear lofty goal, but start small. Anchor your action in customer need and prove value iteratively. Without doing this teams are simply ‘working’ with no evidence that they’re on the right path and just working. By verbalizing and visualizing their goals transformation teams can share their roadmap and journey along with their learnings. The best organizations participate in transformation instead of watching it happen, or fail, from the sidelines.

Get out of the Building 

Learning doesn’t always have to happen first hand. Many organizations and teams learn from the mistakes of others. Get out of the building, interact with peers and determine what’s working in their transformation movements and what’s not working. Learning from others enables us all to share knowledge and improve together. 

At Cognizant Softvision we take transformation and technology seriously with our clients. We work to help them embrace a learning culture while evolving their legacy value to systems and technology that enables high velocity delivery to market. We focus on what matters most: customer value. 

If you’d like to learn more about our tools and technology or how we’re transforming legacy systems with our clients contact us today.

Cognizant will be participating in SpringOne Platform by Pivotal at the Austin Convention Center, October 7-10. Participants will have the opportunity to meet other developers, operators and leaders building applications that are redefining the industry. Register here.


Brian Roche

Brian Roche

Vice President at Cognizant Digital Business
Brian Roche, Vice President at Cognizant Digital Business, has over 20+ years of experience in the software industry. With an in-depth understanding of emerging technologies and their commercial applications, Brian specializes in operational excellence, reduced time to market, SaaS Platform and Solutions development, DevOps, and more.
Brian Roche
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