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People and partners in modernization success

Podcast host Kimberly Boyd | Podcast guest Lee Sustar
June 27, 2022 | 33 min 23 sec

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Brief summary

A Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Thoughtworks examined the practices of organizations with successful modernization initiatives and two factors came up frequently: 1) working with partners and 2) investing in and retaining knowledgeable staff. Before embarking on a transformation project, listen to this podcast featuring Forrester to learn about how to put the right people and partners in place for a successful modernization journey.



  • Digital transformation budget - rather than focusing on the tools and incremental elements, stepping back and looking at the full horizon of digital transformation is a key marker for success. When you bring in various stakeholders, they all come together to better understand what the overarching goals are and are better able to contribute to success and the acceptance criteria.  71% indicated they had a dedicated transformation budget


  • Organizations that are more B2C-oriented, focusing on consumers, are often better able to conceptualize what a digital transformation should look like. They start from how we meet our customer goals and objectives and then roll back towards what kind of tools and methodologies that are needed to stand that up.


  • Organizations don't actually necessarily have the bandwidth needed to undertake a modernization journey. Typically, that's more effective when you have either internally a group of people who are tasked with stepping back from that day to day and mapping that out.


  • The role of partners - could be more focused on a particular application, or a benchmarking function, provide guidance on agile transformation, or often bring technical skills and expertise, and a wider perspective on the organizational implication of monetization. Sometimes just for sheer limited bandwidth.


  • Teach to fish model: Businesses don't want somebody who's just going to dump projects, they want a relationship where they can benefit from that exposure to some more high-performance development teams and really learn from their projects or an ongoing relationship.


  • The study shows one of the key findings is that 81% said that utilizing a trusted partner's skills and expertise is more important than the tech. There are a lot of different ways to do DevSecOps today, but it’s really the expertise and perspective that you get from partners who can generalize those patterns and then adapt them to the specifics of what's happening. 


  • Generally speaking, you're going to have to find people who can help cross that bridge and develop those skills internally, as well as augmenting them as they move forward.


  • One of the findings of the report was that 86% said that their organization's culture and strategy were more important for modernization success than the specific technology chosen. Stakeholders need to be involved on an ongoing basis with the technology transformations in order to get the results that everybody wants. It’s the same theme is about the skills and the partners. If people are buying into this, then they do it.


  • Transformation partners who are delivering on that ability to upscale: It's that moment where our partner can come in and be able to help an organization almost understand what it's trying to accomplish. I think that that's really what comes through in these numbers because the overall perspective in relationships were actually more important than the tech tools, that's key. It really shows that the tools are there, the question is how do you use them in the most optimal way? 


  • When embarking on a broad-scale change program, figure out what their overall priorities are. What needs to be modernized now? What could be left for a secondary approach? Then, what do we need to have in place to be able to do that? What's our existing skill set within these modernization ones, and which are our most critical ones? The third thing is to figure out the partners who can help you with each one of those things.


  • What people were looking for as being most successful, 49% about half said the frequency of collaboration was key to them in real-time. That was 49%, but that was significantly ahead of any other consideration. They understand that it's not a one-and-done, they want that interaction. I think the art of-- for being a good partner here is to make each of those collaborations build on the next, each of those touchpoints leads to something better to help them mature.


  • In that series of questions, almost a third said they wanted reusable assets and technologies to accelerate their transformation efforts. Another said that we want a level of technical expertise with respect to application modernization or cloud-native technologies. They're saying that to me are the numbers of saying we're learning to fish. We want to learn to fish. The real-time collaboration is number one and then that a pattern is something reusable we can then assimilate into our organization showing up as the second-most third most important priority.


  • Complexity migrates towards enterprise architecture, figuring out what's consistent and sustainable over time is a really key starting point. If that is taken care of, the engagement with partners will be that much more successful.