From Past to Progress: Crafting the Future through End-to-End Transformation in Manufacturing
Find out how manufacturers can modernise their essential legacy apps to gain new functionalities, more scalability, and lower costs.
Application Modernisation for Manufacturing is an IT service that involves updating or modernising legacy applications and/or systems for organisations in the manufacturing industry to improve system performance, security, and scalability. The key in any manufacturing enterprise is to have a rock-solid maintenance, user experience, extensibility (e.g., new functionalities) and a streamlined approach towards organisational aspects that ensure operational efficiency and compliance with industry standards in a manner that accommodates business agility.
Legacy applications are often critical to the functioning of an organisation but can become a burden due to the increasing complexity, security risks, lack of available tech stack skills and extremely high maintenance costs over time.
How to foster digital transformation and innovation for Manufacturing organisations
Most legacy systems were designed for specific environments, serving the needs from when they were built and are not compatible with modern platforms or APIs.
The roles taking care of digital transformation, digital innovation, and product, program or lean management are always looking for ways to successfully solve the unique needs of the organisation through a range of activities, including re-platforming, re-hosting, re-architecting, re-engineering, and/or the integration of modern functionalities and innovative technologies in the most efficient way.
Such a process aims to help organisations improve the value of their legacy applications by making them more efficient, secure, and adaptable to changing business needs. In addition to solving the business-as-usual concerns, a successful application modernisation project ensures that manufacturing entities remain competitive, compliant, and agile in response to evolving market demands and technological advancements and can reach a faster time to market.
A step-by-step guide to starting a digital transformation and innovation project
Identify the current status and needs within the organisation. It all starts with the challenging and internal part when the organisation and the initiative owner have to piece together the entire modernisation project. This part involves making sense of all the information despite incomplete documentation, old code, old tech stack, different standards, and lack of information, as well as documenting the new needs and forecasting future developments to ensure scalability.
Identify the right partner to help you reach your digital transformation goals. At this point, there is a lot of overhead, as the initiative owner will need to be the bridge between what the company needs and the external providers they start the conversations with and keep everyone updated with the necessary information.
Ask your IT partners of choice to provide you with facts and data that backs not only the project requirements, but also the higher level of the organisation (E.g., budget owners and users of the change opportunity). This will help you not only have as much data as possible, but also provide all your stakeholders with relevant information based on their role and position as well.
Ensure you select a tech partner that can unburden you where possible: running an audit to identify your project’s blind spots, assessing the current state of the project with a high level of transparency and with a consultancy approach, showing you both the opportunities and risks that you are prone to.
Start the project with a discovery phase and a Proof of Concept (PoC) that is able to provide you with early results. This will ensure an agile approach and also a quick win for the organisation.
Develop the solution and manage ongoing operational performance.
End-to-end app modernisation and transformation in Manufacturing
When starting a new app modernisation project, it is key to look at it from both an end-to-end perspective as well as the market expectations.
The end-to-end app modernisation project has four key phases: Discover, Validate, Develop, and Manage.
Of course, there are additional steps to consider as dependencies of these factors, but most of the dependencies are given by time, costs, market trends and the competitiveness of a manufacturing entity. A few factors to consider could be:
Industry 4.0 requires manufacturers to upgrade and embrace intelligent systems, IoT, and automation for competitiveness.
Global Advantage through Efficiency: By modernising software infrastructure, manufacturing companies can enhance efficiency and speed, gaining a competitive edge on the global stage.
Data-Driven Decision Making: Modern software enables improved analytics and data processing, crucial for business decisions, quality control, and predictive maintenance.
Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to strict regulations on data protection, cybersecurity, and sustainability is facilitated by modern software solutions.
Scalability: Modern software architecture is modular and scalable, aligning with manufacturers' growing business needs and ensuring future-proofing.
Cybersecurity: Upgrading software is vital for safeguarding against cyber threats, especially with the increasing risks to industrial control systems.
Supply Chain Optimisation: Modern software enhances supply chain visibility and management, enabling effective responses to disruptions.
Sustainability Goals: New software supports energy efficiency, waste management, and ESG metric controls, helping companies meet sustainability goals.
Cost Savings: Despite initial investment, modern software reduces costs in the long run through automation, improved data management, and efficient resource allocation.
Understand the existing IT landscape, infrastructure, and challenges. Identify gaps and opportunities for modernisation through assessment, research, and stakeholder input. Improve predictability, ensuring alignment with scope, budget, and timeline. Develop a strong business case and identify opportunities for innovation.
Develop prototypes and proof-of-concepts to confirm alignment with business goals and technical feasibility. Strengthen the business case, gather user feedback, and validate the solution fit. Identify risks, refine approaches, and improve the solution.
Create, test, and deploy new code to modernise applications. Deliver a modernised software solution with proper documentation, meeting business requirements and project scope. The new software provides improved return on investment, security, efficiency, and compliance with regulatory requirements and leads to increased competitiveness.
Ensure the modernised application remains up-to-date, efficient, and effective. Provide ongoing support for user experience testing, user adoption, and continuous modernisation. Deliver continuous evolution within the full modernisation product lifecycle.
Types of Application Modernization Projects in Manufacturing
There are multiple possible approaches based on your business needs and IT landscape:
Manufacturing Process Optimisation
Smart Factory Integration
Quality Control Enhancement
Supply Chain Management Enhancement
Shop Floor Mobility Solutions
Digital Twin Implementation
ERP and MES Integration
Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
Compliance and Regulatory Adherence
Predictive Maintenance Solutions
And since there is no one size fits all, here are a few perspectives to have in mind when starting an application modernisation process: encapsulate, rehost, replatform, refactor, rearchitect, rebuild, and replace.
Ready to transform your business? Contact us now for a tailored app modernisation assessment.