OK, so the holidays are over, you’ve either closed, or are in the process of closing out 2009 year-end processing. The 2010 decade has begun, and it promises momentous change before we see the end of it: Leading edge technologies will become commonplace; Still newer technologies will emerge; New business threats and opportunities will arise; And the impact of the Baby Boomer phenomenon will finally arrive. All of these events will bring unanticipated changes – ensuring that our lives are as active as the Chinese proverb wishes us – “May you live in interesting times.”

Interesting as it may be to wax poetic about the coming decade, as applications professionals, we need to keep our eyes on the “here and now”. One common theme I hear over and over is that applications professionals’ feet hit the ground running in January 2010 and there are no signs of things slowing down any time soon. New projects and initiatives are the most visible chunks of activity, but what about everything else you are doing?

What are the top application modernization issues keeping you awake at night? Where can Forrester help you be more successful? What are the big chunks of work you have planned that will require help? Some “for instances” examples to spur your thinking include:

  • Workforce issues – Do you currently employ the best mix of application professionals? Do you need help attracting the best? Is your organizational structure holding you back? Do you fear the impact of Baby Boomer retirement on your “legacy” skills? Are new technology skills the issue? Or is it the challenge of bringing valuable employees forward to new technology skills? Are remote teams and global sourcing options more of your 2010  dilemma?
  • Modernization techniques – Knowing you want to modernize is one thing … but modernization has literally dozens of choices and hundreds of permutations – what’s the REAL problem?  Maybe you know that some applications need work, but you aren’t sure how to approach the decision-making process? Or is building a business case / justifying the action where you need help?
  • Migration – Do you need to migrate from one platform, database, language, or combination of the three, but aren’t sure whether or how to do it? Do you need a services-firm to help you? Are you weighing doing the work internally?
  • Maintenance costs – Are high costs keeping you from doing real work? Are your costs excessive? Do you have the metrics to even know the answer? Are external benchmarks the answer, or a red-herring keeping you from your task?
  • Application rationalization – Has merger and acquisition activity littered your portfolio with redundant, obsolete, or marginally useful applications? Do you need help consolidating a slew of packaged applications into a single replacement ERP package? Are your custom-built applications the real culprit, or is it a mixture of both?
  • Portfolio management – Do you finally have the green light to look at application portfolio management, but aren’t sure where to begin? Are you trying to build a case for it? Wonder whether it’s right for you, and what level of depth to go to? 
  • Other – Is there some other modernization topic not in this list or a different nuance on one named above?

This is your chance to sound off, socialize the issue with peers and influence research – talk to us – what are your top application modernization issues for 2010?

P. S. If you’d prefer not to post your priorities publicly, please feel free to send your thoughts directly to me at pmurphy@forrester.com