The story goes…
Business X has been using a software package for the last 20+ years to perform a critical, maybe even the most critical, function of the business.
20+ years ago this package used to be an off the shelf, install on an office PC, double-click to launch in Windows type of application. It probably looked rubbish but had a menu with 3+ levels to navigate dozens of screens with 20+ fields each to manipulate. There were only a few people that could learn and knew how to use it for some very specific tasks.
10+ years ago the vendor of that package found it easier – meaning no install, no update, no office PC – to put the same software on a bunch of servers and let users access it remotely (RDP).
Today many of these applications are still running businesses, mostly because they are cheap or because over time they became a monopoly.
Innovation at these vendors, and the businesses using them, would have stopped, if it wasn’t for a new movement.
Reluctantly, the vendors slowly added a new type of access – API – to their packages.
These dumb API-s would often look like an XML version of the screens they represent.
Business X realised they have a new option.
Rather than paying for an expensive 20+ years old application running remotely they can pay a lower fee for accessing the API.
Projects are in abundance making the transition – under the banner of Digital Transformation – from remote desktop Windows applications to web based, API led solutions.
There are so many ways these transformation projects go up in smoke.
One is where business X insists on rebuilding the same screen flow from the old desktop application.
Is this Digital Transformation? No.
Maybe modernisation? Hardly.
It is simply cost avoidance.