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What NASA teaches us about Modernization

4 min read

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As the software industry matures, those who were early to the game and reaped the benefits are now finding out the long-term price there is to pay. Legacy. And lots of it. Although COBOL monoliths are infamous within the financial industry, it is not the only place you find these early mastodons of the IT Revolution. Transportation and Telecom industries also have their fair share of large and expansive legacy technologies.

Where these systems brought their owners a leading market position earlier in their life cycle, they are now often the cause of many worries. In our experience, the maintenance of such systems can consume up to 70% of the IT Budget. Leaving very little time and resources to focus on innovation. 

Innovation that helps you compete for the hearts of consumers that are getting used to an ever-increasing flow of new features and opportunities.

So what is the answer here?

We have seen that organizations can lose market position very quickly if they fail to innovate. When it comes to legacy, it means we have to shed some of the weight. We need to modernize industry-wide. The challenge is that it is easier said than done.

Not so sure of the importance or the effect of modernization?

No worries, I have a great example. Let’s turn to NASA. In 1969 NASA put a man on the moon. And after that, the sky was no longer the limit. NASA started to dream of putting a person on Mars and started planning accordingly. First, a stepping stone off the planet is needed; the International Space Station. To get this built a mode of transportation was required, hence the Space Shuttle program.

This program aimed to provide an affordable means of getting into space. Some odd 40 years and 135 missions later we can conclude that 209 billion USD was spent, oftentimes consuming roughly 70% of NASA’s yearly budget for human spaceflight. NASA was stuck. The maintenance was so expensive it was throttling any innovation and stopping them from going beyond the space station.

NASA’s bold decision? 

To do away with the Space Shuttle program and rely on the market to get their astronauts into space. This is a severe and critical decision. However, with the launch of the Artemis 1 rocket last week, we can see that NASA was able to rekindle the dream of getting to Mars.

The lesson?

If NASA can modernize, then most of us should be able to do the same. I mean, their work is actually rocket science. How could anything else compare?

Okay, okay. Maybe I am quick to make this conclusion. Modernization is indeed not a small feat. But it can be done. 


By knowing the factual reality of your application landscape and by being able to monitor progress toward your desired outcome. Businesses that have opened up the black box, whether that be an entire application landscape or a specific system can:

  1. Know their current state – Sigrid | Landscape Scan
  2. Required future state  – Sigrid | The Software Assurance Guiding platform
  3. How to get there – It’s what SIG does best

These three factors make a world of difference and allow for an agile approach to modernization. 

Considering the size of the puzzle, this is the only way to go, and that is forward with complete transparency. There is no silver bullet! So kick-start your modernization by getting an insight into your actual reality.

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