Voices from Accenture Public Service


Many health and government organizations run using core systems that meet their processing needs but do not support the agility and flexibility for the future. While digital decoupling  can help an organization create a new experience, they will still need to modernize their core systems. In-place modernization a low-risk, progressive approach.

In-place modernization enables organizations to update their core systems without completely overhauling them. An application’s code will be updated while the existing database and integration points are retained, minimizing the risk of change and allowing old and new code to co-exist.

Strategy What it is When to use it

Digital Decoupling 


Separate the customer experience and applied intelligence platforms from the core processing platform.


Digital Decoupling








Update or completely redevelop the code in an existing system to be more agile and modern.


Legacy system is monolithic and a microservice decoupling strategy is not feasible due to the system’s structure.


Microservice Decoupling 


Replace specific functions within an existing system with a microservice.



Microservice Decoupling



Parallel Replacement 


Replace an existing system with a new, packaged solution.


Parallel Replacement


In this case, an application’s code isn’t simply converted—while that may be cheaper, it’s not a pragmatic option because it fails to improve agility and sustainability, especially if the code is as poorly structured as it was before. The in-place modernization strategy seeks to redevelop the code into a new structure, one that can enable future agility. We avoid replicating data and converting between new and existing systems, and any existing systems connected to the database will still operate as usual.

The biggest challenge with in-place modernization is retaining focus on the transformation over time. It’s a progressive approach that delivers results incrementally. Leadership must commit to the long journey and remain focused on the outcome.

In the same line, a future-looking roadmap will be needed to prepare for the next step in the journey. Once the current systems have been modernized, the organization will need to envision where it’s headed next. There are two key options to consider at this point:

  1. Consider migrating everything to a new platform, such as the cloud.
  2. Consider implementing microservices with a microservice decoupling approach.

How do you know if in-place modernization is right for your organization? There are a few cases where I would recommend a different approach:

  • When a packaged product meets the organization’s needs, a parallel replacement strategy  is best. End-to-end package options for government and health organizations are rare, though there are some that can replace specific functions.
  • When the existing system is too old for the technology to support in-place modernization then digital decoupling combined with parallel replacement are better options, although this introduces considerable risk.
  • When the existing system is more modern, it’s possible to move directly to microservices with the microservice decoupling strategy.

Large, complex legacy systems require a careful approach to modernization. In-place modernization is a viable strategy for organizations when existing technology is sustainable but is not modern enough to support a complete shift to newer, more flexible technologies. In my next blog, I’ll discuss another strategy, called microservice decoupling , that is best suited to more modern systems.

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