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In this blog series, I’ve been discussing continuous transformation strategies for government and health agencies. This is the final one: parallel replacement. With a parallel replacement modernization strategy, an organization moves from its existing platform to a completely new platform.

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.


In-Place Modernization


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.


Legacy system is too old or, alternatively, is relatively simple to migrate to a new system. When an end-to-end package is a good fit for the organization’s needs.

Parallel replacement is appropriate in a few cases:

  • When a packaged solution meets the organization’s needs. Since packages are typically end-to-end, integrated solutions, it makes sense to migrate over completely in one release. Case management is one area where packages suit most agencies’ needs.
  • When legacy technology is at the ends of its life. Systems that are too old for in-place modernization  need to be replaced more rapidly and a parallel replacement is more appropriate despite the increase in risk.
  • When a single release migration is low-risk. Moving everything over in one release is high-risk but feasible for less complex functions. Workflow and notice generation are examples.

Ideally, data is migrated progressively to the new system. The co-existence between the two systems while this migration occurs is challenging for a few reasons. For one, teams must come up with a release strategy that minimizes impacts to the business and users (internal and external). Also, if the data models in the new and old systems are different (common with packaged systems), teams must manage how the master data is used while migration efforts are underway. The effort to develop the co-existence can be as large as the implementation effort for the new system. Further, the need for a single functional release tends to create larger testing challenges to make sure the system supports the business needs appropriately.

I hope this has helped demystify modernization strategies for continuous transformation. Each strategy comes with its own set of viability criteria and challenges but all will lead government and health organizations towards becoming more agile and flexible, two needed traits as citizens come to expect more seamless and convenient digital services.

Do you have questions about continuous transformation strategies? Please leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions at the bottom of this blog, and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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