To understand, one must first understand its meaning and connotations. All too often, it has negative perceptions — bringing to mind synonyms such as old, antiquated, outdated, complicated. Rarely does anyone consider that these were built using state-of-the-art technology of their time — even if that was 10+ years ago.
To upgrade or maintain
One must understand that legacy does not mean ‘ready to be scrapped’ — they are still part of the organization’s IT infrastructure, and are required to manage and enable key business functions, so words like critical, core or integral are more apt to describe them.
Also, let’s not overlook how integrated these systems are within the spaghetti diagrams that often represent the technology stack. Untangling these wires and connecting to a new or upgraded core application is not an easy task.
In fact, this complexity is one of the biggest barriers to making the decision to embark on a modernization program and getting the organizational buy-in that is required to ensure its success. Another major challenge that companies today face is in the alternate–finding the best way to make their technology current and relevant, and to future-proof their solution for years to come.
Business drivers for sound decision-making
To upgrade technologies is a difficult choice to make, given the time and cost involved. Hence, it should be made based on very solid reasons as to why it is needed.
Some key Business Drivers include:
- Enhanced customer experience– expose data to customer experience platforms and enable additional capabilities including the implementation of web, mobile and social media applications to increase level of customer engagement.
- Increased operational efficienc — introduce more intuitive processing, reduce manual interventions, and improve the look & feel through customization and better screen flow.
- Reduced TCO of applications through options such as cloud-based as-a-service and pay-per-use solutions that may offer more scalable and manageable services at affordable rates, managed service options to outsource the burden of maintenance, and automation of coding and testing.
- Improved Security– Outdated systems are highly vulnerable to malware attacks and data breaches. Modernization of legacy system provides for better security and protection.
- Simplification– Componentization for more effective code management, resulting in higher quality and mitigating risk associated with changes
- Increased Flexibility to support enhanced business efficiency– with newer technology, it becomes easier to plan for the future, design, and launch new features and services in less time. Web-based systems allow your employees to work from anywhere in real-time.
- Improved Scalability to enable business agility and growth for your sponsors. For instance, online services can provide more value to your services and promote sales.
- Increased Re-usability through a new architecture design — With portable modules, you can efficiently manage resources and achieve optimum results.
What’s a good starting point?
Once you’ve decided to make the move, there are more options, choices and decisions ahead — should you consider a big bang migration to another solution altogether, outsource to another platform in a SaaS model, take on the task internally, or engage a partner? And equally importantly, how will you move forward with adopting new technologies while keeping the lights on for the current solution, to support, maintain and potentially enhance it while upgrading or replacing key components or even the underlying architectural structure itself?
A client once said to me, “We need the flexibility to be able to turn on a dime and be agile in our legacy transformation, because the business will not just stop so technology can catch up.“
In summary, modernization of your legacy application paves the way for Digital transformation through automation, integration, application rationalization and cloud migration. Today, we need to operate in a much more digital and connected environment — and this change has come about almost overnight. A sound “Digital Strategy” needs to be actioned now in order to survive and rise to the challenges of operating in today’s climate.