IT Modernisation: Should we be assessing our Legacy Systems?
Posted by Catherine Stewart on 18 July 2019
A legacy system is an older software or hardware system that remains vital to an organization’s everyday functioning. The rapid evolution of technology means that many legacy systems run on obsolete technologies and are outdated. To keep up with the digital era - modernizing legacy IT is no longer a choice but a necessity. Every organization, irrespective of industry, must urgently construct a roadmap for upgrading and maintaining their legacy setups, in order to create new value and improved business outcomes. According to a survey, undertaken by our partners at Logicalis, ‘’complex legacy technology’’ is seen as a major barrier faced by CIO’s when adapting to IT modernization and transformation.
And so, this forms the question:
Is it time for you to be assessing your current Legacy System?
Installing a new piece of software or hardware into a business setting isn’t like making a small change to your home computer, inevitably it raises questions and concerns. However, it’s also true that the benefits of modernizing outdated technology far outweigh the risks of keeping a legacy system static. Deciding how best to evolve and modernize a legacy system cannot be made spontaneously but requires an environmental assessment of all relevant system features and attributes. Several factors need consideration when undertaking an environmental assessment.
Some initial questions to consider include:
- How old is your software/hardware?
- Can the system interoperate with other business systems?
- Does the current system support the business process model?
- What is the hardware failure rate?
- How is the overall performance of the system daily?
- What is the anticipated lifetime of the system? And more importantly, what is the required lifetime of the system?
Once you consider these factors, you should have a good overview of your current system and what it needs to evolve. Four strategic options for moving forward include:
1. Dismiss the System
Firstly, if your legacy system is not making an effective contribution to the current business process, typically due to changes since the system was first installed and the business no longer relies on it, many choose to dismiss their legacy system completely and work with a
variety of other tools to leverage their business.
2. Maintain the System
When the system is still needed, but where it is relatively stable and users do not request a fresh architecture or platform, choosing to maintain the system is the best option. This approach focuses more on processes, management, and workflow rather than the stack itself. This alternative may require rehosting or refactoring the code without affecting the characteristics or operations directly. Rehosting provides you the choice of cloud infrastructure, while refactoring includes line-by-line optimization of current software.
3. Transform the System
This option should be selected when the quality of the system has become diminished by continuous change and where a regular change to the system is still required. In this stage, many people choose to re-platform their system by migrating the application component to a new runtime platform; by making minimal changes to the code to adapt to the new platform, without compromising the features and functions it provides. Otherwise, some may consider materially modifying the application code so it can transfer to a new application architecture and fully exploit new and better capabilities of the application platform. Transforming the current legacy systems allows new possibilities with data, logic and usability without the difficult process of complete replacement.
4. Replace the System
When other factors such as new hardware mean that the old system can not continue to operate or when off- the - shelf systems are available that allow for the development of the new system at a reasonable cost, some choose to replace their entire legacy system. For most cases, the rebuild or rewrite of the application component from scratch can preserve the scope and specification, while also taking new requirements and needs into account.
Whether you’re planning to replace your entire enterprise application system, replace one application or component at a time, or apply localized patches, any approach to making the most of your legacy systems is better than no approach at all.
At PanonIT, we understand that an environmental assessment can be a time-consuming and sometimes daunting process. Those willing to come with an open mind can engage in formal assessment to seek opportunities for a positive change. In many cases, the recommendations will not include replacing a system, but rather suggestions on how to include the right updates, proper accessorizing, and good long-term planning for how to operate with a more efficient process, customized for unique means. Assessing your system today can set your business on the way to thriving for years to come.
Are you interested in IT Modernisation for your current Legacy System?
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I'm Catherine Stewart, a Business Developer for PanonIT. I was born in Ireland before spending six years in Scotland for University and work. In my spare time, I like to travel, cook and read mystery novels.