Leaving A Legacy

Posted by Brooke Lester on Aug 31, 2012 10:24 AM


Thinkronization Newsletter - August 2012

When thinking back on our lives, we want to leave a legacy and make our mark on future generations. But in the information technology realm, is legacy a good thing?

Wikipedia defines a legacy system as an old methodtechnologycomputer system or application. Legacy systems can hinder business growth as newer and more efficient products hit the marketplace. Legacy systems may become a liability due to high maintenance costs or require constant tweaking to fill in performance and capability gaps.

In a 2011 IDC Directions presentation, IDC analyst Matt Eastwood concluded that more than 70 percent of IT budgets are spent on operations and maintenance. This percentage suggests that little time and money is left for true IT innovation. So if it’s old, outdated and expensive, why are we still using it?  Why not use your budget to improve, upgrade and expand?

So how and when do you determine whether or not to leave your legacy system behind? Consider these questions:

  • Is your legacy system an asset or a liability? Is this a Band-Aid-type of fix or is it a legitimately scaleable system?
  • Is the decision to keep the older system simply an economic decision influenced by return on investment, vendor lock-in situation, or resistance to change?
  • Does your legacy system provide the functionality necessary to keep the business moving forward? If your system provides legitimate benefit to the company, it might make sense to continue to use it. Or does it simply consume valuable resources and result in continual support and maintenance challenges?
  • Is the bulk of your IT budget spent on maintenance or innovation?

Modernizing legacy systems helps the enterprise overcome possible hiccups such as — resource shortage, operation and production lags, misalignment between business strategies and IT, resistance to agility and new changes in business models — and brings out IT from the perspective of mere cost center to an optimized services partner boosting your business performance.

Forrester Research states, “The business only sees the tip of the iceberg in terms of IT work, but feels 100 percent of the spend. The least visible aspects of the IT budget—ongoing operations and maintenance—consume 67 percent of the IT budget. IT organizations need to streamline the portfolio, reduce waste and free resources for business innovation.”   A white paper commissioned by IBM addresses the consolidation and decommissioning of projects to deliver ROI.

For The Decision Maker...

InformationWeek Global CIO published the Top 10 CIO Issues for 2011. Number two on that list identified how the 80/20 budget traps becomes a competitive performance gap.

Others sources cite the top three IT priorities:

  1. Improving business process and efficiency (a “top priority” or “major priority” for 69.1 percent of businesses)
  2. Aligning IT priorities with business growth (61.1 percent)
  3. Increasing overall productivity with new technologies (59.5 percent)
More comprehensive integration tools and integrated systems will allow IT to be more efficient.  Efficiency in operations and maintenance leave more time and money for integration initiatives with line of business applications.

If you are trying to save money by prolonging the life of an outdated system, you’re not only investing in false economies, but you’re missing out on technological advances.  Technology advancement can pay a sizable ROI derived from savings on downtime, improved system efficiencies, remote system capabilities, energy savings, increased safety or a combination of those benefits.

How do you flip the ratio?

Step 1: Automate processes to reduce cost, improve accuracy and increase response time.
Step 2: Analyze infrastructure frequently to ensure efficient operation.
Step 3: Abolish unused or outdated software, hardware and code that bogs the system down.

This is justified by an increased volume of business, a quicker reach to market, reduced reinvestment cost, lowered maintenance costs and increased productivity from each employee.

For more information about how integrated integration systems can help your company flip the 80/20 ratio, please contact REMEDI Electronic Commerce Group at 614-436-4040 or inforequest@remedi.com.

For The Technician...

As a technician, how often do you think “I have too much to do and management doesn't understand the demands on my time”? Management also does not always understand why you may be slow at delivering the new projects because you are faced with daily, time consuming maintenance issues.  Often maintenance forces teams to push new projects to the backburner to keep a current legacy system producing at a minimal level, however, decision makers expect IT departments to push the business forward and meet the demands of their business strategy.

For the integration professional, a modern integrated suite of systems provides connectivity and data transformation for internal and external data systems, communications systems, BPM alerting/reporting, etc..  Connecting these systems allows the systems to inter-operate for obvious benefits of a comprehensive integration suite.   As a technician, this allows for the development of client specific patterns to various internal/external systems and functions can be developed rapidly from pattern templates that are customizable by partner.  The utilization of the templates allows for rapid integration infrastructure deployment, as well as integration solution by solution deployment.

The larger the business, the more focused they are on lowering IT infrastructure costs. 66.2 percent of the largest businesses (>500 staff) are lowering IT infrastructure costs, but this proportion declines for smaller companies until it represents only 44.4 percent of the smallest businesses (1-49 staff).

Patterns of expertise (POE) is a relatively new concept that allows companies (IBM is a leader) to achieve better integration of software, hardware and expertise. While traditional solutions require more time and money for installation and fine-tuning; patterns are already proven and instantly applicable, saving time and money.

The fluidity of a pattern (framework) takes a set of best practices combined with industry expertise and creates innovative development opportunities via patterns versus a traditional integration solution approach.

For more information about patterns and rapid integration deployment, please contact REMEDI Electronic Commerce Group at 614-436-4040 or inforequest@remedi.com.

For The Resource Manager...

You will retain the best IT resources by assigning more innovative development duties rather than maintenance responsibilities.  Legacy systems require talent with older “legacy” skill sets to maintain those systems. The legacy skill sets your staff possesses may not be the ones you’ll need them to possess when turning them to the development duties required in an environment of innovation.

Often IT resources feel burnt out or stagnant when they are faced daily with the constant maintenance of a legacy system rather than employing skills learned through new technology.  Developer talent will become a requirement to support IT/LOB innovated products, services, and systems. When talent is focused on innovation development versus maintenance, IT resource retention will improve, creating more fulfilling, enriching jobs. Are you developing your resources and your applications, rather than simply maintaining the status quo?

Some maintenance talent may not be able to transition to development talent.  As the talent manager, you will be responsible for filling this gap.

REMEDI can provide resources as you have gaps in skills when transitioning from maintenance to innovation. For more information, please contact REMEDI Electronic Commerce Group at 614-436-4040 or inforequest@remedi.com.

 

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