Dictionary.com provides the following definition of a legacy system:
'A computer system or application program which continues to be used because of the cost of replacing or redesigning it and often despite its poor competitiveness and compatibility with modern equivalents.'
This definition may make 'legacy' a dirty word, however legacy systems often continue to add great value to an enterprise. Despite lacking the luxuries which newer technologies provide, legacy applications tend to remain in use longer than most had planned. A successful roadmap aligns business and migration strategies to convert enterprise systems to high performing assets having a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and attractive return on investment (ROI).
The only constant is change, and the technology arena is no exception. In fact, technology moves at the speed of light. Businesses invest in technology to meet their operational needs at that time. Even with the best intentions and disciplined efforts to project future needs, change will catch up to your technology. Your IT solutions will be challenged to meet the ever changing needs of your business demands.
Technology does not simply expire. How does a system begin to lose its value to the enterprise? There are numerous reasons why a software solution is a candidate for change:
Enterprises commonly lack process orientation across the organization confining cost, production and performance issues. This remain an ever evolving process which is facilitated by dynamic solutions. The various tools and the components developed using advanced technologies have a quick response and agility to the modernized business process and strategically bring-in-line IT and business. It leverages the business agility to implement new innovations accelerating business efficiencies and provides you the flexibility of altering or modifying your business process at any strategic point as per the needs.
Modernizing legacy systems can help the enterprise overcome numerous challenges - resource limitations, operation and production inefficiencies, non-alignment between business and IT strategies, resistance to agility and new changes in business models, and can re-establish IT as driving force to drive operation value and business performance.
Every organization is unique. Each have different goals, needs, and have a distinct location in its IT life cycle. The appropriate path cannot be determined without knowing where you are now, and where you need to be. A technology and business process assessment is essential in the identification of current state and desired future state. An objective analysis into how accurately existing process and technology drive operational value is also an opportunity to identify business and IT alignment. Factors including ROI and TCO help determine the appropriate methods of modernization. These are the indicators which will crystalize your roadmap to the desired future state of your system.
Several methods of modernization are available. The appropriate method is driven by the assessment results, and the financial goals determined for ROI and TCO. Risk mitigation strategy is also a consideration.
Upgrading Legacy Systems - The languages and technologies used in the legacy system are upgraded to the latest and greatest versions.
Replacement - Specific components or a singular component may be identified as the weakest link. A user interface, middle tier, or data base system may introduce a significant bottleneck or inefficiency. The replacement of these targeted components often produces significant cost effective results.
Strategic Forklift - Often times a complete migration away from a platform is unrealistic, however the benefits of a new platform are desired and justified. A strategic forklift allows for a planned migration; a workflow at a time. Vertical slices of a solution can be upgraded and remain integrated with the legacy system. This provides great flexibility in cost, timing, and risk mitigation.
Migration - A complete migration away from legacy produces the greatest immediate impact to your business. Efficiency is maximized however this methodology commonly requires the greatest investment and can introduce the most risk. With appropriate planning and execution, migration can drive tremendous value to an enterprise.
Leale Solutions works intimately with your business to identify and execute the 'Roadmap Away From Legacy' best suited to meet your unique business challenges and operational goals.