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The Keys to Modernizing Legacy IT Systems

Business success is a three-legged race, and legacy IT systems are your sweaty, obese partner. To really maximize the business’s ability to move fast and evolve, architecture needs to be modernized. In an article for CIO magazine, Mary K. Pratt describes the various factors to consider when it is time to modernize.

Sprinting for Speed

The cost of not modernizing legacy systems is compound: It inhibits productivity and innovation, and it is expensive to maintain over time. In some cases, it is like paying money to keep up a roadblock. But it is not always clear when this is happening, because “legacy” can mean different things at different times. It is best to agree upon a common definition of legacy before moving to modernize. Live Nation’s definition of legacy looks at three elements: “the vendor has stopped supporting it; the system isn’t owned by someone in the business, even if it’s mission-critical; or it’s not in the cloud.” Your definition may not be quite the same, depending on your degree of investment in the cloud, but you get the idea.

Moving ahead into modernization, providing adequate training to employees on new technology will be crucial. Seek out relevant courses and encourage people to pursue certifications. And if the new technology does not behave exactly as you need—or if there is more complexity than you expected—seek out additional support and services from third-parties.

But in spite of the previous conversation, modernizing for the sake of modernizing is not always a practical move. Sometimes resources are better used elsewhere. To make modernization worthwhile, it should first be shown that there will be a palpable ROI, and factors of compliance, data integration, and security must be considered as well. Pratt adds this:

[Shanna Cotti-Osmanski, senior vice president of IT and CIO at Charles River Laboratories,] says it’s critical for CIOs to understand their own company’s unique needs along with what technologies will drive value and help differentiate itself in the market as they devise their modernization strategy.

“Every business has different goals and different strategies. So your definition of modernization has to fit with how you’re driving the goals of your company and meeting the needs of your customer,” she says. “Modernization to me means agility. Although there is a huge advantage to being in the cloud, it doesn’t mean we have to be in the cloud.”

For additional thoughts on modernization, you can view the original article here: https://www.cio.com/article/3249084/it-strategy/the-keys-to-modernizing-legacy-it-systems.html

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