Almost any business that was not born yesterday maintains some amount of legacy systems, and this does not have to be a terrible thing. Reportedly 98 percent of executives integrate legacy systems with their current technology. Yet short-term stability and long-term viability are clearly two different subjects. Markus Balser and Daniel Behar discuss for Accenture the best way to manage legacy systems.
Past + Present = Future
Before making their recommendations, the authors share some statistics about the current state of affairs. For instance, while 82 percent of executives say their legacy systems support critical business aspects and are well integrated with other systems, another 85 percent also believe legacy systems are restricting progress toward digital innovation. And of even more immediate concern, 83 percent say there is not enough talent to maintain legacy systems.
In the face of such challenges, Balser and Behar suggest IT leaders take three actions:
- Find the value.
- Determine the strategic disposition of legacy investments.
- “Govern thyself.”
Not every digital initiative requires cutting-edge NASA technology to make a reality. Look at your initiatives and consider where legacy systems might be able to provide support. Rethink interfaces to open up core functionality. That being said, it should not strain the limits of imagination to think of a reason to keep legacy systems around; clear strategic value should exist. And for the pieces of legacy technology that remain in place, even if temporarily, their data should be fast and easy to access.
Finally, the authors say this about governance:
Freeing up legacy applications to become powerful drivers for digital innovation is not a one-time project, nor should it be relegated to IT alone. Because legacy applications and digital innovation touch all parts of the enterprise, central coordination and funding help to maintain the right balance of investment and attention between the two.
You can view the original research here: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-realizing-objectives-managing-legacy-optimization