New Value from Legacy Systems: 3 Approaches

In today’s world, innovation has become an essential aspect that cannot be overlooked, especially in the realms of technology. Be it the implementation of advanced tools or the introduction of novel methodologies, technology has an indispensable role to play in most organisations. To secure future success, key players in the technology sector are focusing on long-term investments, with a view to devising fresh approaches and implementing innovative solutions. Instead of maintaining legacy systems, such experts are concentrating on formulating new strategies and initiating fresh endeavours.

Exploring new technologies or managing a team that is working on an innovative system can be an exhilarating experience. Nevertheless, the pursuit of identifying and leveraging the next big thing can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavour. Though creating a new business system from scratch may take several months, improving an existing one may only require a few days.

For many years, technology managers have faced the challenging task of deciding whether to upgrade legacy systems or swap them out for more advanced models. Usually, such discussions take place after a system has outlived its usefulness. However, instead of waiting until you must modernise an archaic platform or invest a significant sum in its replacement, it is advisable to seek cost-efficient ways of extracting greater value from your existing systems on a regular basis.

Eliminate the Cobwebs from Your Files

When IT leaders handle a significant project, it is common for them to postpone implementing some features or extend deadlines. Depending on the timeline and intricacy of the feature, the backlog of deferred tasks can become quite substantial.

It is essential to acknowledge that, even though the items in the queue may hold significant value, a more urgent deadline must take precedence. At some point, we all have had to face tough decisions, which required postponing certain tasks until a later date, with the intent of eventually accomplishing them.

Despite our best efforts to curtail the backlog of tasks, we often end up putting them on hold when more urgent issues arise. Regrettably, after completing a project, many organisations choose to disband the team and distance themselves from the undertaking. This is especially true with complex endeavours, which account for the majority of initiatives.

If you have a highly skilled workforce, it would be a needless waste of both resources and time to pursue this any further. It is feasible that all prerequisites have been satisfied, thereby enabling you to concentrate on more urgent concerns without requiring a restart.

If you have ongoing projects, you may want to think about scheduling an additional sprint or two to handle some of the issues. Take a look at your completed projects and examine whether any of them faced delays due to interruptions in the development process. As such projects often involve significant and crucial components that were held back, assembling a team to handle the backlog could yield some beneficial outcomes.

Establish an API Layer

For many enterprises, integrating multiple technologies can present significant challenges. For instance, an e-commerce platform may face difficulties in accessing financial data kept in the ERP system. In the past, resolving such integration issues required costly and intricate custom integrations or middleware.

In recent times, the advent of cloud-based applications and new architectures, in combination with the availability of standard APIs and microservice-based designs, has eased complexity. Legacy systems may contain a wealth of data that is presently inaccessible, but could be made accessible via a well-defined Application Programming Interface (API). For example, providing a standard set of APIs to access order data could benefit both customer service and accounting teams.

Developing and rendering APIs accessible can lead to reduced costs over the long run. By having established interfaces available through standard APIs, it becomes easier to replace the underlying technology, as opposed to developing it anew.

Redesign of Infrastructure and Interfaces

In the case of older programs being run on outdated and less efficient hardware, adopting a modern infrastructure architecture could bring benefits. A feasible approach to curtail costs would be to transition older programs to the cloud, and integrating data storage, middleware, and user interfaces could yield comparable results.

Technology executives can take comfort in the fact that the competition among the major technology firms for cloud supremacy has resulted in reasonably priced and specialized technical assistance to enable application migration. Furthermore, enterprises should explore the potential of dynamically adjusting, provisioning, and retiring capacity, in addition to transferring legacy systems to the cloud, to rejuvenate dormant systems.

An established system could benefit from a new user interface, especially considering that legacy business systems often provide subpar user experiences. Even a small initiative centered on the user could lead to cost savings on support and training, as well as advances in user satisfaction and productivity.

Just as the ‘curb appeal’ of an older home can be enhanced by minimal investment, such as repainting the walls or upgrading the landscaping, the same applies to existing systems – upgrading them is generally quicker and more cost-effective than building a new system from scratch.

Given the shortage of qualified technical staff and the high cost of developing new equipment, it is a prudent strategy to make the most of existing infrastructure and resources. If the required skills are not available internally or via current partners, they can likely be obtained from outside sources. The necessary infrastructure is already in place, and with some smart modifications, it can produce impressive outcomes in a timely fashion.

As you formulate your investment plan, contemplate how your present infrastructure could potentially generate revenue. By producing concrete outcomes in an effective and cost-efficient manner, you will showcase your standing as a technological pioneer.

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