“Original article is published by Forbes“
In the early days of business computing, many system administrators cobbled together custom software and hardware systems to meet their companies’ unique needs. Today, many businesses operate with an outdated tech system with many moving parts—in some cases, no one on the current IT team fully knows all its ins-and-outs.
To remain agile and realize the full potential of digitization, businesses must update or even dismantle these legacy systems—but it’s no easy task. Below 13 industry leaders from Forbes Technology Council share useful strategies on how businesses can begin.
1. Leverage an integration platform.
Use an ecosystem integration platform to glue together your customer- and supplier-related processes such as order-to-cash and procure-to-pay. This will give you the freedom to lay out a business-value-oriented roadmap that selectively prioritizes the movement of on-premise applications to SaaS, as well as modernizing certain purpose-built, on-premise applications via API-based integration. – Mahesh Rajasekharan, Cleo
2. Update your cloud investments.
By updating their cloud investments, organizations can modernize legacy IT systems while maintaining and improving agility. Cloud is a tool that allows projects to scale quickly, which is especially important during times of uncertainty such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Diversifying resources and investments in the cloud is a simple way for organizations to ensure they’re keeping up with the latest tech. – Nicola Morini Bianzino, EY
3. Find the wait time and eliminate it.
Wait times or delays kill agility, and this is even truer with legacy IT systems. Assess where the failures are in your workflows, then plan your attack. A continuous approach to modernizing your infrastructure may require changes to the presentation layer via APIs, integration with workflow or service management tooling, or improved monitoring and telemetry. – Vince Padua, Axway
4. Implement API gateway solutions.
Using API gateway solutions could serve as one of the great enablers for such an initiative. With digitization and cloud enablement as must-have abilities for organizations, APIs can serve as an abstraction and controller layer on top of these legacy IT systems and applications (Amazon Web Services are mostly API-driven). An API gateway helps build and operate the complete lifecycle of APIs. – Nitesh Sinha, Sacumen
5. Modularize the functions.
It’s best to deal with complex legacy applications by breaking down the monolith and modularizing the functions. This would make it easier to move to modern infrastructures such as the cloud and containers. – Jacqueline Teo, HGC Global Communications
6. Go for the sustainable networking approach.
Cloud computing is rapidly transforming the way companies operate, and the appeal of an overlay solution is that businesses can use this tool without ripping out their legacy IT hardware or processes. Creating a flexible infrastructure will help tackle unknown future changes. – Magnús Björnsson, Men&Mice
7. Define a phased approach.
One way of modernizing legacy IT systems without risk and while maintaining agility is to take a phased approach with well-defined steps to separate the user experience tier from the business logic and data tiers. It is also important to define the steps so that they are not sequential and not mutually exclusive. That means the modernization can progress in parallel, multiple tracks. – Eli Rosner, Finastra
8. Identify and eliminate duplicate functions.
CTOs working with in-house development and CIOs working with applications from third parties should first look at all in-house systems, determine which are serving the same purpose and decommission those. Leverage the ones that remain, and be conscientious about upgrading them frequently. As you move to SaaS, prepare for an ROI argument with the CFO about capital expenditure dollars versus SaaS dollars. – Akhilesh Agarwal, apex analytix
9. Automate what you have.
Implementing network automation with intent, intelligence and agility ensures that existing brownfield network devices and software are up to date and secure. This opens the door for organizations to safely introduce modern greenfield equipment and architectures. – Jeff Gray, Gluware, Inc.
10. Take the digital decoupling approach.
Most of our customers have huge technology debt, and they struggle with complex legacy technology and associated talent-availability risk. My recommendation would be to consider the digital decoupling approach to modernize applications. Implement DevOps across legacy tech and the new target platform identified for application disposition. – Gaurav Aggarwal, Avanade Inc.
11. Consider multiple systems instead of replacement.
Stop looking for new tech to replace the legacy systems—think about using multiple systems to accomplish the task but shifting accountability into other departments. Typically, legacy systems drive the business process. Instead, look for goals and outcomes, and then see how those can be “reimagined” to be more efficient and effective for the organization. – Thomas Polk, Midwest Eye Consultants, P.C.
12. Ensure senior management is committed.
I believe in the greenfield approach to IT transformation: The benefits of change outweigh the operational risks of replacing legacy systems. It’s important to ensure senior management’s commitment to leading the entire change project, redesigning development and delivery practices from end to end, and relying on industry best practices and common IT standards. – Asaf Ezra, Granulate
13. Enable employees to do the migration.
Modernization lies in people. Make the new system use modern tech, and enable employees to migrate the systems themselves. Once the early adopters in your organization jump on board, the others will want to join. The early adopters will also find the most glaring problems. Be prepared for a lengthy process, but if your internal leaders are behind it and are using it, you will succeed. – Tsvi Lev, NEC Corporation