Out With the Old in With the New
Many organisations are looking to transform their IT, to provide efficiencies and improve the bottom line. Businesses have been transforming for years, but large IT functions have decided that it’s now about ‘Digital’. My view is different. What we need is simple, lean and agile transformation that gets them to their goals sooner and without spending obscene amounts of money.
Digital transformation shouldn’t be about replacing legacy (or heritage) systems which I fundamentally believe still have a role to play in today’s digital world – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! It is certainly however the case that some systems need enhancing or tweaking. Some of this is born from the dated notion of creating or procuring dedicated application/solutions for specific jobs. I’m firm in my belief that to better support business we need to move away from silo’d practices to more open and collaborative technology approaches. But I re-iterate that legacy still has a key role to play.
I’ve recently witnessed very similar problems within two different clients, both of whom have similar challenges. Each has numerous monolithic systems that are fundamental to running their organisations and which cannot be easily upgraded, enhanced or replaced. The problem for both clients is that the Management Information (MI) is not rich enough to meet the needs of their constantly evolving businesses. Both organisations require an intelligent event driven architecture that fuses old with new business demands, allowing them to provide feature rich near-time analytics, inject internal and external data sources, manipulate collated data and provide organisations with the platform to improve business insight. All of which will allow organisations to understand where they can prioritise and target improvement activity.
A lack of MI on legacy systems in use, a poor service from the incumbent systems integrator and inefficient business processes led to another client being unprofitable in one key revenue stream. With the introduction of a new strategy to provide greater MI – underpinned with smart open source technology which could seamlessly interact with the system – the problem was diagnosed enabling the client to put in place specific corrective measures to return the service to profitability.
I could (and often do) go on. But the long and the short of it is this. The automatic and commonly accepted default shouldn’t be to get rid of legacy systems without pause for thought. Enhance them and understand how the data flows. With the right middleware solution and analytics capability in play, further value can be extracted – and provide the breathing space required to properly consider a variety of options for future transformation.