Seven top tips to reimagine your legacy systems as part of a digital transformation strategy

Seven top tips to reimagine your legacy systems as part of a digital transformation strategy

Paul Holland, Advanced

Guest blog by Paul Holland, VP of Operations, Advanced

As the 4th Industrial Revolution advances, it is bringing with it a need for change. This change is shifting organisations towards a more innovative, connected way of working that enables the enhancement of customer experience, and ensures businesses retain a competitive advantage. Achieving this involves rethinking the processes and culture within a business to boost productivity, recharging business intellect based on insight from powerful analytics, and reshaping the entire organisation with an ecosystem of innovation. Organisations who fail to embrace this digital revolution will be left behind.

An ecosystem of innovation cannot be created from an IT estate constructed of complex legacy applications and infrastructure. Legacy systems are still one of the top barriers to digital transformation. Software entropy and the adding of new systems of engagement to older systems of record continue to be challenging. Legacy systems and processes are not set up to allow companies to evolve, revolutionise and disrupt markets. This means that older, more established businesses might struggle with the technical incompatibilities of their legacy systems alongside the future-proof technologies they are looking to adopt. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to complete their digital transformation strategy.

For companies considering digital transformation options, it is imperative that their leaders step back from day-to-day busyness and away from the frenetic pace. Only then can they clearly review the plan for the modernisation of their proprietary legacy applications as part of these initiatives. Today, application modernisation needs to be more than the extension of old technology to the web. To transform to a truly digital enterprise, a greater change is required in an organisation’s legacy landscape.

We have put together seven top tips to consider when thinking about your digital transformation strategy:

  • Be bold and move quickly– most technology executives have been too conservative changing out back-end systems. According to Forrester, “Real digital transformation requires fast sweeping modernisation of old systems into new Cloud-based systems that are agile, mobile and able to deliver disruptive, real-time intelligence”. *
  • You cannot afford to be risk averse– it is not conducive to the innovative culture needed for real digital transformation. Forrester comments “While it may be riskier in the short-term, moving to a modern Cloud solution will get you on a new path that fosters business agility and allows you to take advantage of ongoing vendor innovation”.* In the world of digital transformation, low risk equals low reward.
  • Do not forget about the core legacy systems– it is vital to ensure you modernise and integrate these applications into the new systems of engagement as they drive your business and create differentiation.
  • Work with modernisation partners you trust– ensure their culture and approach is in line with your own. Check that they not only have the required technical skills and experience, but also the business acumen and market knowledge needed to help your business transform.
  • The days of detailed, set-in-stone, three to five year roadmaps are gone– agility and the ability to change direction are key. Market-leading organisations actually plan to alter their course in light of new opportunities that come along. A modern technology strategy should include working with organisations who will be able to help you achieve business goals you haven’t even considered yet.
  • Ensure your Cloud provider has the right service levels, guarantees and longevity– look at their long-term vision, the people in their team and determine how accessible they will be to you.
  • Keep an open mind– explore new ideas and encourage everyone in the organisation to contribute and think outside the box.

The bottom line is that organisations should be able to embrace the digital era with confidence – even those who need to integrate critical legacy applications. The Cloud can help deliver true and positive disruption now, and in the future. Those that dare to reimagine their entire business will reap the benefits with unprecedented productivity gains, soaring rates of customer satisfaction and increased visibility of business information, all while supporting consistent, informed and proactive decision-making.

*Forrester: “Your Digital Transformation Is Not Bold Enough – Five Signs Of Trouble And Key Fixes” – May 2017

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