As organizations continue to advance on their digital transformation journeys, they face one major obstacle: their legacy technology.
Old applications and infrastructure components are often difficult to get rid of because they’re so ingrained into the culture of the organization. At the same time, however, the downsides associated with holding onto them are impossible to overlook, and they keep becoming more pronounced as the available alternatives get better and better. But just because some legacy applications and infrastructure components can’t be readily replaced doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to streamline them to make the business processes they support more efficient.
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Why Streamline Legacy IT Systems
Legacy IT systems are by definition outdated, but there are several reasons why it makes sense for some organizations to still rely on them. Because organizations with legacy IT systems have been using the same technologies for some time, they tend to be deeply familiar with them and know their quirks inside out.
What’s more, legacy technologies are usually already paid for, so it often seems financially sensible to extract as much value from them as possible. While valid, these and other reasons for keeping legacy IT systems in place are overshadowed by their downsides, which include:
- Security and compliance: Many legacy IT systems haven’t received a security update in a long time, and they may contain unpatched vulnerabilities that any moderately determined hacker can exploit with relative ease. The same vulnerabilities can cause major compliance headaches, especially for organizations in heavily regulated industries.
- Data silos: Legacy information technology often times from a time before data portability and interoperability were seen as essential features. That’s why it’s often very difficult—if not downright impossible—to move data from one legacy system to another, leading to the emergence of data silos.
- High total cost of ownership: Holding on to legacy systems often seems to be the less expensive option, but it rarely is. Even when completely paid for, legacy systems still require costly maintenance, and they also limit how productive the organization can be, causing employees to waste precious time on process that could be accomplished much quicker with modern technology.
- Integration with new technology: Modern business solutions are designed to play well together. They use standardized data and file formats and can communicate with other solutions via their application programming interfaces (APIs). Legacy systems are typically impossible to integrate with new technology, which limits their usefulness.
- Poor performance: Legacy systems were designed to meet the needs of organizations operating in a completely different business environment. As such, they rarely perform as well as they were intended to when used in a contemporary business environment. Their poor performance may even be a turn off for new hires and existing employees alike, prompting them to look for other job opportunities.
These and other downsides are why it makes sense to replace legacy IT systems that can be replaced and streamline those that can’t.
Tips for Streamlining Legacy IT
Now that we’ve explained why it makes sense to streamline legacy IT systems, let’s get down to the more important question: How? Here are several tips to help you successfully achieve your legacy IT modernization goals.
Tip 1: Conduct a Thorough IT Inventory
You should always start by conducting a thorough IT inventory of your hardware and software assets to gain a deep understanding of where you are right now. In addition to cataloging your systems, you should also describe how the systems are used and which business processes they support. You might discover systems that don’t actually support any current businesses processes—or at least not any processes that are actually important.
Tip 2: Consider Cloud Alternatives
After conducting a thorough IT inventory, it should be a blessing to identify which legacy systems can be replaced by available cloud alternatives without much effort. This low-handing fruit can provide an excellent return on investment, so plucking it first is always a good idea. Systems that can’t be moved to the cloud by using the lift-and-shift approach to cloud migration or adopting a suitable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering can often be modernized by moving only the data associated with them out. When data is extracted from legacy systems and moved to the cloud, it becomes much easier to analyze it using modern solutions and access it from any place and any device.
Tip 3: Automate Pieces Within Your Legacy Environment
Legacy IT systems often support repetitive workloads whose segments can be automated using readily available tools. One task automation tool that most organizations already have at threats disposal is Microsoft PowerShell, this component of the Windows operating system is included with Windows 7 and later and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later. There’s also Microsoft Power Automate, a capable robotic process automation (RPA) software solution that can be used to streamline repetitive tasks and paperless processes using low-code, drag-and-drop tools.
Conclusion – Modernize and Streamline Your Technology!
Legacy IT can weigh your entire organization down and make it difficult for you to achieve your business goals.
The good news is that there are ways to effectively streamline it without replacing the outdated parts altogether. At OSIbeyond, we have extensive experience with streamlining legacy IT to boost organizational productivity and efficiency.
Schedule a free consultation today and let us use our experience to make your organization more competitive.