By Lauren Fritsky
The bulk of IT costs goes toward maintaining creaky infrastructure and complicated, often archaic systems. Three quarters of the average IT budget is spent on legacy systems alone, according to Microsoft. IT departments pay a steeper price. IT staff bogged down in keeping legacy systems a few steps from death’s store and tuning up old infrastructure have no time to innovate or be strategic. This creates a vicious cycle in which the department keeps the status quo without ever having a chance to prove both its technical and business power.
Organisations that can simplify their IT environments – standardise hardware, better manage applications and keep the data centre uncluttered – can reduce costs, better pool resources and help IT leverage technology to drive business results.
One issue: Years ago, it was server sprawl causing a headache in the data centre. Now, it’s virtual machine sprawl. The latter might sound innocuous, but taking server virtualisation too far – basically, creating VM after VM just because you can – might result in a mess of too many VMs that overtax your infrastructure and cause the cost of licenses to soar.
One solution: Virtualisation management technology and services can help IT better manage and contain the virtual environment. Through our managed services team, Datacom can oversee server management and monitoring so you keep virtual sprawl in check. The process begins through automation, which helps streamline the virtual environment and more quickly provision virtual machines. The end result is a self-service method that allows IT to routinely provision, secure and manage VMs so they don’t spiral out of control.
One issue: Legacy systems maintenance can keep IT from developing innovative new applications that could boost system efficiency and end-user satisfaction. There’s also research demonstrating that the more apps a business runs, the less efficient it is. The organisations with the best performance run an average of 20 applications, according IT research by The Hackett Group; lesser-performing companies run 39 apps on average.
One solution: Many organisations keep legacy systems going because they fear the cost and challenge of updating them. Leveraging the help of an IT outsourcer to plot and execute your legacy system modernisation or transformation can take the headache out of revamping your business-critical applications so you can get better use out of them. The first part of the process involves conducting an audit of all the apps running in these systems. Identifying which ones are critical to the business will the set the wheels in motion to clean up the clutter.
How have you planned to reduce IT complexity in your organisation?
By Lauren Fritsky
Legacy system modernisation is one of those IT projects many organisations know they should pursue, but often put off due to the perceived complexity. A cost exists, however, when organisations delay this endeavour too long: Microsoft reports that organisations devote almost 75 per cent of IT investments to maintaining legacy systems, leaving little room for strategic innovation. Maintaining legacy systems past their due dates also drains IT resources and can result in an inflexible technology environment when old platforms have to be used.
By incorporating these legacy applications into the newer enterprise architecture so they can still be used, organisations not only free up resources to target new projects, they also give the business more agility and reduce costs associated with the old system requirements. Here are a few tips to ensure your organisation’s legacy modernisation or transformationeffort is a success.
1. Thoroughly assess applications
Taking stock of applications is the cornerstone of a modernisation plan. Organisations should review their current IT environment and assess how these applications are used and the data they involve. Developing this application portfolio helps determine how these assets fit in with long-term strategic goals at the organisation. Businesses will also get a picture of the total cost of ownership of current legacy systems.
2. Outline an approach for each legacy application
Once organisations have evaluated their application portfolio, they can determine the exact methods for legacy system modernisation. Organisations essentially have four options: keep the applications running the same way, migrate them, redevelop them or simply retire them. Most organisations will use a mix of these approaches and can even use different modernisation approaches for different parts of the same application. It all depends on how much functionality an organisation still requires of these individual legacy applications.
3. Roadmap the integration
Most legacy system modernisation projects involve some level of system integration, and plotting the best course of action can decrease the chances of running into problems mid-project. Not only will organisations likely employ more than one approach to legacy modernisation, they might wish to also integrate with other applications to provide a better computing experience. Datacom recently helped one finance organisation that had acquired another business to integrate a legacy system with a newer system to enable more sustainable functionality. Datacom’s familiarity with the IT systems at the organisation, with which it has a more than 10-year partnership, enabled a smoother integration.
How has your organisation planned for a successful legacy modernisation or transformation project?