Over the past 30 years, there have been huge changes in business IT, and during this rapid growth, one area has been quietly getting out of hand. Like the volcano at Pompeii, business IT problems have been rumbling away for years, but have been ignored. Now, legacy systems are out of control.
Until recently, chief information officers (CIOs) could handle the risks that legacy systems present. Most IT teams include a member who truly understands the system. It is generally considered too risky to try to manage the system better, or migrate it to a new platform.But are CIOs living under a volcano that is ready to blow? A recent report suggests that this is the case.
Analyst Gartner claims: “Ageing and increasingly costly legacy IT systems are one of the biggest headaches, hindering business transformation and draining budgets. Those businesses that remain shackled to their creaking legacy systems will find it hard to compete in the future technology landscape and will increasingly find themselves overtaken by more fleet-of-foot start-ups.” Gartner went so far as to recommend that CIOs should “stop resuscitating costly legacy systems if they want to fight complexity in the enterprise”.
Pressure is now on CIOs to find ways to improve productivity and reduce the cost of the legacy system. Technology has improved to such an extent that legacy migration and better management of ageing systems have become accessible, stable solutions to CIOs.
However, it is crucial that firms consider all of the issues and look at the potential benefits before they decide to opt for management or migration. Companies are also looking to improve the time-to-market of their products. The mainframe is proving too cumbersome for the industry, and it is affecting companies’ competitiveness. In this instance, a total migration to a new platform could be in order. New technology means that this is less costly or risky than in the past. The fully automated solutions that are now available will remove the human error aspect and keep the system working.
As the people of Pompeii discovered – albeit too late – the world is shifting, and the rumble of imminent change cannot be ignored. Whether they opt for management or migration, it is time for CIOs to regain control of their legacy systems, before an eruption occurs. C
Simon Francis is director at Software Migrations.
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