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Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater



Written by Martin Cooperwaite, co-founder, Kiandra IT

During their journey, most businesses reach the point where they have a legacy system that doesn’t meet the needs of the organisation for the future.

This legacy system is deeply embedded within their organisation, and probably runs a large part of their operational core.

They cast their eyes outward for a solution and start engaging with providers. And they either assume or more likely are told, “you’ll need to replace the legacy system”.

Shock/horror! But the situation might be that the vendor has an agenda that isn’t in complete alignment with your best interests. Obviously every business wants to sell their wares and I’m not begrudging anyone for that, however the replacement of a core legacy system should not be taken lightly, as the risk of issues during the transition from old to new can be massive. That’s because like roots of a tree, the legacy system is often more intertwined than is realised, with its tendrils more far reaching throughout the organisation than is properly understood. It’s not just applications and data, but also the processes, awareness and staff habits.

Often providers will be saying that you’ll have to replace the legacy system because it simply fits in with what they want to sell, they get some kind of benefit from a vendor relationship they have, or simply because it makes things easier for the provider because they then don’t have to deal with the hassle of a legacy system.

However this is your business core that they are playing with, and what’s awesome is that you can bring the richness of modern software to old platforms, with a bit of lateral thinking and some smarts.

Of course you need to move with the demand or expectations of your customers, you definitely can’t procrastinate or you will be left behind. However make sure that you’ve partnered with someone who’s properly assessed how you might be able achieve the same goals, without putting your core business operation at risk by unnecessarily replacing the heart and lungs of your operation, when you only needed to replace a leg. You might save a good chunk of coin too.