The Delicate Path of Managing Legacy Systems

Dateline: August 7, 2015

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

‘Legacy systems’ is not a dirty term, but it may seem so.  Recently, Michael Krigsman, a popular ZDNet blogger on IT Project Failures, wrote a thoughtful piece about how CIOs must lead their companies through the delicate path of managing legacy systems, since they get in the way of companies’ use of more modern technology.  In Legacy Tech Can Kill the CIO, Krigsman makes a clear argument about why the CIO must find a way to balance legacy investment with innovation or risk losing their executive level leadership role.  If the CIO cannot steer the ship towards innovations, then new leadership must step in and do so.  He explains,

Technical obstacles interfere with the ability of IT to offer modern services to end-users. For example, allowing users to access all corporate services from mobile devices or providing them with sophisticated analytics tools can be difficult when the legacy infrastructure requires bolt-on products, patches, and workarounds.

The cost of maintaining legacy infrastructures can crowd-out the company’s investment in new technology. Research from Forrester indicates that only 28 percent of IT investment goes toward innovation; the remainder supports old technology.

He concludes by commenting that CIOs must find a way to develop an innovation agenda that overcomes the drag of legacy technology.  It’s their responsibility as leaders.  The rest is just management.

How can you maintain the focus on innovation and growth given your legacy systems?  

That’s a WRAP!  Have a fantastic weekend!

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