Legacy Estate – the 007 approach

13817062_sThe need to maintain a Legacy estate while freeing resource for Digital Initiatives is one of main challenges that CIO’s are facing according to Rosa da Silva’s keynote speech at the Forrester Forum in Lisbon (http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500247366/CIOs-need-to-severe-legacy-IT-to-help-the-business-digitise ) . There is a need to free resources to be able to do any development and Rosa da Silva says he uses an ‘007’ team with a license to kill any legacy services that are not needed. Thought this seems a radical approach most people involved in cost reduction at any point have been through the conversations about switching things off if there is no business cash for it, and even switching services off to find out who actually own them and if they are used. so this is not a new problem nor even a particularly radical solution.

The drag of resources to maintenance rather than into new developments has been a problem for the technology industry for a very long time. Trying to find the financial headroom to do some needed development has been a constant headache so reducing spend on existing system has long been a target of CIO’s ;

So is it different with Digital?

  • Is it the way that digital changes not just the technology but the whole of the development and delivery approach?
  • Is it that the cool kids are in the Digital space with ideas and terminology that don’t fit with the existing IT department view and outlook?
  • Are the real reasons for getting rid of legacy systems is as much about changing culture as about freeing cash?

The reasons are probably as many different reasons as organisations but the way that the Digital teams interact with the legacy teams can have just a big an impact as the ways the systems interact. There needs to be cultural bridges between the Digital people that want the system to be changed every day to meet customer needs and the legacy support people who don’t want to follow RBS into the news by unravelling the spaghetti http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jun/18/rbs-and-other-banks-have-creaking-it-systems *.

The real balance is finding a way for the Digital part of the organisation to be disruptive without being destructive. But there are probably lots of views on the best way to do that and I’d be interested to hear some of them.



*(the original link to the FT pointed to a page that wanted a subscription. I have updated this to point to a Guardian page thatwill remain free)

This post was originally on the LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/legacy-estate-007-approach-graham-patterson?published=u 

Graham Patterson

Graham is a Managing Consultant at ASE specialising in Strategy Development, Enterprise Architecture and Architecture driven delivery. By harnessing business and technical skills, he ensures successful outcomes. He brings excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, astute and effective stakeholder management, together with a thorough approach and a strong technical background. Graham is a Fellow of the BCS.

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