Balancing Legacy Systems and the need to Modernize


A new generation of IT professionals has been faced with the challenge of delivering agile and digitally enabled products, all the while maintaining legacy systems that many systems still rely on. We know at this point that this combination can be a surefire way to take on new and keep on old technical debt.

Legacy systems have a nasty habit of consuming a large part of any organization's IT budget due to the fact that they are difficult to change and when they do need to be changed they can cause major impediments to future innovation. As business continues to evolve, technology becomes more integral to its success. However, when resources are taken up dealing with current IT systems, rather than  on  new innovative approaches, development teams are expected to do more than they can with what's left over. This is the first challenge that most teams will face when looking to modernize their data centres specifically (as mentioned in the original post). This challenge leads to ineffective business operations, but until your organization can afford to upgrade their infrastructure, maintaining the old one is necessary to continue business on a day-to-day basis.

A great way to think about coordinating between keeping old systems running while bringing them up to date is to look at how you remodel a house. If you have purchased an old house that doesn't have enough closet space, do you tear down the whole house? This would make your initial investment on the home go to waste and put you without a home for the time being. The similar logic applies to modernizing your IT systems.

So how do you go about modernizing?

Getting rid of redundancies is the first step to getting rid of technical debt that's accrued over time. For example, in data centres there are often duplicate data sets. While there are a number of reasons for storing old data sets for a certain period of time, they are often simply forgotten about and, therefore, become an unnecessary expense. Identifying and removing these data sets may seem like a simple solution to technical debt, but it is one that is effective.

Juggling between maintaining old systems and brining on new tech innovation is a struggle every business faces - finding how to reduce to costs of those legacy systems and reducing technical debt is integral to a business' success in a highly evolving tech environment.

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Filed in: Technical Debt
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