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Insights

A Practical Approach to Managing Legacy Systems & Data



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This is a guest blog that we have written for TechUK's Digitising Justice Campaign 2024 with our partner Archive360. Explaining our approach to ensure value for money and measurable benefits for customers looking to address their technical debt issues.

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Most organisations recognise that legacy technology and data are expensive to maintain and hinder their progress, yet few have a detailed approach to managing them.  The recent Annual Report from Public Accounts Committee[1] classified Legacy Technology as a “Big Nasty – essential spending which cannot be put off” and with good reason.   But that spending must be targeted and deliver measurable benefits.


The cost of maintaining legacy technology in your organisation (aka Technical Debt) increases over time if it is not addressed, due to increases in


  • Security Risk where updates and patches are no longer available.


  • Availability Risk where hardware reaches end of life, components become hard to source and people with the legacy system knowledge are harder to find.


  • Compliance Risk where legacy systems may not meet requirements such as those of GDPR for systems to be demonstrably “Secure by design and default” and to manage data retention and deletion.


  • Support Cost where outdated components and legacy skills are harder to source,  and suppliers risk-price their service, and


  • Roadmap Cost where the challenge and cost of migrating to newer systems increases as the gap between what you have and what you need becomes wider and where legacy systems are retained in parallel to their replacements.

 

And this is before you consider the efficiency gains and improved usability that modern user-centric applications can deliver for staff and the general public.  


With mounting costs and the increasing regulatory, customer, and employee focus on how organisations manage their data and its importance to the success of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), organisations can no longer afford to keep their critical and inactive data trapped and unmanaged in legacy applications.


However, when budgets are constrained “replace everything that is old” is simply not a viable option.  So, the public sector needs to ensure spending on Legacy Technology delivers value,  measurably reducing business risk and unlocking opportunities for data-driven innovation.


Our approach to this challenge is based upon 5 steps:


Assessment

A pragmatic and efficient legacy technology strategy must start from a position of knowledge.  Undertaking risk assessment and risk scoring enables targeted investment where it is needed to address risks to your business and support your roadmap.  Considering factors including resilience, security vulnerability, skills availability, component availability, historic stability, scalability, extensibility and commercial contractual position.


Planning

Decide which of the “5 Rs of Legacy Technology” best addresses the needs of your business for legacy each system and business it supports.


The five Rs of Legacy Technology Management: “Retain, Retire, Replace, Rehost or Replatform”

 

Then prioritise activities to match your budget, mitigate risk, minimise spend and accelerate your roadmap.


Essential Maintenance

Undertake the targeted maintenance activities that address the risk to your business while you undertake your plan.   This might include specific upgrades, interim support arrangements, sourcing spare components or introducing additional security controls or process.


Migration

Whether it is moving your data to a replacement system or moving your legacy system to a new hosting supplier, location or platform.   Moving your organisation away from legacy technology requires planning, skill and experience for spanning the old and the new applications, infrastructure, data and commercials.

With cloud services charged by consumption, it is often more efficient to retire older inactive data from business systems to an online strategic archive, where the data is searchable, secure and retention is managed, but without the burden of legacy systems.


Decommissioning

Decommission legacy services securely and ensure you realise and report on the benefits delivered to your organisation in reduced cost,  reduced business risk and opening up the value of your business data.


In Conclusion

Together, Through Technology and Archive360 have the experience,  process and technology to enable organisations like yours reduce the burden of Legacy Technology, plan an efficient path to more modern cost-effective systems and manage your critical and inactive data more efficiently and cost-effectively. 


To talk to us about how we can help your organisation reduce your legacy risks,  archive and manage legacy data and plot a path to more modern systems for your staff and the public, please contact: enquiries@throughtechnology.uk.

 

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