Answer These Big Questions For Legacy Modernization

by Sherry Hart

How do companies deal with requirements to modernize ancient or failing legacy software systems? If you're looking into this type of IT upgrade, take a look at these design questions that often come up when migrating from an old legacy system to a new cloud connected or otherwise improved state-of-the-art IT architecture.

What Does Your Legacy System Do?

One of the biggest questions is what kinds of functionality the new system will have to preserve for an operating business. Does your legacy system support calls? Does it keep specific customer identifiers and histories? Do workers use it to input data about products and services? You need to document what's most valuable to the core operations that are in place so that they will be supported through the whole migration process.

What About Training?

There's also the practical question of how existing people and potential newcomers will learn the ropes of a new system. Vendors often schedule dedicated training sessions for workers to help everyone at a client company get up to speed about how to use the new interface attached to a more modern system.

What Is Your Warehouse, and Where Are Your Silos?

Part of the value of modern cloud connected systems is their ability make data transparent and free it from information silos or isolated places where it isn't accessible.

With this in mind, it's helpful to define a central data warehouse or other repository that serves the business in terms of analytics, business intelligence and more. Then look at where information tends to get hung up and how a new system can alleviate this kind of problem. For example, there may be problems with the middleware that brings current data out to serve sales people or others. Fix these flaws at the design stage so that they don't stymie business later.

Uptime and Redundancy

Another big question is how the vendor will preserve system function when it's needed. If the system is housed off-site, the client company has less control, so it is important that the systems have to be there when they're needed. An uptime provision in a service level agreement helps to clarify the potential for system failure (or success) on a regular basis. Vendors can also consult about data redundancy that will protect client data if there's a natural disaster or other problem at the vendor's primary storage location.

All of this is central in planning successful migrations from old legacy systems that are not allowing businesses to move ahead at full speed.