Does Digital Transformation mean getting rid of legacy? - Pulse Q&A

Does Digital Transformation mean getting rid of legacy?

#digital transformation,#leadership,#kpi Number of answers: 0

Isaac Sacolick, President/CIO

, answered on 2019-02-19T18:25:55.532Z, 3 months ago

Not necessarily. It depends on your definition of legacy, but more important, is the technology or business process labeled as 'legacy' inhibiting the company's strategic plans. If the legacy is creating a poor customer experience, is difficult to upgrade, can't easily be integrated with other applications or data sources, is exhibiting poor performance, requires lots of people to support, or has risky security holes then there probably is good reason/rational to want to get rid of it.

Even if the answer is yes, then organizations can't replace all their legacy issues at once. It requires roadmapping. More often than not, it requires maintaining legacy systems for sometime.

There are cases where legacy isn't bad or needs to be replaced. If the technology is stable, does its job well, and is not a barrier to business needs then there's little reason to get rid of it.

upvotes: 2

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Lee Vorthman, Director of Information Security

, answered on 2019-02-21T02:33:07.871Z, 3 months ago

Agree with Isaac. Most organizations can't pivot on a dime so legacy doesn't go away overnight just because you want to transform to digital. Instead your strategy becomes digital first and therefore if/until you can move legacy to digital or decommission it, legacy will be around for a while.

upvotes: 0

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Mike D. Kail, CTO

, answered on 2019-02-21T02:38:43.634Z, 3 months ago

MyPOV - Legacy as a tag is not motivating. Typically it is still revenue generating, so extremely vital to the bottom line. Then the conversations shifts to being more inclusive on how to migrate to the next phase of the company and transformation.

upvotes: 0

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Akshay Sharma, Principal Analyst, neXt Curve

, answered on 2019-02-21T22:03:13.972Z, 3 months ago

Digital transformation typically involves a change in thinking, processes/methods/tools, with the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitization of assets, leading to newer workflows/metrics and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders. This may lead to newer AI/ML engines being leveraged, or newer algorithmic systems occurring which may still have legacy systems, but likely has newer Operational agility incorporated. As such non-strategic, inefficient legacy systems slowly will get transformed...

upvotes: 0

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Giles W. Crouch, Principal | CMTO, Ekspansiv

, answered on 2019-02-22T01:35:52.012Z, 3 months ago

Agree with the comments above...your question is a bit generic though. Do you mean legacy email systems? Databases? ERP tools? First define what you "think" is legacy. Then understand your technology debt. It's hard to define legacy without first understanding your technology debt, from there, you can approach the above issues.

upvotes: 0

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Bob Bales, Director of IT

, answered on 2019-02-22T12:56:54.759Z, 3 months ago

No. 'Legacy' never goes away and supports the baseline of revenue for most companies. Over time, what was updated to current technology becomes legacy. Digital transformation will evolve to the next item considered legacy eventually as it matures.

upvotes: 1

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Olga Kucherova, Director of IT

, answered on 2019-02-22T14:53:24.836Z, 3 months ago

I think, there is the dynamic balance between popping up the new challenges and digitalization process of the former ones. We never can automate all tasks because every single day brings us something fresh. The business, which I'm working for, isn't excluse.

upvotes: 1

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Sanjeev Jain, CIO

, answered on 2019-02-26T08:20:53.878Z, 3 months ago

More than legacy, we are living in digital world today, if one needs to be competitive in the market digital transformation is very critical for every organization. Client is always looking for quick turn- around and that is possible with going digitization. In summary, yes we have to get rid of legacy to improve productivity and efficiency.

upvotes: 0

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Tushar Bhatkar, CIO

, answered on 2019-02-26T09:41:57.763Z, 3 months ago

Digital transformation means getting rid of inefficiencies, it means enhancing customers experience, improving productivity. Digital transformation spans across processes, people and the way of working; wherein technology can act as an enabler. Like Robotic Process Automation can eliminate routine manual operations minimizing errors and inefficiencies, AI/ML can lead to magical customer insights enabling relevant customer experience. So I think, Digital Transformation may not be necessarily about getting rid of legacy, but it is surely about breaking the mindset of teams and organizations that subscribe to the philosophy of – “We always did it this way”.

upvotes: 1

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Raja Shankar Kolluru, CIO

, answered on 2019-02-26T23:07:51.18Z, 3 months ago

I think digital transformation entails a few things. In my interactions with various CXOs across different enterprises, here are a few asks from digital transformation:

1. Optimizing on the systems in the organization. This includes Master Data Management, unifying systems that do the same thing (like manage inventory or product catalog) across channels etc.
2. Improving process efficiency - This might include improved work flows, RPA and the like.
3. Being Agile - Improving the process to deliver functionality and to identify and prioritize features etc.
4. Autonomous groups - Setting up groups within the organization that specialize on parts of the business. (in short sketching the business context of the organization)
5. Brand Identity - (closely aligned to point (1) above) Unifying the brand across channels and providing a consistent experience to the customer across channels
6. Moving data to digital - this usually morphs with (1) above since most organizations have some sort of digital system already in place.
7. SOA, Micro Services, Enterprise Messaging, Enterprise Bus etc. - Again this can morph into (1) since what we are in essence doing is to identify and unify the systems that do the same thing and expose these systems as services.

As we can see point 1 above is very important and is an integral part of digital transformation. This might mean that you might have to get rid of legacy if the legacy system has severe limitations in scalability, flexibility etc. But by thinking of this as a legacy replacement exercise you might be missing the bus (no pun intended).

Most of the work I do on digital transformations focuses on point 1 above in some form or the other. (be it identifying these at the level of business or at the level of technology)

upvotes: 1

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Rajesh Deshpande, CIO

, answered on 2019-02-27T08:23:21.864Z, 3 months ago

Digital transformation is completely change the way consumers experience services and products. Artificial intelligence, Augmented reality have brought a drastic change. It is changing legacy systems in a fast way. Legacy systems will slowly give way to new age digital transformation

upvotes: 0

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Neil Cattermull, CEO

, answered on 2019-02-28T00:55:23.687Z, 3 months ago

A Digital Transformation should really be termed a Business Transformation utilizing digital technology initiatives. You may have legacy systems/products/services that are key to your business that need to adopt digital technology methods for accessibility/utilization/service delivery. The question of keeping legacy rather depends on if they are key to your business and how.

upvotes: 0

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Steven Hellyer, Director of IT

, answered on 2019-02-28T00:57:11.982Z, 3 months ago

Digital transformation should be more focused on the digitization of the enterprise, which typically results in gains in efficiency (less labor per input) and effectiveness (higher quality per output). Moving away from legacy systems typically lower structural cost while increasing agility and elasticity. I would argue we should seek to retire legacy technology debt wherever possible, but would not necessarily equate that to a requirement for digital transformation. That may create artificial barriers to digital transformation.

upvotes: 0

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Yoni Maman, VP of IT

, answered on 2019-02-28T00:58:12.838Z, 3 months ago

Short answer is “probably not”. Well not right away anyway. Core pain in getting rid of legacy is migrating and converting data. So once that’s planned and executed combined with digital transformation will help achieving that.

upvotes: 0

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Renata Kobylinski, IT Director, Director of Hosting and Engineering Services

, answered on 2019-02-28T03:12:38.132Z, 3 months ago

Digital Transformation is not an “IT thing”. It is the change on business models and IT is embedded on it. Legacy will be replaced in a faster way, but it is a natural process that occurs anyway. It is not about getting rid of the old stuff but being capable to be flexible and evolve in an agile fashion.

upvotes: 2

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Parth Sharma, CISO

, answered on 2019-03-01T13:26:26.97Z, 3 months ago

This requires a thorough business analysis about what you are going to gain with the digital transformation and what you lose while choose to stay with legacy system.
The idea of getting rid of legacy systems completely doesn't make sense because the technologies becoming outdated really fast today compared what used to be the scenario 10-15 years before. So, you can't overturn everything every time there is a better option available looking at pace of change today.
This is also true that you can’t expect the legacy system to provide you same efficiency and scalability in rapidly changing business environment. At the same time, the costs involved in the transformation doesn’t allow the organizations to fully adapt to latest technology available. In my view, prioritize must to have things and adapt your legacy system. The gradual improvement is the key to ensure you don’t lose the pace with changing technological environment and not overextending the cost involved which defeats the purpose of transformation.

upvotes: 1

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Susanne "Andy" Rossignol, CIO

, answered on 2019-03-05T18:26:32.441Z, 3 months ago

In most cases, the only thing that can get rid of legacy is the customer who no longer engages. With that said, customers don’t always know what they want or what’s best for them technologically. I enjoy being able to make huge changes in our stack in a short timeframe because we’re still very new and I don’t have to worry about user blowback. Maintaining legacy systems is often a drain of resources and slows the whole business down. So, while it’s a risk to make huge changes overnight, it’s an even bigger risk to change so slowly that you always look and feel outdated to customers. Everyone is fearful that business logic will break on new frameworks, but that’s why we should improve agile development methodologies and break things on purpose (like Netflix’ Chaos Monkey). In the end, it comes down to the risk tolerance of your users. Insurance software? Probably not going to kill legacy anytime soon. Social media software? It’s better to perform faster and look sleeker.

upvotes: 1

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Omar Shraim, CIO

, answered on 2019-03-05T20:12:30.286Z, 3 months ago

Any business seeks differentiation to gain competitive advantages. The ethos of digital transformation is the relentless pursue of how to do things differently towards greater value to customers and employees. The handling of legacy (retirement, upgrade, integrate) should be considered from such a holistic perspective.

upvotes: 1

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Harvinder Singh Banga, CIO

, answered on 2019-03-06T18:23:35.439Z, 3 months ago

Don’t treat the Digital a fancy any more but is the rudimentary necessity of the ecosystem. In legacy systems also technology was not really bad but the transformation to new slant; earlier from manual to computerisation and now from legacy based system to digitalisation gives the organisation an opportunities for the advancement of their process. In case the organisations do not set an advantage moving to digital like adding new values and impacts to customers experience or employee productivity, there is no point to be Digital. So it’s important for Digital to bring the change and get out of the legacy. In short you shouldn’t run legacy and digital together, transform completely.

upvotes: 2

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Swati Sankhye (Thorve)

, answered on 2019-03-07T18:23:35.439Z, 3 months ago

Digital transformation does not necessarily removes all the legacy processes, In fact every digital system is designed to cater the most basic functionalities as well as advance Technics of the legacy system. Legacy systems are considered to be non-flexible, rigid and are not scalable but in certain niche sectors systems stemed from legacy can not be discarded and digital transformation would cover a legacy system as an integral part of transformation through advance automation techniques.

upvotes: 1

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Manoharan Kothandaraman, CIO

, answered on 2019-03-13T15:39:31.617Z, 2 months ago

Digital transformation brings in radical changes to the legacy systems, processes, technology and skill set. New sensors and edge computing enable capturing & processing of critical data. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enable intelligent automation. Advanced analytics predict / prescribe mission critical actions, mobile apps and social media enable decision making anywhere anytime. Micro-services architecture and No-SQL databases break monolithic applications. Distributed Ledger Technology enable re-engineering of complex business processes. As the new technological advancements emerge and mature in near future, the legacy will disappear.

upvotes: 0

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Asif Alam, Managing Partner

, answered on 2019-03-13T17:04:24.691Z, 2 months ago

Digital Transformation is a continuous journey that enables your infrastructure to simplify the user experience by using latest technology - at every point of your journey you will always have something labeled legacy.

upvotes: 0

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Miao Song, CIO, Global CIO at Mars

, answered on 2019-03-13T23:59:11.196Z, 2 months ago

Digital transformation does not mean removing the legacy. In fact, it will help to improve the legacy. The legacy system and process will not go away, but will continue to exist. The question will always be how you build new and improve the old.

upvotes: 0

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Vaughan Pope, Director of IT

, answered on 2019-03-18T07:31:22.352Z, 2 months ago

Digital Transformation is an inevitable evolution of the way we operate, conduct our businesses, and provide services to our customers. It is inherent in society just as natural selection is - we evolve to cope with our environment, just as digital transformation should be with our legacy systems. In this perspective, transformation doesn't always equate to the elimination of legacy systems, but rather the evolution or modification of them to cope with the ever changing environments around them. In some cases this modification may be so extreme that the base root of the legacy system is all that remains, seems completely altered and so therefore assumed eliminated. However, if a legacy system is eliminated completely in the approach to digital transformation, then there is a possibility that said system was never the correct choice for the company/business in the first place.

upvotes: 0

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