Legacy-System Updates Get A Second Look - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications
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10/31/2003
02:27 PM
Rick Whiting
Rick Whiting
Features
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Legacy-System Updates Get A Second Look

Are your company's legacy IT systems keeping your business from moving forward?

Are your company's legacy IT systems keeping your business from moving forward? A recent survey of 115 business-technology professionals by the research arm of Optimize, a sister publication of InformationWeek, found that 84% are assessing the strategic value of their legacy hardware and software platforms.

Legacy PerceptionMore than a third of respondents consider their legacy IT systems to be trustworthy and reliable--along the lines of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But a larger majority view legacy systems as impediments to their companies' nimbleness. Forty-two percent call their legacy IT a barrier to innovation and flexibility, while 8% say it bogs down business and is expensive to maintain. Another 14% say it's both an asset and a burden, demonstrating that some business-technology managers have a love-hate relationship with legacy IT.

Neither senior management's hesitation nor the time and money already sunk into legacy IT systems is behind the reluctance to consign them to the junkyard. Only a third say previous investments in legacy IT or equivocating senior managers are forcing them to keep their aging systems afloat.

The survey also found that 44% of business-technology professionals expect to adopt application-server technology to expose legacy apps to newer-generation software. But 56% have no such plans.

Companies are taking a number of approaches to modernizing legacy systems. The most popular: using enterprise applications, Web services, and screen scraping. These show that many business-technology managers prefer to integrate legacy systems with the rest of their IT environments rather than junk them. But a quarter of those surveyed are replacing legacy software with packaged apps such as enterprise-resource-planning products from SAP or PeopleSoft Inc. More than a fifth, however, are taking no steps to modernize their legacy IT.

How much of a burden have legacy platforms become to your IT operations? Let us know.

Rick Whiting
Senior Editor
[email protected]


Employee TestedEmployee Tested

Is finding developers qualified to work on older applications a concern for your company?

Poor documentation can wreak havoc for programmers and analysts assigned to update older applications and systems. Having the right talent on hand is essential to success. Despite the glut of jobless IT workers, a third of sites surveyed are worried about finding developers qualified to work on older apps. Sixty-four percent say their legacy systems' staffing needs are under control.

For more on the state of the IT job market, see "Jobless Recovery."

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