March 30, 2015

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The Top Challenges of Legacy Modernization and the Solution

The Current Situation

There is significant pressure on State CIOs to streamline IT budgets, increase productivity, rationalize IT spending and improve service delivery to citizens and business customers.  Though the States have invested in new technologies, their current IT portfolio still has legacy systems that they have to support, and this is resulting in significant financial and technical challenges to overcome.  If the States don’t invest in modernizing their legacy applications, then their ability to efficiently serve their citizens is at risk.

Definition of a Legacy System

A legacy system is not solely defined by its age (e.g. 20 years old) as many systems were designed for continued upgrades, but the term also focuses on elements such as “supportability,” “risk“and “agility,” including the availability of software and hardware support, and the ability to acquire either internal or outsourced staffing, equipment and technical support for the system in question. The term may also describe the system’s inability to adequately support “line-of-business“ requirements or meet expectations for the use of modern technologies, such as workflow, instant messaging (IM) and user interface.

In a NASCIO survey of State CIOs from 29 States, approximately 50% of their IT systems were classified as legacy, according to the definition above.

Key Drivers and Challenges for Legacy Modernization

According to NASCIO’s survey, the primary drivers (in terms of importance) behind legacy modernization initiatives are:

The States are using various methods for modernizing their legacy applications, such as data conversion, extension, virtualization, and re-engineering or replacing applications with COTS products. But, they still face several obstacles and challenges while modernizing their legacy system like a lack of funding, data migration issues, staff support, and a lack of source code and documentation.

HCL believes that traditional IT management models cannot effectively serve customers like States, in their legacy/application modernization journey.  The “new normal” requires that both vendors and customers reinvent themselves to create a new service model that allows:

  • Vendors to own and manage IT in an inclusive manner
  • Customers with agility, innovation, quality, cost reduction, flexibility and full transparency

Going by our corporate philosophy of “Doing it right, the first time and every time”, HCL has crafted a unique methodology for States embarking on the application modernization journey. This methodology, depicted in the diagram below, outlines the key drivers and considerations of HCL’s application modernization and cloud enablement offerings.