Is Legacy Technology Holding Back Digital Transformation?


Digital transformation is being held back by legacy technology, warns TmaxSoft. Research from the Cloud Industry Forum finds that 9 in 10 businesses see legacy technology as a barrier to digital transformation.

At a time when consumer expectations are evolving in line with their experience of technology, organisations need to adapt quickly to these shifting realities if they are to secure competitive advantage. However, according to multinational software innovator TmaxSoft, many of them are being held back by the core legacy technologies that make up their IT estates, with potentially damaging consequences for their businesses and, by extension, the wider economy.

This follows new research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) which highlights the scale of the issue. The research, which was conducted in late 2017 by Vanson Bourne on behalf of CIF, surveyed 200 IT decision-makers from enterprises with more than 500 employees, found that 89% believe that legacy technology is a challenge that must be overcome for their organisation to successfully undertake digital transformation.

Looking at the biggest reasons for this, respondents believe that any changes to legacy would result in major business disruption (46%) and cost too much to replace (40%). Beyond these reasons, 30% have limited skills needed to maintain their legacy infrastructure, and 27% state that there is no clear migration path for their business-critical applications.

Commenting on the research, Carl Davies, UK CEO of TmaxSoft, said: “The challenges of legacy technology have long been recognised and legacy is something that almost all businesses have to deal with – few organisations can start on their digital transformation journeys with a clean slate, unencumbered by previous investments in IT. But it’s clear that legacy technology has become a business-critical issue, and for many businesses the trusty mainframe sits at the heart of the problem. Legacy mainframe architectures are unable to live up to the demands of the new digital transformation economy, which can pose serious headaches for businesses looking to remain competitive and agile.

“Mainframes have been the work horses of enterprises for decades and they remain as dependable as ever. But organisations are increasingly finding that they’re incompatible with the way that they want to operate and are stopping them from exploiting next generation technologies – unless they’re willing to make big upfront capital investments. Moreover, as the data demonstrates, many are coming up against an acute shortage of staff with legacy technology skills. With little in the way of fresh supply of these skills entering the workforce, this problem will only get worse over time. These factors combined mean that mainframes are draining resources from the IT department and stunting competitiveness,” he continued.

Carl concluded: “At some point, change is no longer simply an option, but a business imperative. Maintaining the status quo means accepting mediocre technology, which in turn means business performance is driven by outdated and unsupported mainframe infrastructures – placing the company in a risky position that will only get worse over time. If you’re ready to upgrade your architecture but you’re concerned with the risks of disruption, time and cost of a complete rewrite, there is another option: rehosting.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine