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What CIOs Are Saying About the Challenges of Legacy Technology

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Technology is evolving quickly, and organizations' ability to adapt and integrate new technology with their legacy systems is increasingly becoming a problem for IT leaders. According to the 2018 Opsview State of IT Infrastructure Survey, less than 50 percent of respondents believe they are seeing progress toward transforming their legacy infrastructure and are able to embrace digital transformation.

Peeling back the results of the survey, it is clear that IT leaders feel squeezed on many fronts. Of note, 25 percent of IT leaders expressed concerns about the sheer diversity of technology that has been implemented and the lack of integration among solutions. Another 27 percent feel frustrated by their organization’s continued reliance on old technology, especially significant resources being pulled away from strategic initiatives because of the need to managing legacy systems. 

But, digging deeper, what issues are holding IT leaders back from unlocking their platform’s full potential? The Opsview Survey lays out five, and we will highlight what you can do to help to overcome them.

Attitudes Toward Change

No matter the industry, dealing with the emotions and habits of people can often be harder than implementing the technology associated with a change. Feelings of “this is how we have always done it” are very common, as is the perception that IT is just a cost of doing business, instead of an enabler or partner.

This is where IT leaders can take the time to educate their customers on the value of new technology, both to the bottom line and to their productivity. Tracking the costs of managing legacy systems and comparing them against benefits peers have seen following a transformation is one way to get the attention of the corner office. Similarly , having demos of new hardware, applications, and productivity tools can help to get workers excited about the change, especially if the demos are paired with detailed and comprehensive training tailored to the different roles of the organization. 

Systems Integration

When systems are implemented, decommissioned, upgraded, and integrated in an ad-hoc fashion, the result is an environment that is hard to monitor and quantify. Without the ability to have a holistic IT platform that communicates efficiently, small errors can turn into large, resource-intensive research problems. Similarly, employees have to learn workarounds to move data from one system to another while IT professionals struggle to keep one foot firmly in the old and one in the new.

One way organizations can overcome this issue is by implementing an enterprise IT operations and service management tool and associated IT service management practices. Bringing a mindset of consistency, documentation, and proactivity to your service management can help to prioritize efforts, identify problems early, and empower your staff to provide consistently great service.

Human Resources

With a tight labor market, organizations may find it difficult to hire and retain IT staff. This issue is compounded when there is a need for skill sets that include experience in legacy software that is no longer trained. This can lead to discouraged and overworked staff struggling to keep up with an ever-changing environment.

In the face of this challenge, many organizations have turned to managed services providers, which can deliver experienced people, processes, and tools to serve as an extension of your IT staff on an as-needed basis. These providers can offer custom service packages and, as they grow with your organization, they can quickly become consultants to drive transformation forward.

Legacy Systems

Like it or not, many organizations struggle with legacy systems that are not fully performing but are still linked to critical business infrastructure. With them come archaic processes, workarounds, and inefficiency. 

Similar to dealing with the attitudes toward change, IT leaders can use the total cost of ownership and quantifiable impacts toward staff productivity as a way to demonstrate the lost potential that their organizations are saddleing themselves with. Leaders should also explain just what benefits their organization can realize because of a transformation, especially if a change would help with issues surrounding security, compliance, or mobility.

Financial Resources

With a lack of financial resources, IT leaders feel restricted in their ability to bring in the required changes their organization needs to grow and evolve. Unfortunately, this is often the result of a lack of awareness or interest in the role that IT plays in a business among the leadership team.

In situations like this, IT leaders can think of their services in terms of the value that they provide to their internal and external customers. Digital transformation will always have a dollar figure attached to it, but being able to communicate the value and the business impact that a change makes in a language that management staff understand can help to win support for incrementally bigger efforts. 

The Road Ahead

Needless to say, the road toward digital transformation can be long and fraught with many pitfalls, requiring IT leaders to wear multiple hats. However, taking the time to break down the challenges that may be holding back your organization from identifying, investing in, and implementing a change can slowly break the log jam and get innovation happening.

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