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Risk, cost and opportunity loss – how legacy apps hinder your business in the face of growth

By  Logan Ringland,
 18 February 2021

Kordia Risk, cost and opportunity loss – how legacy apps hinder your business in the face of growth

Business focus, shadow IT, managerial changes, technology evolution, apathy, inertia - these are just some of the reasons organisations of today are facing major challenges around digital transformation.  

Over time, an organisation’s application and infrastructure landscape expands and evolves as it tries to innovate and improve operational processes as any good business should.

Fold into this new business practices such as DevOps and Agile and you see a perpetuation of the “always moving forward” mentality, further increasing the velocity of change.

However, these practices do not consider what Emrge calls the Technology Wake. Think of this as the ever expanding and forgotten array of platforms, applications and processes that once were core to your business but are increasingly left behind, becoming an unconscious burden to the organisation.

This could be an application that was built by marketing for a campaign which has long since finished and the marketing owner moved on. Or applications that are hosted on legacy operating systems that are no longer supported or patched. It could even be as simple as backing up to a USB hard drive for offsite.

The bottom line is that most businesses have some degree of stagnant or cumbersome applications or platforms that are holding them back.


The Technology Wake – Risk and Cost

The Technology Wake exposes businesses to significant risk, some of which you may not even be aware of. Unmonitored spend is an obvious example, but more serious risks can include;  

  • unpatched apps and systems, leading to significant security vulnerabilities;
  • a lack of policy compliance at an institutional level;
  • a lack of compliance with regulatory dictates from government bodies;
  • slow erosion of available internal knowledge and skill for the maintenance of systems and applications

History has shown a litany of examples where companies have become victims to the implications of not maintaining or managing their legacy applications and infrastructure. By failing to manage the lifecycle of these platforms they can become a significant consumer of resources which should be better used elsewhere. Opportunity cost is very real with a Technology Wake.

Evaluation is key

Many businesses eventually find themselves at a point where a lack of innovation and technology adoption hinders success and development, holding them back from modernising.

That is why businesses must start to critically evaluate the “How” of their businesses, actively integrating innovation into their thinking, and looking to reduce the negative impact of technology from the past.

A good modernisation approach starts with an in-depth analysis of the applications, not just from a technical perspective, but in a true business sense.

Adopting this philosophy forces an organisation to truly evaluate the value each application delivers, removing the status quo as the default position.

This leads to another major consideration - the use of Cloud. As one of the outcomes from these assessments, Cloud presents an excellent tool to facilitate modernisation, but it must be used correctly to ensure it’s not just moving an old problem from one location to another, costing more than anticipated.

It can be difficult to know where to start when beginning your modernisation journey, especially if your estate is complex. This is where an assessment framework is valuable, defining a process for methodically examining each workload. Ideally, you should finish your assessment with a clear vision of what needs to be done to align with your business strategy, so you can have a thorough understanding of the modernisation task ahead, complete with budgeting visibility.


No time like the present

As time goes on, legacy apps suffer from a decreased knowledge of their impact and dependencies, all the while still costing your company money. There’s no better time than the present to assess your legacy applications and begin the journey to effectively minimise your technology wake.

There will be resistance, there may be tears, but ultimately, when a business can leap from running legacy platforms and applications to ostensibly a cloud native operational construct, the benefits will significantly outweigh the challenges of getting there.