In last two/three decades, we have observed a constant pressure on top IT management to embrace new technology while reducing the overall cost (IT budget) – which is difficult to balance and archive. IT management has successfully deployed various models such as, adoption of cloud storage, outsourcing of services, remote work, etc., to accomplish the objective. There is opportunity cost of running legacy systems that can be safely retired. As an example, according to GAO-19-471 report (Published: Jun 11, 2019) – 10 most critical systems at 10 agencies ranging from Defense to Treasury use the systems were 8 to 51 years old and costs approximately $337 million annually to operate and maintain. This has resulted in decline of $7.3 billion in development, modernization, and enhancement of system since 2010.
It is undisputed that while more data is preferred, the data increases not only your storage cost but legal liabilities in case of breach. IT managers must also be prepared to selectively delete the expired data whether required by the law or proactively. Regardless what industry your company belongs to (government, non-profit, manufacturing, services, entertainment, food & beverages, transportation, chemicals, utilities, retail, construction, automotive, etc.), the data growth & its repercussions cannot be ignored. The recent inventions such as, mobile devices, social media data stream, data analytics, artificial intelligence devices, smart factory, self-driving cars, IoT, etc., will continue to further compliance IT infrastructure – which requires dedicated action plan to retire older systems and/or expired data records. Inaction is not be an option and there is no better time to retire legacy system/data.
The next section sheds light on how IT managers need to periodically review IT landscape simplification to realize direct financial benefits (avoid progressively higher & continued sunk cost of storage investment) and manage the risk due to breach of proprietary data.
(a) Type, size, sensitivity, age, and taxonomy of data
(b) Software version and availability
(c) Hardware version and availability
(d) Availability of support talent
(e) Activity in the system and list of active interfaces
A typical list of legacy systems includes Website, Intranet, Windows servers, email exchange server, ERP systems, individual databases, HR system, CRM system, Business warehouse (BW/BI) system, Analytic systems, data lake, EDI or business interchange middleware system, IoT system, etc. This discovery will identify upcoming legacy systems due for retirement along with priority.
(a) Determine vendor for hardware, if required.
(b) Determine vendor for software, if required.
(c) Determine vendor for services, if required.
On a side note, we strongly recommend communicating the fact that data value decreases as it ages and therefore a responsible approach is required for reproduction of reporting requirements to avoid cost overrun of the retirement initiative.
In summary, legacy system and data that is not required from legal, and business point of view must be deleted to realize numerous benefits and as a part of risk mitigation. Before you encounter any of the challenges listed above, it is important that a proper clean up strategy is planned and executed to ensure continued success of IT department without losing competitive business edge.
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