Migrating to new technology doesn't have to be the nightmare that it's generally considered to be
Gartner calls the replacement of legacy systems and applications one of the IT professional's "most significant challenges," and it's easy to see why. Many were built at different times with different purposes, and that's resulted in a hodgepodge of siloed technologies that don't talk to each other – yet are usually critical to an organization's overall mission and business goals. Replacing them is often expensive and disruptive. IDC estimates digital transformation spending will hit $1.97 trillion in 2022.
The result is roadblocks for digital transformation initiatives because existing systems are not flexible and aren't compatible with newer technologies. For example, a recent Harvard Business Review study found that legacy systems are a major barrier to implementing real-time marketing analytics. In today's data-driven business climate, that's a huge stumbling block.
Get Off Your Legacy Systems the Right Way
Migrating to new technology doesn't have to be the nightmare that it's generally considered to be. The right strategy can minimize disruption, keep costs down, and bring the right solutions to drive tangible business results.
Your four-step plan has to include:
Doing digital transformation the wrong way can be a bit like pulling a loose thread on a sweater and unraveling the whole thing. You don't want a project to cause widespread disruption. It's important to do a holistic analysis that looks at everything from business goals to impact on systems to end-user needs. At CompuCom, we use Design Thinking where, instead of inventing something first and then trying to sell it to the end user, we flip the process and listen to the user's needs first – then set out to find solutions. This strategy has proven to deliver ideas and products that are far more likely to succeed.
Once you've done your analysis and prototype testing, your planning should focus on making the transition as seamless as possible. Do you have sufficient resources to do the job? What could go wrong, and what's your plan if it does? How will you minimize disruption?
Another key to success is giving end users the training they need before the transition. Not only does it help minimize disruption, but it also improves adoption rates and keeps dissatisfaction to a minimum. Your training plan should include plenty of communication, so end users know what's coming when it's coming, and what resources are available to help them. Various learning opportunities should be available to match people's comprehension styles – including fully-guided and self-help for those who prefer to learn on their own at their own pace.
Again, having sufficient resources on hand for deployments is key to minimizing disruption. Many organizations choose to do it during off hours so that the technical work is complete when workers come in the next day. Then, IT staff can focus on supporting employees as they adapt to new workflows.
Get a Trusted Partner to Help Get You Off Legacy Systems
The reasons why getting off legacy systems can be hard are varied. IT teams often struggle to find the bandwidth to take on major projects because they're so tied up with day-to-day operations, or they lack the expertise. Legacy systems that are central to the organization's mission are frequently so complicated and intertwined with other things that the scale of what needs to be done can seem almost insurmountable.
Just like you hire movers when you buy a new home, having the extra muscle to help significantly accelerates your digital transformation projects. CompuCom's Deployment Solutions include a complete assessment of existing systems, business goals, and end-user needs. Our huge Advanced Configuration Center allows us to pre-build and test systems before shipping them out plug-and-play. Our technicians perform speedy onsite deployments for minimum disruption.