IT leaders cite legacy systems as primary obstacle to digital transformation

Digital transformation is focused on allowing disruption in the way companies leverage technology to empower data-driven decision making, enhance customer experiences, and maximize corporate agility. According to Gartner, CIOs from the banking and investment services, telecom, and government sectors are leading the way, identifying digital business/digital transformation as their top business objective in 2018.

IT modernization is crucial to digital transformation. An exhaustive survey by Couchbase of 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprise across the U.S., UK, France and Germany revealed that 80% of respondents felt they were at risk of being "left behind" and 54% said they believed companies unable to achieve digital transformation would be out of business or taken over by a competitor by 2022.

Legacy systems block digital transformation efforts
Aging legacy systems are currently identified as the primary cause of delays associated with the shift to digitization. Eighty-four percent of respondents to the Couchbase survey stated they had experienced digital transformation projects being cancelled, delayed, or reduced in scope because of their legacy system limitations.

Mark Cain, CEO of Couchbase, said that the study highlighted the fact that despite millions of dollars being allocated to digital transformation projects, a majority of organizations were experiencing only marginal returns. He emphasized that the key to success would lie in a company's ability to select the right underlying technology required to deliver the level of customer support expected by today's consumers.

In addition to customer facing initiatives, organizations that are still using outdated systems face multiple challenges to IT modernization. Obsolete mainframes, unsecure Java plug ins, outdated databases and an inability to access and implement real-time data all impact an organization's ability to move forward with digital transformation plans.

Siloed information
Legacy systems often present as a rigid, hard coded system with several tiers, consisting of various patched-together architectures to meet multiple departmental requirements. Interdepartmental communications suffer, while real-time business information that is vital to decision making processes ends up siloed, and is difficult to extract, combine, and utilize. According to Harvard Business Review, teams must commit excessive amounts of time to constant updates and reconfigurations to make siloed information accessible, taking focus away from the true goal of digital transformation.

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Unsupported mainframes
Legacy mainframes are often viewed as a necessary evil, carrying an immense burden of ever-increasing IT debt, but integration of older mainframes into a new, fully supported system can protect crucial data and prevent downtime. Failure to migrate data before mainframe failure can lead to expensive operational rebuilds and delay plans for IT modernization. Server-based solutions can help companies host UNIX or IBM systems and successfully re-use existing application logic.

Data duplication and corruption
Data inconsistency often runs rampant in organizations using legacy systems, and hampers IT modernization. Different team members and entire departments often create their own datasheets to tailor information for their specific needs, resulting in multiple copies of the same information in different configurations. When teams or departments are required to collaborate on a project, the vast amount of duplication and data corruption make it almost impossible to consolidate data and ensure accuracy. According to McKinsey, an integrated data model is key to database consolidation.

Security issues
Java plug-ins that are no longer compatible with in-use web browsers, or BYOD initiation without standardized security protocols, can leave companies vulnerable to data breaches and liability. Powerful, functional HTML solutions can provide a solution to Java vulnerabilities and provide multi-factor authentication to keep mobile device access secure.   

System maintenance costs
On a federal level, over 77% of IT budgets must be allocated to support overarching legacy systems. The sheer cost of operating and maintaining aging systems is one of the biggest obstacles to investing in IT modernization. Digital transformation cannot take place without allocated funds, but if an organization's budget is tied up in maintaining an increasingly unstable system, true disruption remains out of reach.

Addressing legacy systems is a necessary first step for many companies seeking to implement digital transformation. Solutions that build bridges between legacy systems and modern IT expectations can help maintain usability and effectiveness and allow digital transformation to be pursued with greater success.

The Inventu Corporation provides a an extensive range of products and solutions designed to facilitate the IT modernization process, including screen based application migrations, terminal emulation, and more. Our innovative Flynet Viewer simplifies screen integration, easing the modernization process while meeting employer and staff expectations in a way that feels both familiar and simple. Review our product page to learn more about the Inventu Flynet Viewer and the other solutions in our extensive product portfolio.