Legacy Systems: Strong Backbone Or Monkey On Your Back?

Paul Clark

Many companies are going through the huge undertaking of digital transformation. This necessary disruption can take many forms, impacting front-end and back-end computing systems, product development, and customer engagement, in the effort to transform business processes and IT systems.

Some companies may be hesitant to transform their IT systems because of concerns about existing investments in legacy systems, but those large capital expenditures don’t need to go to waste. Using existing assets to your advantage is a key part of IT transformation.

Established core systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, should not be considered barriers to digital transformation; instead, they should be viewed as the stable platform upon which new digital capabilities can be built.

A robust back-office system is a strong backbone for the enterprise

Having a strong existing back office and supply chain setup is a vital ingredient to enabling digital technologies. Different elements of the IT architecture can operate at different levels. For example, systems that are closest to the customer should be the most responsive and flexible, while those managing the core business, such as ERP, need to offer stability while transforming the user experience.

A new breed of digital solutions: overhaul or stop gap?

New solutions can be used to fill any gaps that exist in your current digital capabilities. Rather than relying on the legacy infrastructure to cover everything, companies can adopt cloud solutions and integrate them with existing systems. Data from legacy systems can also be consolidated by and integrated into modern solutions.

The recent eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World, addresses ways that IT organizations can embark on IT transformation. It suggests that in order to work with existing legacy systems and the digital disruptions facing business processes, IT leaders must consider a number of changes to reconstruct how their IT department operates:

  • IT organizations must create new types of business solutions where the user experience is paramount
  • CIOs and CTOs must optimize legacy investments while introducing new architectures that can serve the mobile information revolution
  • IT architects and leaders must understand both business and technology processes in order to recommend new business strategies and models that exploit digital technologies to their competitive advantage
  • IT operations must offer comprehensive services aggregated from a variety of sources, both internal and external.

For a more in-depth look at how the digital age is affecting business, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World

Discover the multiple factors driving digital transformation in the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

Take a closer look at one industry in the midst of digital transformation. Download the SAP eBook, Connected Care: The Digital Pulse of Global Healthcare.


About Paul Clark

Paul Clark is the Senior Director of Technology Partner Marketing at SAP. He is responsible for developing and executing partner marketing strategies, activities, and programs in joint go-to-market plans with global technology partners. The goal is to increase opportunities, pipeline, and revenue through demand generation via SAP's global and local partner ecosystems.