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Breaking Down the Barriers of Legacy Systems Transitions

June 22, 2017

Legacy systems are a continuing source of frustration for IT managers and business owners, and it often seems impossible to overcome the challenges of upgrading and migrating existing IT infrastructure to newer, more powerful systems. Where do you even start? The following tips will help you break down the barriers of transitioning or complementing your legacy systems to take advantage of new technology.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

It doesn’t matter what legacy problem you want to tackle. They exist in every business, so you’re not alone. The first step is always the planning phase. The more work you do at this stage, the easier your life will be later. Detail is important here. Take your time and map out all the interconnections and interfaces between your old systems and the new ones and what human capital impacts may exist. Can you afford downtime during the migration? What are “must-have” features that need to stay up and running? Identify clear goals and focus on what you need to survive the change.

Use Your Biggest Asset: People

Any major change will involve many professionals including a mix of internal and external staff resources, consultants, and suppliers. In-house expertise is always great to have, but it’s also important to get an outside perspective on your legacy systems and your goals for change. Take the opportunity to shop around for your preferred software packages, SaaS providers, and hardware. Rely on as much expertise as you can find, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the people on the frontlines before its too late!

Build Your “Buy-In”

Migrating away from a legacy system can be a stressful time. Teaching old dogs some new tricks isn’t always easy, so it’s important to communicate your goals and your plans to your staff and clients. You’ll find that some people/departments will support the change wholeheartedly while others will need more time and attention before they buy-in to your plan. Progress reports and fast-acting problem solving will go a long way to support your staff during the transition phase.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Goal

Performing a legacy migration is a difficult task, but it’s definitely worth it. Replacing your hardware and imposing new systems on your team and clients can be a risky endeavor if not done correctly. Always refer back to your goals, and do your best to communicate your goals, your plan, and lastly the future benefits to your stakeholders. Legacy systems are fraught with challenges, and workarounds waste valuable time and lower your productivity. Security issues are another concern for business owners. Staying protected means staying current with new updates and avoiding discontinued support.

If you are feeling the pressure to switch over your legacy systems to something new, don’t get discouraged too early in the process. Take your time, be deliberate, and focus on what’s important! If you use your leadership, industry insights, and the expertise of the people around you, it’s much easier to migrate to more powerful IT infrastructure or systems. It’s always worth it once the pain is over! With these tips and a concerted effort, you can achieve successful legacy migration and break through the barriers to improve your productivity and effectiveness as an organization.

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