Companies and organizations spend lots of money on computer and software applications in their day to day activities and to get a return on that; they must be in use for quite some time. The lifetime of the system is variable considering various factors like manufacturers specifications. Surprisingly very large applications often remain in use for more than ten years. Some organizations still depend on applications that are more than 20 years old because many of them are still business critical. To them, business entirely relies on the services provided by it, and its failure will greatly affect the daily running of the business. Such applications have been named legacy applications.
Many applications used in the government were first built in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and the latest in the 1990s.There are several applications and networks which are not known how many data centers is run by it. David Chernicoff, did an audit in Datacenter Dynamics found out that the government does maintenance for around 11,500 data centers. This was more than he originally thought. Some years back, he promised with a lot of power to reduce the number by half.
FedRAMP and the government’s policy had made a gap in that mess. A review done recently of the cloud services promised to return, regarding consistency and also sufficiency. Of course, the legacy applications were not initially delivered. External and internal factors mean that businesses undergo internal change. Such changes include a change in market, laws, management and structural organization. Therefore, the applications incorporate major changes that have occurred for some years. Different people have taken part in making changes, and it is unusual for any one person to have a complete comprehension of the system.
Of late, things are getting more complicated; nine in ten US government agency managers say that they are being saddled by the legacy applications more often. This in turn increases the likeliness of the databases to various security issues. That is part of the survey done by 150 managers that were done by MeriTalk, one of the US government IT partnership, in conjunction with Accenture Federal services. Many of the managers say that there is a need to modernize their legacy applications. The reason is that there is fear of insecurity breaches, the need of better performance and service disruptions and increased downtime.
Legacy applications face challenges meeting their needs. It is even worse that the situation will get more challenging with time. Less than half of the IT managers still believe that their applications are able to meet their needs as of today. On the other side of the coin, 32% think they will deliver in 5 years time. Majority think that if they don’t update their legacy applications, critical business essentials will be threatened.
Even though there is the urgent need for modernization, more than half of the agencies have formal application organization strategies. One in four has already set up a plan to renew or replace their current applications. Furthermore, it has been discovered that agencies are delaying in modernizations citing various reasons. Some of the reasons are delayed that are due to risks, failure of execution and the overwhelming amount of options.
In the recent past, data centers run majority of the world, but a number of them require a 21st-century update. Data centers today must be more efficient, and should be more flexible so as to suit the user’s needs. It should be investigated how best to run the users data and when and how to outsource directly to a service provider, or when to take another approach to the legacy application.
However, not all is bad in federal centers. On average, It is estimated that 55% of their current legacy application could be modernized successfully using various ways like plat forming the existing application, rechecking the current application to extend its useful life and also leveraging the architecture-driven modernization. The general manager of MeriTalk David Hantman is still concerned about the potential for introducing the government with the up to date systems. To him, the systems from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and1990s are outdated, inconvenient and hard debug. He says that it is important to consider their legacy option because modernization can truly uncover the unrealized potential.
To those who still stick to the old ways, the suggest that completely scrapping legacy systems completely and replacing them with the modern system involves a significant business risk because of the following reasons; First, the way ways in which the legacy system operates are often intertwined. This is because the processes have been designed to take advantage of the software services that it can avoid its weakness. Furthermore, important business rules may be implemented in the legacy system in a way that it cannot be implemented elsewhere. A business rule may apply to any business function and breaking it may have severe consequences for the business. For instance, an insurance company may have an embedded rule for accessing the risk of policy application in its system, if the rules are broken, the company may accept high risk policies that will later result to huge future claims to the insurance company.