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Out with the old, in with the new

A practical approach to transitioning from legacy systems

The challenges of a global market and international competition with ever shorter innovation cycles are omnipresent.  Global interactive networking paves the way for modern cloud and SaaS services, promising a shift of service delivery responsibilities out of the IT departments, freeing up capacity for the innovation necessary to thrive in the modern marketplace.  However, legacy solutions and systems can be a significant barrier to this innovation, drawing resources away from new solutions and reinforcing inertia.

From a value engineering perspective, IT innovations commonly fall short of the goals and expectations set because systems based on outdated business rational and IT approaches have not been completely reimagined or removed. Rather, a ‘mixed-mode’ of old and new solution approaches co-exist as semi-permanent provisional solution.

Frequently, change management does not sufficiently consider the replacement of the ‘old world’. A classic example is companies growing through mergers and acquisitions who are challenged with redundant applications and duplicated processes. In this situation there can be a perceived need to retain access to legacy bespoke applications to address specific operational tasks and simultaneously having to align to ever increasing compliance requirements. Cosmetic updates to these legacy systems, such as interface improvements, can mask the underlying issues associated with outdated processes they perpetuate. These kinds of systems are ‘just there’ and are only checked on special occasions, but high maintenance costs for legacy systems restrict innovation budgets.

Organizations are inhibited from taking full advantage of innovations, because information lifecycle and application lifecycle are not cleanly decoupled. Old and new structures, including very diverse technical requirements of the off-cloud and on-cloud world, coexist and often collide.  Additionally, the costs of maintaining legacy applications escalate when there is staff turn-over for those administering such systems.

Addressing your Information Management (IM) needs for legacy systems

A forward-looking approach could be a holistic application replacement, following a familiar strategy of ‘keep the data, decommission non-strategic applications’. Specifically, there is high value to decommissioning legacy applications that are no longer used to transact new business and are read-only.

OpenText™ InfoArchive is a highly scalable and effective cloud-based information archiving solution engineered for compliant archiving of both structured and unstructured information. Users can readily access historical data and documents in familiar, role-specific views, which is an advantage because it eliminates the productivity disruption associated with non-specialized archiving solutions. OpenText InfoArchive is an ideal solution to address application decommissioning and other archiving requirements.

The application decommissioning process using InfoArchive follows 7 steps:

1.           Extract schema and data

2.           Analyze legacy data structures

3.           Build application for information storage – product configuration, not coding

4.           Build search for information access – product configuration, not coding

5.           Archive data by ingesting structured (database) and unstructured (documents) into InfoArchive

6.           Validate data archived successfully – confirmed with “chain of custody” report

7.           Decommission the legacy application

The information from the source systems is extracted through an ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) toolset process and then pushed to the archive and different compliance aspects so that integrity, privacy and records management can be addressed.

OpenText Professional Services offer a FasTrak project optimizing the implementation of InfoArchive and positioning customers to decommission their first application. This project leverages OpenText’s AppBuilder tool to accelerate the decommissioning process by up to 70-80%.

The result is reduced IT complexity and clean and compliant processes for archiving data, while continuing to serve the business needs of accessing the archived information.

To learn more about how OpenText can support your IM business challenges, contact OpenText Professional Services

Author:  Martin Schwanke, Manager Professional Services

Professional Services – Content Services

The OpenText Content Management Practice consists of ECM Services experts with collective experience of thousands of implementations on a global scale. They are 100% certified in our technologies, and dedicated to successfully implementing OpenText ECM solutions for our clients.

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