Legacy IT is a little like a cherished grandparent. It may not be the trendiest or most agile thing around, but it still inspires a lot of love. In an article for The Enterprisers Project, Tom Soderstrom counts down three ways the CIO can honor legacy IT while exploring new disruptive options.
Preserving the Legacy
It’s official. We live in the era of disruptive technology, with things like open source software being handed out at every grocery store. This upheaval is giving IT folks the kind of stable (yet flexible) operating environments they need for speedy innovation…But it’s not that simple. Much of today’s business still runs on legacy systems, not due to incompetence or laziness, but because it works. Folks have grown comfortable with these technologies and, even if they cost money to maintain, their retention outweighs retirement on the budget scales.
Ultimately, the CIO must pave the way for disruptive technologies to take the lead. Why? Because if they don’t, the unyielding nature of legacy tech will drag down their organization: making them sluggish relative to the competition.
The Smooth Transition
According to Soderstrom, a smooth transition can be achieved in three ways:
- Create an IT petting zoo.
- Embrace a chaotic architecture.
- Make your end users part of your team.
The “petting zoo” concept may sound kind of silly, but in essence, that’s how one gets users to experiment with prototypes. It’s also how IT people can take credit for innovation and bolster their image throughout the company. Part of the idea surrounding prototyping is that some degree of chaos (not too much) should be allowed in IT architecture for the kind of fast-forward innovation companies crave. The final piece of story involves the end user. If you’re already prototyping and allowing chaos, it’s just an additional step to invite disruption from you user community, to involve them in the overall process of transformation.
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