How to deal with legacy systems – the fatal flaw of operational transformation

By Stig Olsen
23 October 2019

If you are stuck on legacy IT, this is likely to be a hot topic for your organization. If not it probably should be. Developing premium client offerings on top of old technology is difficult, if not impossible. You can attempt to twist and tweak your solution, but it still won’t help you move fast enough to keep the competition away.

Firms that place innovation at the forefront of their strategy take the long-view and see technology challenges as an opportunity to digitize and automate – setting them apart from their competitors.

While adopting an agile approach to technology implementation, firms must understand the unique challenges and opportunities that are shaping the investment industry today.

Moving away from legacy technology and processes is a massive undertaking, with the reward far outweighing the risk. Understanding vital components that align with your unique strategy, and most importantly, deploying technology that works with your people and processes, is critical.

We’ve identified several options for implementing technology solutions when time is not on your side:

Component outsourcing. Flexibility around operational models has increased dramatically over the last few years, and you can now choose to outsource parts of your business. Such partial outsourcing is a good alternative for many companies, with more and more typical mid and back-office tasks being commoditized. So why not have someone else do the hard work that doesn’t give you a competitive edge in the market?

A parallel technology platform. This is a more radical approach, but it has some clear benefits since you can eliminate both legacy technology and processes simultaneously. It’s a low-risk project – clients can as migrate gradually. The challenges are timing; if you are not able to migrate from your legacy platform fast enough, there is a risk with duplicating records.

A single-vendor technology strategy. Another option could be to find a provider that has the competence, technology, and capabilities to take on your entire business. Dependent on the type of business you are running and your current technology platform, this could lower your cost of ownership significantly. Working with one vendor often reduces cost, risk and time spent on projects.

Whichever path you choose, make sure you have the resources you need to make it work. Assign your top people to the task, and seek knowledge and expertise outside your business. Collaborating with someone that understands your business and your strategy can make all the difference.

So, are you ready to move away from your legacy technology? Think about it – it’s never too late.