Expert Eye

Back to Basics: Four Steps to Solidify Legacy IT for the Digital Future 

Capgemini’s Gopalakrishnan Krishnamurthi offers his advice to companies looking to embrace an optimised IT future 


In the digital age, application loyalty has become synonymous with brand loyalty. 

Digital has put the power in the hand of consumers, and in many instances applications have become the first touchpoint between people and businesses. Digital, though, is constantly evolving. 

It is not enough for organisations to have a great application, be it internal or external. Instead, they need to constantly have an eye on the future and be ready to adapt to the pulse of change.   

While many CIOs should (and are) becoming more apps-focused, this awareness of future change can leave the IT core – the here-and-now-operations – neglected. Having an agile, efficient, and responsive IT estate is key to a successful digital future. If the IT core is the foundations of a house and innovation is the bricks, then without steadfast underpinnings, any new digital concepts will likely topple over.

A solid action plan needs to be in place to make sure that legacy IT estates are a robust launchpad for digital transformation. In putting your current state of IT and applications in order, you can achieve maximum impact from your core applications – manifesting your enterprise vision of a future that is agile, disruptive, and innovation-led. 

Preventive, predictive, and perfective maintenance
To improve IT maintenance, the entire IT core must become lean and optimised. This means zero defects and tickets. Lean principles will eliminate waste and reduce cycle time while smart application monitoring can be used for the early detection of failures. 

Achieving this requires a sharp focus on quality, which must be infused throughout the entire operating model with robust processes, release mechanisms, and testing and code quality assurances. 

Fostering a proactive mindset 
Two of the biggest reasons for high ticket volumes stem from lagging legacy systems and archaic enterprise architecture. 

These issues can be solved by utilising a portfolio management system, which gives the IT team a big-picture, strategic view of all applications. 

Rather than be in reactive mode – constantly having to fix defects rather than prevent them – having a portfolio management system allows IT teams to take on a proactive role. This means they can ask broader questions about, for example, application simplification or migration to the cloud. 

An intelligent portfolio management system also empowers CIOs to address these questions based on smart analytics and data, so that IT teams can move forward with confidence. 

Preventing business interruption through insights, competitiveness, and efficiency
Critical to any efficient IT estate is the prevention of business disruption, leaving IT teams able to focus on value creation for applications instead. CIOs may want to consider outsourcing to a business command centre (BCC) to help. 

BBCs enable a holistic, insight-driven, business-focused application management approach that brings together processes, applications, and IT. In this way, IT teams can act on the wealth of insights available to create business value and continually manage risk.

Removing latency through disruptive services
When it comes to innovation, businesses need to be agile and rapid in their approach. Ideas which are slow to materialise risk being obsolete in value by the time they reach proof of concept. To ensure agility, the right mindset is critical. 

Many organisations see innovation as a bolt-on, rather than a core business function. Instead, it has to be seen as a dynamic, ongoing state of change which runs through the lifeblood of the organization. 

To enable this, IT teams must foster a forward-thinking, problem-solving mindset, with the aim of solving real business problems. This will help the business to start realising the value of the IT function, opening the door for IT leaders to be involved in more business conversations and weave innovation into the organisation’s fabric.

Ultimately, a lean, efficient and a resilient IT core goes a long way in driving operational agility and helps clients restore services quickly in times of crisis. By applying the framework above, IT teams can go beyond reactive support and single-speed legacy applications – transforming the application and IT function into a valuable asset that drives real growth.