How to resolve the issues of legacy software

Legacy systems are a drain on the resources of IT departments across the globe, and the challenge of managing such technologies is a constant battle. Before we look at how best to resolve the issues of legacy software we should first conclude what is actually meant by the term ‘legacy'.

Wikipedia states a legacy system as "an old method, technology, computer system, or application program which may or may not remain in use". But in reality, the term ‘legacy' can be interpreted in many different ways. During a round table event hosted by MSM Software1, we asked various IT professionals "what is legacy?" and their answers differed greatly. One participant suggested that legacy is often linked with systems that are inherited, while another suggested that legacy is a system which needs to be replaced. In contrast, a third contributor suggested legacy is simply something you've decided is no longer fit for purpose.

In our view, ‘legacy' is a system which has some value but brings a risk to your business and our experience shows that the most common risks are:

- System under-performance.

- Difficulty supporting and maintaining the system.

- Over reliance on resources.

- Integration issues.

This thought leadership paper looks at the most effective ways of resolving the issues caused by legacy systems and assesses the pros and cons of different strategies.