Published: Aug 6, 2020

Information rules the world. Business success depends on how much data a company uses and how effective data processing is on the way to deliver customer satisfaction from products or services. The bigger business is, the more information it operates and the more complex business processes it runs.

Life is not static, the environment changes continuously, and businesses should deal with new times, challenges and requests. To cultivate a gold mine of information, an enterprise requires effective software systems. Curiosity drives discoveries. Industry standards also change. And formerly progressive computing systems grow obsolete over the years. And even well-established and large-scale businesses face the call of digital transformation. Cloud technologies may offer some attractive solutions and beneficial functionality to arrange the processing of a large amount of data expertly.

What are the symptoms of legacy computing systems?

Data is the core of enterprise software systems. The modern architecture of enterprise computing systems usually constitutes from:

  • a database to collect, store and interchange necessary data,
  • a server-side to implement, run and calculate the business logic, and
  • a web or mobile interface to manage or operate the software system.

Legacy computing systems are designed and structured differently.

  • Old software is usually a monolithic system performing all business tasks strictly within itself, restricting functioning by inside operations only and not capable of interacting with other systems.
  • Outdated software runs in a silo and is hardly connectable with other business processes.
  • In obsolete computing systems, data flows are not visible and data is non-shareable or data transferring is associated with latency.
  • A legacy system often requires specific skills from employees to operate, manage and maintain it.

Why may legacy computing systems slow down a business?

  1. Legacy software systems are those that do not correspond to modern computing and technology standards and are harder to maintain and support.
  2. In a continually changing business environment, legacy systems are not flexible enough to meet new customer demands and business challenges and may be an obstacle for business development.
  3. One of the biggest pain points of legacy systems is unreachable data. As legacy systems usually function isolated from other business infrastructure, it is not designed to exchange data. However, many business processes are interconnected and depend on, process or refer to the same data. Making the necessary data visible in legacy systems is a non-trivial task and a headache for IT departments.
  4. Obsolete hardware and software take resources and efforts to replace them, patch, update or improve. Moreover, sometimes improvements are too costly and close to impossible. Investing those resources and efforts in other development programs may be more beneficial for a business.
  5. The more outdated a legacy system is, the riskier it may become. In case a legacy database shuts down, a business may lose some vital information about customers, or transactions, etc. Failures of legacy computing systems are too expensive for a business, maybe even deadly.

Why integrating legacy systems with the cloud may be a good choice?

Legacy systems are often fastened with nails with the business essence. And a company can’t just stop using legacy systems and replace them with the modern ones. Some business processes could be so industry- or company-specific that there simply may not exist an alternative software solution.

However, even if a company cannot change business workflow immediately, cloud technologies provide opportunities and functionality for legacy systems integration and digital business transformation.

Transforming legacy systems a business can use two approaches, move data or workflows to cloud storage and services or implement legacy system integration with the help of cloud storage and services.

Integrating with cloud

Business benefits of integrating legacy systems with cloud

  1. Enabling development. A full redesign of a legacy computing system is costly, risky and too complicated for business. Integrating with the cloud reveals opportunities for improvement and development.
  2. Optimizing expenses. A company can reduce costs on owning, supporting and maintaining servers and employment of narrow-skilled workers if it moves data to cloud storage or replaces some business processes with cloud services, such as authentication, electronic data interchange (EDI), bots, autotranslations, etc.
  3. Fighting security biases. Unless a business is restricted with some legislation or industry regulations, cloud technologies ensure better physical security and usage of time-proven security standards.
  4. Transforming into a data-driven business. Reaching data visibility and availability as a goal of legacy system integration allows a business to analyze this data more thoroughly and make data-driven decisions, provide better customer experience and deliver more business value.
  5. Achieving long-term strategic goals. Integration with the cloud brings opportunities to easier modernization, scalability, migration and update of legacy systems, as well as opens the path to business growth and development.

What issues may complement legacy systems integration?

As legacy computing systems are often isolated, siloed solutions, focused on one type of business task or peculiar business logic, storing and processing data strictly within the systems, the main problems of integration with the cloud are the corresponding.

  • Compatibility issues. The legacy systems are designed to be self-sustained. The inflexibility of legacy systems and the absence or old standards may cause difficulties with compatibility. Legacy systems simply are not intended to work with modern hardware and cloud technologies.
  • Processing data from different sources. Legacy systems are not supposed to share or transfer data freely. So, ensuring data visibility throughout the business workflow may be a challenge when integrating legacy systems with the cloud.
  • Lack of standards and documentation. Legacy systems may use outdated standards if any, at all. Building connectivity between old solutions and cloud without documentation and understanding of operation principles during legacy integration may be a complicated task.
  • Different data formats. An enterprise may use several legacy systems to automate various business processes. And each legacy computing system may process data of a different format.

What steps to take for integrating legacy systems painlessly?

Deciding on legacy computing systems integration with the cloud, stakeholders should start with the business and system analysis and prepare a future integration plan. A business should remember that legacy integration is a least-evil measure and do not expect immediate results. Well-thought preparations and implementing integration activities step by step reduces possible failures and helps to build a cloud business solution, which fits current business needs and is upgradable to meet new potential demands.

Tips for running legacy integration smooth

  • Understand your current situation with your monolith legacy computing systems..
  • Consult system integrators and cloud solutions vendors for best practices for your case.
  • Choose a full-stack and full-cycle system integrator to guide your company throughout the integration process.
  • Work out a detailed integration plan, calculate the costs of integration activities, and compare them with your expenses to support and maintain a legacy system.
  • Standardize and document your business processes for designing the architecture of a new solution.
  • Start implementing legacy integration patiently, double-checking for errors and losses and testing results after each stage.
  • Build communication APIs for connecting different parts of legacy business logic with cloud and remove silos.
  • Ensure data availability and visibility by using a common data format as an integration method.
  • Define the better suiting for your business data migration method: full migration, lean and mean migration, cluster migration, delta migration, etc.
  • Build an enterprise service bus to connect your legacy systems and a new cloud solution.
  • Be patient and consistent, because the integration of legacy computing systems with the cloud may be a time- and resource-consuming process, but it opens for your business opportunities for further development.

To sum up

Legacy computing systems slow down your company development as they isolate your business processes into silos, make your business data invisible for an overall analysis, provide insufficient processing speed, do not meet new business calls and customer demands. The total replacement of legacy systems with new modern solutions may not be possible due to various reasons, while integration with the cloud may be a beneficial digital transformation — cost-effective and matching both short term business needs and long-term perspective.

As a consummate IT partner, SYTOSS may consult and assist your business with implementing system integration of legacy computing systems with the cloud. Over 10+ years of experience, we’ve services of system integrations, data migration, application integration and software development for dozens of enterprises operating in Telecom, Real Estate, Fintech, Digital Commerce, Shared Economy and Publishing verticals globally. If you want to start digital transformation for tomorrow, start today and contact us to find out what opportunities system integration will bring to your business.