Technology

Tech's Legacy Headache: Outdated Apps Hold Us Back, Study Says

By / Apr 9, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

According to a new study by tech consulting firm Capgemini, the decision to hold onto out-of-date technology can cause major problems with efficiency—and firms without lots of legacy technology often have tech infrastructure that better matches their business goals.

Outdated legacy technology is a headache, but it’s really hard to get rid of it.

Such is the quandary of the CIO, according to a new report by Capgemini, a technology consulting firm. The company’s new “Application Landscape Report 2014,” released this month, considers the challenges IT pros face when trying to manage the often-complex web of technologies used to keep the business running smoothly.

According to the study of more than 1,000 technology executives worldwide, nearly three-quarters of respondents believed they could consolidate or retire some of their more outdated IT tech. Some highlights from the study:

A willingness to upgrade: According to the study, the number of firms that would replace 20 percent or more of their information technology increased between 2011 and 2014, with 76 percent of organizations saying it’s “important” or “very important” to modernize applications to match their business objectives. Some firms are even willing to straight-up replace a piece of outdated technology. “Although ‘rip and replace’ scenarios—typically in which custom-built applications are completely replaced by standardized, package-based solutions—are still often seen as impactful and risky with high business impact, more organizations seem to be considering rigid measures such as these,” the study states.

Developing markets have it easier: Interestingly, the legacy issues that give IT people heartburn in the developed world may be less problematic where the tech landscape is younger. In countries with more mature IT markets, such as the U.S., Norway, and Finland, there’s often a lack of understanding between business and IT. But in Brazil, China, and India, three of the world’s quickest-emerging markets, around 92 percent of organizations say the IT and business teams are in lockstep. “This is likely to be an indication of the fact that the more established (and probably more complex) the applications portfolio is, the more difficult it is for business to really understand its current state,” the study explains.

What can be done? In an analysis of the results, Capgemini suggests that holding onto dated technology can add significant costs in the form of lost efficiency. “On the surface, a badly organized, overloaded, and outdated applications landscape sounds like a minor irritation for the IT team, absorbing bandwidth and wasting money, but ultimately not a problem that should keep the wider business up at night,” the company’s CTO of application services in continental Europe, Ron Tolido, said in a statement. “But in a world where all facets of an organization are starting to embrace digital transformation—and are dependent on the quick deployment of mobile, social, big data, and cloud solutions for competitive advantage—a well-rationalized applications landscape suddenly becomes a much bigger, strategic imperative for the whole company.”

Read the full study for yourself over this way.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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