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Why you don’t need to throw legacy systems out with the bath water

There’s often an assumption that ‘digital transformation’ goes hand in hand with a big financial spend. That assumption, however, is largely based on the expectation that digital transformation relies on completely overhauling your business with new technology.
Michael Howard

For many, the idea of replacing technology that is in fact only a few years old, disrupting operations and implementing new training and processes is enough to quash the idea of transformation before the conversation has even got off the ground.

Those concerns are legitimate, but here’s the thing: digital transformation doesn’t have to come at the cost of your legacy systems. In fact, often your legacy systems provide a sound foundation from which to innovate. After all, you already have existing expertise and processes that are working for your business and potentially reliable industry-standard software and technology that is unlikely to change significantly in years to come.

Could the solution, therefore, instead lie in finding a happy assimilation of both legacy and new in order to unlock efficiencies and create positive change?

 

Extend or replace?

Start by looking at where your current system is falling short: Is it technically sound? What are the things that matter to your users - and is your current system addressing these? Or what is it that’s missing from your existing system?

Then consider: Would it be possible to extend and transform your current system with the help of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform? Or is your business at the point that it requires multiple best-of-breed packages to meet the demands of your specific business requirements?

An integrated ERP platform is made up of a comprehensive suite of solutions that link important components from across your organisation to one central platform. Whereas best-of-breed focuses on providing the best functionality for each section of the value chain - be it accounting, sales, project management, etc - while still talking to each other to offer an connected, business-wide solution.

 

The advantages of a best-of-breed approach

More often than not, it’s entirely feasible to update and re-engineer your legacy system – all the while becoming a well-connected, data-driven business. That’s right, despite what many may think, ERP systems aren’t the only way to maximise the value of your data.

A best-of-breed solution allows for integrated and optimised processes across your business with easy access to information from a single data entry point, on a single platform. This is achieved by developing a user interface that sits over all existing data sources, which becomes a central, integrated platform responsible for listening, analysis, and reporting.

Other advantages from a best-of-breed, modernised approach includes:

  • Increased efficiencies in discovering and responding to trends.
  • Greater ability to establish a true voice of customer (VoC) strategy.
  • Ease of continuing with existing workflows and processes by utilising your current systems through datafication and updated user interfaces.
  • Lower costs in terms of implementation, training and maintenance compared to ERP systems.

 

Challenges worth considering

However, like anything, there are challenges to consider. While getting the right integration takes careful planning and consideration, updating existing systems are not always a quick fix, but it’s often faster than a complete ERP replacement. There may also be additional indirect costs to consider, such as new infrastructure.

Seeking advice early in the process from experienced, independent organisations who aren’t contractually aligned with one ERP provider or another is likely to give you a balanced, rather than a biased view looking forward.

 

Moving forward

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight, and you certainly don't need to throw out your legacy system - just ask Allianz.

Allianz's workers compensation division was looking for a way to deliver 24/7 direct online access for small business customers to purchase workers compensation insurance. However, with a legacy system holding back their ambitions to deliver modern web capability they needed to find a solution to enable this new experience for their customers. Working alongside Allianz, the Jade team designed and delivered a secure middle tier (integration layer), enabling online access for Allianz customers and helping to set Allianz up for the future. Find out more, watch the video.

 

 



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