What is your legacy? Probably most of us will have little to hand over to the next generation other than a few sheckles, dodgy furniture and mounting debts. You may have created something or written a book. You may have been a sporty type and achieved a sporting feat of some kind. Its your legacy to the world.
But what about where you work? A legacy may be something your company inherited from its owners or significant staff member. It may include something related to a business process that was left over by a merger. Or it could be a contractual obligation that leaves your company beholding to a supplier or customer due to some legacy deal struck years ago and not revised or revoked.
But what is your IT Legacy Load Index?
A legacy system is an old method, technology, computer system, or application program. The legacy system may or may not remain in use. Even if it is no longer used, it may continue to impact the organization due to its historical role or because a maintenance contract is still being paid for even though the kit went into a skip years ago. Oops! Or it may have created a process or workround that everyone follows blindly and has become one of those unwritten rules all new starters have to follow regardless of any conscious thought process.
For a variety of reasons (some rational others not ), a legacy system may continue to be used, sometimes well past its vendor-supported lifetime, resulting in support and maintenance challenges. It may be that the system still provides for the business needs, even though newer technology or more efficient methods of performing a task are now available. However, the decision to keep an old system may be influenced by economic reasons such as return on investment challenges or vendor lock-in, the inherent challenges of change management, or a variety of other reasons other than functionality. The skills to run the system may be locked into one individual’s head. Or the skills in the market place are running out because of the legacy involved in the application language i.e. no one has the skills anymore or they have simply retired! |Furthermore a legacy system may include procedures or terminology which are no longer relevant in the current context, and may hinder or confuse understanding of the methods or technologies used. Oh and finally the term “legacy” may have little to do with the size or age of the system — mainframes run 64-bit Linux and Java alongside 1960s vintage code.
So what is the IT Legacy Load Index.
If you understand service catalog or similar ways of describing IT services then you will get what IT Legacy Load Index looks like. But if you dont below is a little picture.
So imagine a modern cloud based email system. The legacy load index is going to be low. Why? Well the inherent components of the email service belong to someone else. This someone else has all the responsibility for legacy. They refresh the hardware. They manage the maintenance. They license the software. And they keep the skills up to date. Therefore to the business using the service the costs of replacing the email service are potentially low.
Now take a back office Sales Order Processing service. It runs on a platform that is 30 years old. The knowledge is held by a sub-contractor who has since laid off a lot its development team and provides a very basic telephone support on a best endeavours basis. Furthermore the hardware is now well end of life and any spares are like rare records and costs extortionate sums to recover. Any written contracts covering the system are lost and no one really knows how much the system takes to run. More importantly no one really knows how much it would cost to replace. Oh did I saw that if the system ever stopped ( it had been running non stop for years ) the level of confidence to get it back up and running is significantly low. So the IT Legacy Load Index is exceptionally high.
What does this all mean? On its own not a lot but if introduced into the strategic planning for an organisation as they sort through projects to vote in and out the Legacy Load Index is a useful exercise especially if the future state for that Sales Order Processing service resides in a cloud service that can help reduce the legacy ( risk ) load.
Oh and I forgot. We all have a Legacy Load Index. Whats yours?