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July 13, 2012updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

Money for old rope?

25% say legacy systems hold them back, but cost 25% of total IT budget

By Jason Stamper Blog

A DEC VAX (image courtesy Kees’s Vax page)

It seems there comes a time in every server, storage, switch or SAN’s life when it’s time to depart this mortal coil for the great graveyard of IT equipment in the sky (or the nearest recycling centre, whichever is nearer).

Because a survey just out by Accenture found that 25% of respondents believe their businesses are constrained by legacy systems. Just as worryingly, around 25% of the average firm’s IT budget will be spent on legacy systems in the next two years.

I like legacy systems. They’re for the most part solid and dependable, and often have cool names, like DEC VAX: they may sound like a vaccum cleaner, but they never fall over.

But then I don’t have to power, cool, maintain, modernise or migrate from legacy systems – I just write about them.

It seems not many IT and business executives are as keen on those old workhorse machines in the corner as I am. Accenture interviewed 250 technology and 250 business executives from five major industry sectors to assess whether UK businesses are ready to adopt agile IT solutions. The results show that one in four UK businesses are constrained by existing legacy systems, although they for the most part see ‘cloud computing as a great move’ and thus likely to improve IT productivity.

Over half of executives said that transforming fixed IT infrastructure and operational investments could better align IT with real business needs within their organisation and improve IT flexibility.

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The ‘Agile IT’ survey released by Accenture is said to show that the ability to scale up and down IT resources rapidly to meet the changing needs of users and customers could save UK businesses nearly a third of their IT costs, according to 75% of executives surveyed.

In the face of these stats, Stephen Nunn, MD of Accenture’s infrastructure consulting group, gave three broad pieces of advice: IT needs to work more closely with the business; application rationalisation makes sense; and CIOs should draw up an application roadmap for modernising legacy IT.

I’d say it’s possibly even simpler than that: should CIOs simply be saying to the business, ‘want better IT provision? Then put up or shut up. We need modern gear to support a modern business.’

What do you think? Is that doable or suicidal? Does it depend on the CIO’s credibility, or position in the CXO hierarchy?







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