Leveraging investments in legacy applications

In today’s throwaway society we often assume that when something is a few years old we need to replace it with a new one. This is certainly the case for many technology items such as mobile phones and laptops where we replace them every few years with the latest technology. But in the case of large enterprise applications there is too much development time and effort invested to even think about replacement. Often the core business logic of the application is sound, but as time moves on improvements are needed to take advantage of new developments, to meet the current needs of a business.

So what do you do when your mission-critical enterprise applications need an update?

The question sounds like it is crying out for a nice long technical answer full of jargon and complicated diagrams.

But let’s first look at WHY you may need to update.

In our experience the main reason for considering the modernization or even migration of some of legacy applications is business enablement.  Of course there are times when a technology is at end of life in a mission critical application that the business case for modernization is strongly technical but we find that the following drivers are equally likely to drive the need for such a project:

Not cool enough for Gen Y
Generation Y needs to be considered. (people born between 1981 and 2000), a generation that has never experienced green screens until they are thrust into the work force find it very difficult to adapt to what they see are archaic systems. Training becomes more difficult, time consuming and expensive and the attrition rate may well suffer. Also employees talking about how old the systems seem to be in any public forum is going to be damaging to your brand. The obvious and fairly quick alternative is one of the excellent re-rendering tools on the market. Not only can they make your systems looks new, connect well to the internet but they can also combine many applications in to a single seamless superset (known as a mash-up). Continue reading

How sustainable is ICT?

Fujitsu launched its third global benchmark report today into ICT sustainability maturity. This is a fantastic body of research that allows us to see how sustainability is progressing broadly within ICT departments, in different countries and in different industries.

The report tells us that there are challenges out there; overall Australia’s sustainability maturity is heading backwards. Why? That’s a good question and I’d be really interested to hear peoples thoughts on that. I think my top three would be:

  1. Hype is over: we had a lot of noise about “Green”. Everything and everyone was green for a while back there, even IT departments. Then we’ve learnt that it’s not quite as easy as first thought, projects need to be bedded in and maintained, they have to be part of a change program and can’t just be achieved as a tick in the box exercise.
  2.  ICT departments don’t align their strategy with the broader organisation sustainability strategy. So increased sustainability maturity is a by-product from projects and programs that they are looking to do anyway. This means we miss the opportunity to get maximum value from these projects.
  3. ICT departments are still not accountable for the power bill; while this year’s benchmark report shows that while this is improving, the majority of organisations don’t have visibility of their power bill and are not accountable for energy spend. The stats show that improvement in this metric is closely linked to better overall performance in other areas. So this one is key.

You can find the full report here

Challenges are, as we know, also opportunities. In a time of rising electricity costs, ICT departments can make a contribution to both the bottom line of the organisation as well as to its environmental performance. The Global Benchmark Report shows that many organisations today are achieving best practice and are already reaping the rewards.

How to address the burning question “will my data be secure in the Cloud?”

Cloud computing is transforming the way IT-based services are delivered to organisations. There are many clear advantages of moving to ‘the cloud’ – reduced capital expenditure, scalability and increased business agility to name a few.

For most organisations, therefore, the journey to cloud is no longer a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’, and a large number of enterprises have already travelled some way down this path.

Will my data be secure if I put it in the Cloud?

However, there is one overwhelming question that is still causing many CIOs and their colleagues to delay their move to cloud: ‘Will my data be secure if I put it in the Cloud?’

This question has been the subject of much media attention and expert debate including this recent article in SMH ITPro. Essentially there are too many factors to consider to make a general statement. Organisations need to consider what application will be used, the sensitivity of the information, and above all the credentials of the cloud services provider.

Security in relation to cloud should be treated the same as security in any major IT decision, with the correct checks and balances to ensure all necessary security and risk management measures are covered.

Businesses that are already deep into their cloud programmes are reporting that security, while an extremely important consideration, is not a barrier to adoption.
If you are interested in exploring this topic further, Fujitsu has published a very comprehensive white paper on the issues surrounding Cloud security and how Fujitsu deals with these. It can be downloaded from the following link: The White Book of Cloud Security