CIO Symmetry

Feb 17 2011   5:57PM GMT

Application retirement: Saying goodbye isn’t so easy

Christina Torode Christina Torode Profile: Christina Torode

There are forces moving organizations down a path toward application retirement but, for some, it might be easier to keep a legacy application rather than put a more modern spin on it.

The arguments for application modernization are many: Increasingly mobile workforces want access to back-end systems without having to call on IT; new generations of workers prefer Web-based interfaces; and the money previously spent on maintaining legacy applications can be put to better use elsewhere.

Technology and services options abound to make the move easier. Applications can be retired and moved to a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, removing the need to support and maintain the software. There are companies that specialize just in migrating data out of older systems into a new ERP suite, and there are vendors that will do a code audit, removing wasteful code and using the “good code” to build a new application.

But for each of these steps, there are months of up-front preparation. The first step is choosing which applications stay and which can go. Skill sets must also be evaluated to figure out which modernization path is the best fit— for example, does your staff need to learn a new programming language if a service-oriented architecture (SOA) is you application retirement path? You will also need to factor in and plan for business disruptions.

You could also choose to not modernize the back-end system and instead build a new front-end. In this case, it may be simpler to leave the back-end alone and enable a larger set of users to meet changing business needs with a friendlier interface.

Or is this a Band-Aid?

Let us know what about your application retirement plans; email Christina Torode, News Director.

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