IT Management

Many enterprises today possess onnor

an infrastructure with its foundation built on legacy systems. With the rapid migration to e-business, many of these companies face the difficult task of reducing the costs of their legacy applications while evolving them to the Web.

It’s apparent that:

  • Existing legacy code and skill sets must be maintained.
  • There’s a need to migrate legacy code to new technology and acquire new skill sets.

Challenging Skills Landscape

Skills are the single greatest concern of many application development organizations because they impact all areas of an enterprise. The responsibility for maintaining and developing legacy and new skills lies within the application development organization itself.

The increasing dependence on technology during the last decade has mostly been due to the growth in the current installed base of applications. The new technologies have provided computing power to many enterprises, but this power has been shared with many large-scale enterprises that have many decades of investment in computer systems.

The number of choices available to application development organizations is greater than ever. Choosing among the many options in hardware, programming languages, application sources, and packaged solutions — all presented against the backdrop of a challenging skills landscape — represents one of the biggest near-term challenges for many organizations during the next two to five years.

Many small and midsize businesses have resolved these problems because their investment in legacy systems isn’t as large as that of large enterprises, which have accumulated legacy systems over several decades. Because dependence on packaged software, external service providers, or higher-education institutions to solve their problems is out of the larger enterprises’ control, they should resolve the skills issue within their own organizations.

How did we get here? The 1990s saw the emergence of many new technologies, increased packaged software, shifting vendor landscapes, and the Year/ 2000 (Y2K) problem. The decline of IBM and the shift in focus from legacy systems to the Internet drove many organizations to new platforms and infrastructures.

Further, the increased availability of packaged software solutions, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and human resources — particularly as a solution to Y2K problems — de-emphasized legacy skills even further. The phenomenon further pushed investments in legacy systems and skills to the background. Ten years of limited or no investment in legacy systems and legacy programmers have left organizations wondering who will take care of all these systems that refuse to die.

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