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Written on 11th April 2017 - 2 minutes

Managing the risk of legacy systems in the public sector

In a recent blog, we looked at the risks legacy systems pose to the public sector. At a time where the original developers are retiring, and expertise is leaving with them, organisations are being forced to tackle legacy systems head on.

Legacy systems prevent local government from delivering services digitally; this could be through self-service websites and portals (think about renewing your car tax online). The older technology simply isn’t fit for purpose in terms of automation and data integration. Whilst many public sector organisations have started on the digital journey to improve customer experience (CX), they may not have considered the back-end legacy systems which contain customer data and workflows. Failure to address this could put your organisation and data, at risk.

Three tips to manage the risk of legacy systems in the public sector

IT health checks – stabilise legacy systems

If decommissioning the system is not on the horizon, it is cost effective to initially invest in an IT health check. For relatively low budgets (depending on the complexity of your systems), a health check examines programming, architecture, processes, people and data, to identify issues with performance, stability and security.

A thorough health check will not only document the ‘as is’ (current state of the systems) but also ‘to be’ (the steps you need to take in order to meet objectives in the future). Assuming that an evaluation of your systems doesn’t highlight any stand out issues, the risks of implementing new solutions should be minimal and the health check can form the basis of your digital roadmap.

Decommission the system – out with the old

On the rare occasion where the legacy system is no longer required, perhaps due to departmental mergers as seen across many legal teams, it might be that the system can simply be made redundant. Whilst this can be a very cost effective solution, it is imperative that you first check that there is nothing currently relying on the system. Make sure that any system integrations such as databases or applications will not ‘break’ by decommissioning the system.

‘Re-innovation’ – upgrade legacy systems

Re-writing a system can seem like a daunting task, especially when skill gaps are the reason for the issue arising in the first place. By working with an expert partner, you can ‘re-innovate’ the existing legacy software incrementally, to ensure that your systems are robust enough to cope with today’s challenging environment of increased risk.

The better suppliers in the market should be capable of re-creating the source code if it is lost or doesn’t exist. That way, their developers can also start to efficiently integrate new portals, mobile and cloud solutions with existing systems to really protect the public sector from risk and improve customer experience.

With knowledge of over 40 technologies in-house, Software Solved is well placed to help you overcome issues with legacy systems. Why not talk to us today?

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