Written on 6th April 2017 - 2 minutes

Why the public sector needs to wake up to the issue of legacy technology

The public sector is one of the few remaining where the old mantra of a ‘job for life’ still persists. This however has seen the issue of legacy systems become more predominant in the past couple of years.

A legacy system is one that is not considered ‘internet ready’ or no longer meets the requirements of a business. The problems of legacy systems are rooted in the skill gaps that arise when those who implement the original code come to the end of their career and take their expertise with them.

Additionally, in today’s environment where we live and breathe technology, finding replacements for this expertise is becoming increasingly difficult. Developers want to be at the cutting edge of technology and understandably, don’t want to look back and learn archaic code and the systems can fall into disarray.

The risks of unmanaged legacy systems in the public sector

Maintenance and updates to legacy systems should not slip to the bottom of the to do list. There are multiple options available to help bring your systems up to scratch, including decommission, re-writes and integration.

Re-writing a system can be seen as a daunting and unachievable solution to the public sector due to tight budgets and skill shortages. It also carriers the risk that if your in-house expert has left, you can never be 100% sure that every aspect of the system has been covered by the new solution. This can lead to:

  • Performance issues
  • Irrelevant functionality
  • Poor user experience
  • Security risks
  • Loss of data

‘Window dressing’ systems is not enough

In the new age of digital, customers expect intuitive systems as the norm. Despite the strains of legacy systems on in-house teams, some public sector bodies have started responding to customer expectations by making websites and customer portals intuitive and easy to use.

However, this only solves half the problem, Digital Transformation is a journey and one that takes a universal look at all your IT systems and processes. There’s no doubt that while customer experience (CX) is high on the agenda, without resolving the back-end technology these portals link to, something will give eventually. Simply updating the customer-facing end of a system and not addressing underlying issues opens organisations up to the risk of poor system integration and data management, which can lead to inefficiency and higher costs.

Talk to us to discover how we can help your organisation overcome the issues of legacy systems.

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