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ITL Recap: Re-Platforming Legacy Systems

At our May 3rd IT Leadership (ITL) meeting we learned how Ilhan Kolko and Dave Lundstrom over at Echo Global Logistics have gone about their own legacy re-platforming journey. The discussion began around how to determine if your core technology is approaching its end of life- and what paths you can take to fix it. There are three ways to determine if this is the case:

  1. Is 50% of your team’s effort dedicated to keeping the lights on?
  2. Is greater than 40% project-level effort ending in “making it work?”
  3. Has it been about 11-12 years since you have last platformed?

Overall legacy platforms are still in existence because they fulfill a business need, are often very reliable and have a low maintenance cost. There are numerous challenges that come to mind when looking at replacing a legacy system. These include; Business risks, going out of support or being unable to adapt to changing business needs.

Once you move forward with the decision that you must re-platform, then your team must consider some of the common risks that come with this move. These include:

  1. Understanding of project scope
  2. Shiny Object Syndrome
  3. Having everyone learn as they go
  4. Waiting too long to deliver value

Here are some of the ways that Echo Global Logistics has successfully tackled these issues:

  1. Having honest scope discussions with stakeholders: Agreeing on true “must-haves,” “nice-to-haves,” and “wishes”
  2. Being cognizant not to bite off more than you can chew technically
  3. Getting information so that you can remain objective
  4. Being honest about missing skillsets within your existing team
  5. Consider taking an agile approach
  6. Don’t go it alone! Be sure to bring in industry peers or experts to bounce your ideas off

Thank you to those that attended the meeting, and we hope to see you at the next Think IT event. Please be sure to look at the slide deck that was used during our discussion. Thank you again to Echo Global Logistics for hosting!