Assessing Your Legacy Systems: Where to Start

You’re stuck with a tangled web of outdated systems, duct-taped together with quick fixes and workarounds, silently swallowing your organisation’s productivity and profitability. To start evaluating your legacy systems, identify the usual suspects: systems crashing frequently, patched with workarounds, or no longer supported by the vender. Map out system integrations, noting which ones are held together with digital duct tape and prayers. Evaluate technical debt, prioritising modernisation needs based on ROI and strategic alinement. You’re just scratching the surface – now’s the time to get to the root of the issue and uncover the full scope of your legacy system woes.

Key Takeaways

• Identify legacy system candidates by looking for frequent crashes, slow performance, integration issues, and high maintenance costs.• Map out system integrations to pinpoint areas held together with workarounds and identify data silos and duplication.• Evaluate technical debt burden by assessing quick fixes, resource waste, and inefficiencies, and prioritise modernisation needs based on ROI and strategic alinement.• Build a business case by highlighting cost savings, demonstrating financial viability, and emphasising the importance of modernisation in driving business growth.• Develop a communication strategy and establish a realistic timeline by engaging stakeholders, setting milestones, and visualising the project roadmap.

Identifying Legacy System Candidates

As you undertake the mission to modernise your IT landscape, the first order of business is to pinpoint the systems that are secretly holding your organisation back – the ones that have been lingering in the shadows, quietly accumulating technical debt.

You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge, so it’s time to shine a light on those systemic inefficiencies that are draining your resources.

Look for systems that are consistently causing technical hurdles, such as frequent crashes, slow performance, or integration issues.

These are likely candidates for modernisation. Also, take a closer look at systems that have been patched and bandaged over the years, with workarounds and quick fixes that have become a normal part of their operation.

These Frankenstein’s monsters of code are prime targets for a refresh.

Another key indicator is systems that are no longer supported by the vender or have fallen out of compliance with regulatory requirements.

These systems are ticking time bombs, waiting to trigger a compliance nightmare or security breach.

By identifying these legacy system candidates, you’re taking the first pivotal step towards a more efficient, agile, and secure IT infrastructure.

Understanding Current System Landscapes

You’ve got a list of legacy system candidates, now it’s time to scrutinise the complex web of systems, applications, and tools that make up your current IT landscape.

This is where things can get messy, but the goal is to untangle this digital spaghetti.

As you dig deeper, you’ll likely discover a maze of system integrations, some of which might be held together with digital duct tape and prayers.

Take note of how these systems interact, what data they share, and where the gaps are.

Are there any data silos that prevent seamless communication between teams or departments?

Identify the systems that are tightly coupled, and those that are loosely connected.

Map out the data flows, and pinpoint areas where data is duplicated, lost in translation, or stuck in a black hole.

You might be surprised at how many workarounds have been created to compensate for system limitations.

The goal is to create a clear, accurate picture of your current system landscape.

Evaluating Technical Debt Burden

Your technical debt burden is likely staggering, with years of quick fixes and band-aid solutions weighing heavily on your system’s performance and stability. It’s like carrying a heavy backpack on a long hike – you can feel the strain, but you’re not sure where to start unpacking.

Code Quality Suffers: Quick fixes and workarounds lead to convoluted code, making it harder to maintain and update.

Debt Metrics Skyrocket: The more you patch, the more you owe – in resources, time, and ultimately, money.

Tech Inefficiencies Abound: Band-aid solutions create inefficiencies, slowing down your system and driving up costs.

Resource Waste Runs Rampant: The longer you wait, the more resources you’ll waste on temporary fixes instead of investing in long-term solutions, resulting in a higher expenditure.

It’s time to confront the reality of your technical debt burden. By acknowledging the weight of your system’s technical debt, you can start to make strides towards a more efficient, stable, and scalable system. It won’t be easy, but the payoff will be worth it – a system that runs smoothly, efficiently, and effectively, freeing you up to focus on what matters most: driving your business forward.

Prioritising System Modernisation Needs

Now that you’ve faced the music and acknowledged the weight of your technical debt, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle the formidable task of prioritising system modernisation needs. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you get to decide which legacy systems to modernise first.

To get started, conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify the systems that pose the greatest risk to your organisation. Consider factors like security vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and potential downtime.

By prioritising systems based on risk, you’ll confirm that you’re addressing the most critical areas first.

Next, consider the cost savings associated with modernising each system. Which ones will yield the greatest ROI? Are there opportunities to consolidate systems, reduce maintenance costs, or eliminate unnecessary licences?

By prioritising systems based on cost savings, you’ll maximise your modernisation budget.

As you prioritise, remember that it’s not just about tackling the most critical systems first; it’s also about making strategic decisions that aline with your organisation’s goals.

Building a Business Case

With a clear prioritisation strategy in place, it’s time to craft a compelling business case that sells your modernisation vision to stakeholders. You’ve got a solid understanding of your legacy system’s strengths and weaknesses; now it’s time to build a case that resonates with your organisation’s leadership.

A strong business case is built on four key pillars:

Cost Savings: Highlight the financial benefits of modernisation, such as reduced maintenance costs, increased efficiency, and improved scalability.

ROI Analysis: Conduct a thorough return on investment analysis to demonstrate the financial viability of your modernisation efforts.

Strategic Alinement: Show how modernisation alines with your organisation’s overall strategy and goals, and how it will drive business growth.

Financial Projections: Provide detailed financial projections that outline the costs and benefits of modernisation, including timelines and milestones.

Crafting a Realistic Roadmap

Now that you’ve made the business case for modernising your legacy system, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and create a roadmap for success.

You’ll need to define the project’s scope, identifying what needs to be updated, replaced, or integrated.

Next, you’ll pinpoint key stakeholders who’ll be impacted by the changes, and establish a realistic timeline that sets expectations for the entire team.

Define Project Scope

Defining a project scope sets realistic expectations for your legacy system assessment by identifying the must-haves, nice-to-haves, and never-gonna-happens. This is where you prioritise what’s essential, what’s desirable, and what’s simply unrealistic.

To get started, consider the following:

Project goals: What’re the core objectives of your legacy system assessment? Are you looking to optimise performance, reduce costs, or enhance security?

Team roles: Who’ll be involved in the assessment, and what’re their responsibilities? Clarify roles to avoid confusion and confirm everyone’s on the same page.

Key systems and components: Identify the key systems and components that need to be assessed, and prioritise them based on business value and risk.

Resources and budget: Determine the resources and budget required to complete the assessment, and plan accordingly.

Identify Key Stakeholders

Your legacy system assessment‘s success hinges on identifying key stakeholders who’ll be impacted by the project’s outcome or can substantially influence its trajectory.

These individuals can make or break your project, so it’s vital to pinpoint them early on.

Conduct a thorough stakeholder analysis to identify the who’s who of your project. This involves mapping out individuals or groups with a vested interest in your legacy system’s fate.

As you compile your list, consider those who’ll be directly affected by the project’s outcome, such as end-users, customers, or business leaders.

Don’t forget to include influencers who can sway the project’s direction, like IT managers or department heads.

A well-crafted communication strategy is essential to keep stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the project.

This might involve regular updates, progress reports, or even workshops to confirm everyone’s on the same page.

Establish Timeline

With a clear understanding of your stakeholders, it’s time to craft a realistic roadmap, outlining the specific milestones and deadlines that will guide your legacy system assessment from start to finish. You’re not just building a timeline; you’re creating a visual representation of your project’s progress. Timeline visualisation is key to keeping your stakeholders informed and engaged.

System documentation review: Identify and gather all relevant system documentation, including technical guides, user manuals, and system diagrams.

System assessment and analysis: Conduct a thorough analysis of your legacy system, identifying areas for improvement and potential roadblocks.

Stakeholder feedback and review: Schedule regular cheque-ins with your stakeholders to ensure their needs are being met and address any concerns.

Final report and recommendations: Compile your findings and present a comprehensive report outlining your assessment results and recommended next steps.


You’ve finally mustered the courage to confront the behemoths lurking in your organisation’s IT closet – those creaky, outdated legacy systems.

Congratulations, you’ve taken the first step towards liberation!

Now, armed with a clear understanding of your system landscapes, technical debt, and modernisation priorities, you’re ready to craft a roadmap that’ll catapult your organisation into the 21st century.

The journey ahead won’t be a cakewalk, but trust us, it’s a million times better than being stuck in the Stone Age.

Contact us to discuss our services now!