UK still hamstrung by legacy technology

UK companies and public sector bodies are still heavily reliant on legacy IT systems that are holding back business improvement, a new survey has revealed.

UK companies and public sector bodies are still heavily reliant on legacy IT systems that are holding back business improvement, a new survey has revealed.

More than a quarter of private and public sector organisations are using legacy technology to support at least half of their critical systems, the survey of more than 150 senior IT professionals found.

Nearly four out of five organisations said a lack of system agility made aligning IT with business objectives difficult, the survey, commissioned by outsourcing firm Atos Origin and carried out by the National Computing Centre, discovered.

The research identified spiralling costs arising from maintaining and supporting legacy systems through “unstructured updates”.

More than six out of 10 of those surveyed believed there was a negative return on investment in maintaining legacy IT systems, while 64% said complexity and integration of systems was a significant IT problem.

Over two-thirds of the organisations were not confident that they had a single view of their legacy data, although they recognised the importance of good quality data to their business.

Stefan Foster, NCC’s managing director, said, “Agility is a significant competitive advantage and inflexible legacy systems can restrict growth. The problem is widespread – in organisations with 50 or more IT staff, between 25% and 50% of applications are considered legacy, and many are business critical systems.”

Most of those responding to the survey were rebuilding their enterprise processes to regain agility, Foster added. But he warned, “The challenge is how to futureproof new systems to avoid them becoming next year’s legacy problem. You need a well thought through road-map.”

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