Spring cleaning and the challenge of “The Legacy App” Spring cleaning and the challenge of “The Legacy App”
Tarsus On Demand's Matthew McEnroe talks about legacy apps and how they should be handled in this new cloud era. Spring cleaning and the challenge of “The Legacy App”

I have enjoyed being a part of the Tarsus On Demand partner events that have happened over the past few months, because they’ve given us the opportunity to speak directly to our channel partners about cloud adoption, cloud platforms, and the cloud-based applications that play a big role in any organisation’s digital transformation journey.

Based on the discussions I have had both privately and at these events, I have gained more insight as to why businesses may be faced with resistance when trying to implement a cloud strategy, or why cloud seems to be a distant concept for them.

Overcoming the basics

Global cloud trends have reached the SA market, with major emphasis on Hybrid Cloud – the combination of on-premise datacentres and private cloud services, and as a result, there has been a shift in traditional business concepts with regards to an organisation’s cloud journey. While there are still the usual cost and security concerns, for the most part, organisations have overcome the initial challenges posed by cloud.

While some concerns remain, it’s exciting to see that most of the people we spoke to have overcome these challenges as cloud vendors and South Africa’s connectivity landscape have matured. As a result, other, more pressing challenges have taken centre stage, such as the existence of legacy applications and how to migrate them to a more modern environment.

As I’ve become aware of these new concerns and challenges, they’ve excited me because it shows that as a market, South Africa is maturing at a reasonable pace, and that we are moving forward by getting through the traditional challenges.

Legacy Apps

And looking at these new concerns, I’ve come to believe that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the challenge I now call the Legacy App. I have seen multiple approaches applied by global cloud vendors and noticed that with time and some true re-designing of systems and processes, this challenge has been overcome. It’s now just a matter of choosing an approach, and getting it done.

When someone mentions Legacy App in a conversation with me, I conjure up an image of a rusty server with a thick layer of dust and spiderwebs all over it. It could be a server that is being backed up, but I see fear in IT admins’ eyes when I ask why it hasn’t been moved or what the plan is for it. Everyone is scared to touch these legacy systems because businesses often rely so heavily on them, which is probably the reason they became legacy systems in the first place.

Some of these applications may be basic accounting or in-house developed ERP systems; they could also be time capturing or content delivery apps, but the challenge will always exist if we move everything around these apps, but not the apps themselves.

It’s becoming easier

I have noticed that new solutions are forcing organisations to move away from being dependent on these applications, and I believe that with new migration strategies/tools and “platform as a service” (PaaS) models, this is becoming easier and less stressful. The real danger here is that the longer we leave these apps where they are, the harder it may become to move them into the cloud for further development.

In my experience, the first step should be for IT to “spring clean” these legacy applications and start exploring mechanisms for growth and expansion. Organisations will then be able to find amazing new tools that put them ahead and increase productivity without the cost of acquiring or deploying additional resources.

I enjoy seeing results in these kinds of discoveries, and believe that it is not too late to start this cleanup!

Matthew McEnroe is the Product Manager for Azure/Hosting at Tarsus On Demand

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