How not to create a legacy – part 2

Legacies sound like a good thing, but not if you are an IT manager. Heavily customised software makes upgrading to the latest version both difficult and expensive. In this second article in a series of three we consider some of the most difficult trade-offs faced by IT managers.

  • Short term expediency v long term flexibility
  • Evergreening v customisation
  • Standard v highly engineered PCs

Evergreening, or keeping software up to date has some powerful advantages:

  • Users want the features in newer editions of software
  • Businesses gain competitive advantage from exploiting new technology

So why don’t companies do it?

Because the IT environment has been customised, since:

  • Users dislike changing long established business processes
  • IT managers find it hard to argue strongly against business leaders
  • Businesses inappropriately weight the consequences of customisation in their decision making.

IT managers understand that there are costs involved in making the changes and supporting them throughout their lifetime. But customisation will continue if IT managers do not have:

  • A governance framework that helps them avoid inappropriate customisation
  • Better cost data to back up these decisions.

The first part of the legacy series is here.

h2index is proposing to run a shared research project (where the cost is shared by all the participants) to investigate these issues and determine which policies and approaches companies have found successful in enabling them to evergreen. If you are interested in taking part, please contact us.