Legacy technologies and the adoption of anew technology


What is the best possible way to deal with people who have vested interest in legacy technologies to resist the adoption of any new technology?


· 3


People Skills
Legacy Technologies
New Technologies
Hassan Qudrat-Ullah
14 months ago

8 answers


People with vested interest would be required to be reasoned with numbers. A fair comparison between the existing legacy systems and the new technologies, in the form of efficiencies in manpower hours, optimization of cost and profit maximization can reveal the advantages of the new systems over the legacy systems. And this will justify the choice of the new systems over the legacy systems. However, cost of implementation making a real impact on return on investment is an important factor that the new technology should be delivering, among other factors, when being considered.

Pramela Nair Panthallor - PhD
13 months ago
Thank your for this perspective, Dr. Pramela. In your view, how can the cost of implementation be reduced? - Hassan 13 months ago
Implementation costs vary based on requirements but in general, it can be kept on check by monitoring factors like: selection of vendor (RFQ or previous vendors), decision on implementation in phases or enterprise-wide, h/w and s/w implementation cost (based on one-time/annual/bi-annual, etc.), maintenance and training strategy you will decide post implementation (inhouse or vendor-driven), etc. - Pramela Nair 13 months ago
The existing employees who have been using the legacy systems are people with experience who can get opportunities in other companies. For the organization to retain skilled employees, arranging a good training before the implementation of the new system would be a great solution. - Pramela Nair 13 months ago
Hassan Qudrat-Ullah and Dr. Pramela Nair Panthallor, I agree that training is must but question is how to reduce the cost. To be emplyee engagment at the earlier stage of new intervetion is critical. - Ali 12 months ago
Agreed Ali Qudrat, Employee engagement and trainging are critical factors in the trsition period. People feel insecure and create rumors of different kinds if left alone. Active engagement with a clear goal-oriented program of training and incentives will work. - Tahir 12 months ago
Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, Dr. Pramela Nair Panthallor, and Tahir Iqbal, this is not a new issue. Firms have been facing this issue since the advent of computers. Now with fast-paced technological innovations, it has become difficult for firms to catch up. First they need new systems else they are out of business. Then to bring people on board is even a bigger issue. But we know incentives and training are the tool - Ali 12 months ago

Challenging vested interest in legacy technologies is difficult. I've found success in the process below when implementing new CRM and BI technologies. However, the process below is for "challenging paradigms" for vested interest. In no way does the represent the comprehensive project management process for onboarding new technology.

  • IT leadership works with executive leadership to review the company's mission, vision and strategies and then identifies the gaps that exist in legacy technologies to help the company achieve it goals.
  • IT leadership secures counsel from a consultant to "pressure test" the hypotheses identified with executive leadership and to align on the specific gaps, thus creating the business case.
  • Executive leadership communicates across the organization how the company is equipping itself with new technology to achieve its mission, vision and strategies. This begins the paradigm shift, which continues to get reinforced.
  • IT leadership works with his/her department in discussing the gaps and clearly reinforcing that there are no "sacred cows" in terms of legacy systems. IT leadership articulates that the role of their function is for the "enablement" of the organization, then selects project leads for specific technologies.
  • IT project leads manage a cross functional team for technology solution vetting and selection, with functional business leads participating (e.g. FP&A, Operations, Supply Chain, etc.). [detailed project management process in the background]
  • The IT project team selects the best technology solution and pilots it, with specific timelines and scorecards identified to measure results. Measure, learn and change during this time to adapt the "best fit" execution of the technology. [detailed project management process in the background]
  • The IT project team rolls out the new technology with a phased exit of the legacy technology.
  • The IT project team hosts training sessions for early adoption and onboarding. Individual associates are identified as "super users" and receive a stipend to "train-the-trainer" for departmental execution.
  • All future tools and reporting are to be built within the new technology and all future requests must utilize the new technology.
  • Add expectations within performance reviews for capability and competency expectations with the new technology by a given date. Employees that do not meet expectations are placed on performance improvement plans (PIPs).
Vic Clesceri
13 months ago

Experienced people with high stakes in the legacy systems will not necessarily create an obstruction for the new system. If a firm has an active training program, these experienced folks with ongoing advanced training about the new technology will be an assett., not the liability.

Ali Qudrat
13 months ago
Well said,, Ali Qudrat, Vic Clesceri, Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, in fact this is not the first time we are witnessing such a change. Any change does require active engagement with employees and sound training and incentives for them. - Wasim 12 months ago

In my experience, it takes a good effort, incentives, and leadership to bring the experinced people at par for the new system. There is no quick fix here.

Bo Chen
13 months ago
I agree. There is no short cut to actual training of folks for the new system. Often companies do not spend on this required training assuming that experience folks will make it, regardless. This is hardly true an assumption. - Imane 13 months ago

In my view it is a tough nut to crack. However, if counpanies are willing to spend and train then, there should be some chnaces of success.

Wasim Safdar
13 months ago
I agree, more investments are needed for training of experienced folks. - Wasim 13 months ago
Change is hard anyway but changing the behavior of people with a vested interest is even harder. Unless, ample incentives and training and surety of ongoing job are given, the new initiative would most likely backfire. - Ali 12 months ago

I have experience with public organizations. It is really hard to bring any change, this being new technology has to be done very carefully. Management should take active role in selling this new technology to the exiting people who have spent years on the exiting systems. It should be made clear, that everyone will be trained to the new system and be given enough time to adjust.

Imane B
13 months ago

The biggest incentive to move from legacy technologies into current (and my organization is doing this now, for this reason) is that legacy technologies become increasingly difficult to support over time and become obsolete. Parts become unavailable other than on secondary markets. You don't want to be in the position of purchasing spares on Ebay. Additionally, new software versions, operating systems in particular, will cease being backwards compatible with no drivers available for your application. In the end this presents an unacceptable risk to the continuity of business over the long term.

Michael Meehan, CMRP, CRL
12 months ago

1-Motovate them and ensure their job security.

2-Provide financial incentives.

3-Train and retrain on an ongoing basis.

4- Create a sense of pwnership of the new technology.

5- Repeat or adjust 1 to 4 above as needed.

Tahir Iqbal
12 months ago
Tahir Iqbal agreed. However, to motivate people is really hard. Unless, top management takes the responsibility and takes initiatives to get these people motivated, it is tough a call by any standard. - Ali 12 months ago
Ali Qudrat, I agree that it takes good leadership and appropriate incentives to motivate employees. Intrinsic motivation is powerful but is rare to see. I appreciate Hassan Qudrat-Ullah for asking this very relevant and timely question.. - Bo 12 months ago

Have some input?