Legacy technologies and the adoption of anew technology
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.