February 07, 2022

Overcoming legacy infrastructure challenges: what business leaders should know

By Deshni Harricharan, National Sales Manager at SEACOM

Legacy infrastructure, which includes both software and hardware, runs the risk of becoming limited or inflexible over time. While there is a push for IT architecture that can endure this, technology evolves in real time, and businesses often feel pressured into offering cutting-edge solutions to keep up with competition and current trends.

South Africa is home to many companies that use mainframe or server infrastructure for essential business operations. The result? A system that proves too vital to be tampered with or outright removed as it will cripple every other system, preventing digital transformation within the business. It’s imperative that leaders understand the impact of these systems and the ways in which they can embrace new solutions – so they are not held back by them.

What is legacy infrastructure?

Legacy systems are those that, while based on outdated technologies, are critical for daily operations, with infrastructure ranging from physical servers to digital applications. But over time, the long-term impact of outdated technologies can be felt. Slow, inefficient, and unsustainable hardware limits a business’s ability to expand, take on new clients, and secure and contain company data. Software that goes unpatched can bring about compatibility and security threats, risking not only the information it processes but also those daily operations that, if compromised, can bring an entire enterprise to a complete halt.

The gap between legacy and emerging technologies continues to widen, exacerbated by the growing market in frontier technologies. Encompassing trends such as big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and Internet of Things, the global market size of frontier tech is expected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2025. This rapid technological development shrinks a system’s viable lifecycle within a business and opens the door to redundancies.

Workplace mindset and skills

Legacy systems often create major issues for a company’s IT staff - with each patch or configuration change, a system becomes more complex, beholden to the knowledge of its overseer. Institutional memory is at the mercy of time and turnovers – as technology grows older, the education and training needed to maintain it becomes scarcer, increasing disruptions thanks to undetected problems.

The right skills are key to overcoming this obstacle. South Africa may have thousands of hard-to-fill positions available in our ICT sector, but the upskilling of existing staff and administrators mustn’t be overlooked when it comes to maintaining these systems (and dealing with new ones). Being able to visualise a business’s requirements – and the capabilities of its staff – is vital to knowing what systems have the greatest longevity in terms of application and lifecycle. A specific workplace mindset must be treated like any other business investment as there are returns to be made.

From on-site to the cloud

The transition from on-site IT solutions to remote cloud-based ones, represents one of the biggest shifts in how businesses handle their IT operations. With this development, companies can bypass the necessity of legacy infrastructure in favour of a more adaptable and streamlined service offering.

Flexible ICT infrastructure requires fast and reliable connectivity to accommodate varying business processes and their ever-changing requirements. If a business lacks the expertise to introduce this kind of infrastructure, they can turn to industry partners, like SEACOM, who can provide them with necessary facilities and knowledge. Trusting both your IT partner and your systems, negates the concerns of legacy infrastructure, clearing the way for a business’s digital transformation.

At SEACOM we want to help make your company’s digital transformation as seamless as possible. For more information about our digital, cloud-based, and security solutions, email us at marketing@seacom.com, or leave us a message.