Up-cycling is the new ‘new IT’

Cloud natives will have many people believe that old legacy, on-premise, back-office IT systems have reached their shelf life with no return, and the only way forward is to rip the system out and go in the cloud. However, legacy systems are often doing an outstanding job and still have value.

With a bit of up-cycling – by connecting the ‘old IT’ (legacy systems) to the ‘new IT’ (cloud) – you can achieve the new ‘new IT’. This approach is quick, economical, and ensures an excellent user experience. So how do companies go about upcycling their legacy systems?

Gartner describes upcycling legacy systems as taking a bi-modal approach to IT; that is, you have to manage two separate, coherent models of IT delivery. There’s one model of IT that is traditional, sequential, safe and accurate, which is like your legacy system, and then there is the other model of IT that is exploratory, innovative, enables speed and agility, and it’s highly likely the cloud is hosting the service. When upscaling your IT, the goal is to have your legacy system provide the data, and your newly created architectural models deliver the data faster, and in a more pleasing way to the end user.

There’s no need to dispose of legacy systems – make them part of something new

Combining the old and the new has some benefits – the most important being it significantly mitigates the high-risk of ripping out the core of your business operations in a digital workplace. By reviewing what systems exist and seeing how you can improve them, you have the opportunity to rationalise the applications supporting your business and remove any unnecessary bloat.

Technology evolves so rapidly that your long-term strategy should be to utilise your existing template (the legacy system), review and adapt it, and then remodel it so it has the flexibility to evolve with changing IT trends. Otherwise, you’ll be in the same position in a few years – needing to replace rather than upcycle.

We have taken our consumer behaviour into the workplace and expect an amazing user experience; and we want it fast, wherever we may be, and seamlessly – at our desks and away from our desks. By upscaling you can achieve this much faster and cost effectively, as the approach is to refresh the systems, so they deliver fast and visually engaging user experiences, seamlessly connected to the business applications and operating systems.

Upcycling IT is a strategy that many national and global organisations have been embracing and with great results.

National Grid – giving people the tools for the job

At National Grid, the ‘complaints champions’ were struggling to give the firm’s customers a faster, friendly, and more responsive service due to the complaints tracking tool. It was taking 40 minutes to log a complaint, and there was no way to schedule follow-ups or data stamp activities automatically. The team was working for the software rather than the software was working for them.

Keytree advised National Grid that it wasn’t creating maximum value from its existing SAP products. Keytree’s user experience team spent time with the National Grid complaints team to understand how they handled calls, processed complaints and completed paperwork. It then worked with National Grid’s IS team and their incumbent systems integrator to add a client-side logic, step-by-step form wizards, and new functionality such as a to-do list and reminders, based on a UX design, to create a responsive and easy-to-use front end to the basic SAP system.

Keytree regularly engaged with the customer complaints users from concept to completion to meet user needs. The team now has an effective tool for recording, tracking, and managing customer complaints, so it can deliver a better customer service, ensure regulatory compliance, and be more productive – logging a complaint now only takes a few minutes rather than 40 minutes.

 Dyson SAP platform gets a refresh

Keytree has also helped Dyson, the renowned inventor of the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner, to successfully up-cycle by upgrading its SAP back-office estate. Dyson’s operating and database systems were reaching end of life so Keytree extended the lifetime of its systems by five years. This process included the upgrade of Dyson’s operating system from Windows 2003 to Windows 2012 and its database SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2012 for always-on availability.

Keytree also migrated the physical machines to the Dyson private cloud, improving performance and enabling real-time scalability, and identified and completed changes to the Disaster Recovery (DR) processes – as a result of the server changes. Dyson’s Storage Area Networks (SANs) were also transformed to house additional database copies and replaced tape libraries for the back office solution.

A new platform was also built to refresh the back office business critical applications, which included SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), SAP Business Intelligence (BI), SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM), SAP Business Warehouse (BW), and SAP Process Integration (PI).

The project has enabled Dyson’s global business operations to reduce its total-cost-of-ownership and achieve performance gains. Dyson’s databases have been compressed in size by 80 percent, its backup times reduced by over 70 percent, and its supply chain management forecasting tasks reduced by 30 percent – all thanks to Keytree’s expertise.

The new ‘new IT’ is no longer about out with the old and in with the new, it’s about taking the old legacy systems and up-cycling them with new innovative technology. This approach ensures a consumer level experience to the end user and seamlessly integrated business applications and systems for optional business performance and outcomes at a low cost.