Home > Articles > Information Technology

How Legacy Architectures Can Foil the Modern Enterprise

  • Print
  • + Share This
Unfortunately, many institutions still rely upon computers that carry significant baggage from the past, such as aging data architectures, to chart a competitive course through a complex and unpredictable future. Learn how outdated computer components and technology can stymie critical future business initiatives.
This chapter is from the book

Introduction

As businesses and governments greet the new century, they will be relying on technological advancements to deliver a vast array of initiatives across a variety of industries. Institutions charting a course through an increasingly complex and unpredictable future can count on one thing—computers will be their partners in this journey. Unfortunately, many computers carry significant baggage from the past.

This baggage comes in the form of aging hardware, software, and data architectures that prevent organizations from fully exploiting computers and the value they bring an organization, its customers, and its partners. Aging legacy architectures can stymie critical business initiatives while preventing an enterprise from responding to competitive pressures in a timely fashion.

Legacy architectures represent the collective set of application software, data structures, and operational platforms currently running in enterprise computing environments. How organizations deal with these aging legacy architectures will largely determine the depth and breadth of value computers will offer institutions and society in the coming century.

1.1 The Computer of the Future Meets Reality

Computers, for all intents and purposes, have been with us for more than half a century. We are living in a future that was both foreseen and unforeseen by past futurists. It is therefore worth examining where computers fit in relation to today's reality versus the hindsight of history.

The vision of modern computing was originally foretold in science fiction movies of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Computers had to be small enough to fit on a rocket ship and smart enough to communicate with people. HAL, the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, is a good example. In that movie, Arthur C. Clarke envisioned a very powerful computer that would recognize voices and faces, communicate fluently, and control a wide variety of functions.

Many of these predictions came true to varying degrees. Voice recognition works fairly well, and facial recognition is just now being widely deployed. Computers are smaller, can talk to us and to other computers, and automate transportation and environmental systems.

Of course, the ability for a computer to perform deductive reasoning is still primitive when compared to the human mind. Today's computers can, however, help diagnose diseases, aid research, control airplanes, guide missiles, and process vast amounts of data at increasingly phenomenal speeds, to name just a few of their capabilities.

In spite of these advances, there is another side to this story. With all of these modern wonders being supported by computers, why is it that the following situations are still commonplace?

  • Bank balances cannot be updated immediately after a deposit is entered, but must rather be updated during a nightly processing cycle.

  • A long-distance provider's computer instructed different service representatives to contact a customer repeatedly because different databases contained the same, inaccurate information.

  • A healthcare provider's computer sent out cancellation notices when it was supposed to have sent out payment notices. This continued even after the customer reported the problem.

  • Tax payment and tracking systems take well over a year to reconcile statements between what one corporation claimed to pay another corporation and what the receiving corporation claimed.

These may seem like isolated incidents, but I personally encountered these circumstances within the course of doing business over the past couple of years. None of the above scenarios would make good fodder for a science fiction movie, and they are certainly not what Arthur C. Clarke envisioned in his movies about the future. They do bring home the point, however, that many of today's computers are not very smart: They have some major underlying problems.

To a highly valued customer, these scenarios may be a minor annoyance or a major problem. The healthcare scenario in particular was the antithesis of good customer service, and a less than supportive response from the customer service department made the situation even more problematic. This situation also exemplified how humans can magnify computer errors and make a bad situation worse.

When contrasting the challenges above with the promises of modern technology, there is clearly a chasm between the ideal vision of the future and today's reality. The above situations are symptomatic of shortcomings found within "legacy" systems: shortcomings that could ultimately undermine major Information Technology (IT) initiatives across a variety of industries.

If, for example, a bank wanted to deploy real-time banking for customers through the Web, it seems reasonable that it would need to be able to update bank balances in real time. If a long-distance provider wanted to break into local markets or launch new business initiatives that leverage customer data on a global scale, it must be able to store and update customer information in a reliable, nonredundant environment.

Similarly, if a healthcare provider wanted to stay competitive, it would seem apparent that it would stop trying to cancel a customer policy when it really wanted to collect a payment from that customer. With companies in a continuous battle to redefine themselves, which includes shifting toward new markets and offering global services, legacy systems can stifle efforts to undergo strategic transformations to a business.

We are seeing numerous advances, most accompanied by a good deal of hype, in the ability of computers to redefine our lives as we head into the 21st century. The reality of the situation, however, is that there are significant problems within legacy computing infrastructures that must be addressed before many of these visions can become reality.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020