Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

This chapter is from the book

1.12 -Crafting a Strategy to Address the Legacy Architecture Challenge

IT or business executives would never actually say, "Let's transform our legacy systems." On the contrary, application projects are driven almost entirely by unique business requirements, with the expectation of near-term results. Occasionally, a strategic project may be funded over a period of more than a year, but this tends to be the exception more than the rule. A legacy transformation strategy recognizes where certain techniques or concepts can be applied to augment traditional IT initiatives to save time, reduce risks, lower costs, and increase the overall quality of the project.

These concepts, which will be explored throughout the remainder of this book, include

  • High-level and detailed application analysis and re-documentation.

  • Selective application of EAI solutions.

  • Program-level and system-wide improvements in legacy systems.

  • Language migration.

  • Data consolidation, migration, and cleanup.

  • Rehosting or migrating legacy systems to modern platforms.

  • Applying modern distributed front ends to legacy applications.

  • Redesign and reuse of legacy business logic.

  • Redesign and redeployment of legacy data structures.

  • Package software/legacy application hybrid deployment.

  • Augmentation of new development efforts through legacy analysis and reuse.

Any project impacted by or relying on one or more legacy systems or data structures can apply these concepts. The role of the management team is to understand where and how various approaches can be applied and in what combination. To accomplish this, an organization should create a transformation strategy that enables and encourages the use of legacy transformation concepts and techniques on projects. A legacy architecture transformation strategy should minimally include the following items.

  • Recognition and concurrence from the executive team that legacy architectures must be considered and accommodated in any type of project impacting or relying on legacy systems or data structures.

  • Executive support, senior management sponsorship, and well-placed transformation champions.

  • A general understanding or map of legacy architectures, including how systems relate to other systems and data structures.

  • An understanding of which systems support which business units and underlying business functions and processes.

  • Processes for assessing, planning, improving, integrating, transforming, and testing legacy applications.

  • Access to or an understanding of software tools needed to facilitate assessing, planning, improving, integrating, transforming, and testing legacy applications.

  • Scenario-based planning guidelines identifying the legacy transformation tasks needed to augment a variety of IT projects, including new development, package selection and implementation, and integration efforts.

  • General guidelines for assessing the value to be gained or cost savings associated with incorporating legacy transformation techniques into a project.

  • Organizational infrastructure necessary to facilitate and maintain this legacy architecture transformation strategy.

When assessing and developing such a strategy, there are several major factors to be considered. These factors include people and the roles they play, organizational infrastructure, project planning, cost analysis, and third-party participation.

For example, most people in a given IT organization are not predisposed to looking into invasive approaches for addressing issues related to legacy systems or data structures. Legacy transformation may require a shift in thinking. People have a throwaway mentality. Many things we purchase today are inexpensive or designed to be tossed out. My grandfather would be appalled at the thought of tossing out my razor when I finished with it. Throwaway cameras are another example of this concept. The idea of recycling, however, is well accepted, and that is what IT is doing when it seeks to transform and reuse legacy business rules and data.

Organizational infrastructure requires the enterprise to be set up to encourage and enable legacy transformation. This requires examining relationships within IT; between IT and the business units; and between IT, the business units, and third parties. Infrastructure also requires communication and collaboration facilities for knowledge sharing, tool distribution, training, technique deployment, project planning, and support.

Another infrastructure issue must consider prejudices of new development teams against anything that is not technologically state of the art. People working with Java, XML, and a host of newer methodologies and tools are not predisposed to working with anything with the term legacy attached. Dealing with these prejudices will need to be done judiciously.

One last infrastructure issue requires the creation of an environment that supports legacy transformation. This includes tools, training, techniques, and preliminary assessment projects. There is, of course, an initial level of funding needed to support such an infrastructure.

Project planning and cost analysis go hand in hand. Traditional development, upgrade, or other types of deployment plans, based on whatever planning methodology is used, will need to be augmented with various legacy techniques if an enterprise wishes to pursue a transformation strategy. This assumes IT does this type of planning in the first place—which it should. It also requires transformation specialists to assist with incorporating these techniques into project plans. Cost analysis is based on augmenting traditional cost models based on these plans.

Finally, third-party participation is a vital component of any transformation strategy. Management may adopt such a strategy, set up the infrastructure, and engage inhouse professionals, but end up having the entire effort sidestepped by a systems integrator, outsourcing firm, ASP, or management consulting firm. Certain consulting firms do not embrace legacy transformation options because it is frankly more profitable for them to apply traditional techniques to most IT projects. I will share a case study on such a project during the cost justification discussion in later chapters.

Third-party consulting or outsourcing firms may just not have the know-how or tool-based experience to engage in discussions about legacy transformation. This is a matter of education. Executives should be aware that a third-party recommendation not to incorporate legacy transformation into a project could be based on the fact that transformation options would reduce the implementation effort and therefore the fees to be charged for that project. Or it may just be based on a lack of experience with these techniques and related tools. Either way, executives should challenge third parties to incorporate a transformation mindset into their project plans.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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