Legacy governance: the alternative offered by the secondary market

Technical debt

It is difficult for companies to constantly invest in the latest software versions. As a result, they accumulate technical debt and develop their future projects on a legacy of obsolete but still stable and performing solutions and newer software bricks. In this context, the secondary market offers companies an interesting alternative to maintain a good balance between their different technological components.  

Legacy: what legacy for companies?

In the age of digital transformation, legacy and technical debt management are major competitive challenges for companies. How can you promote agile processes without completely overhauling your information system, which is partly composed of mainframe or ASX-type solutions? According to Gartner's recommendations, by promoting an "agile" approach, companies can reduce their IT costs. bimodal IT " !

The concept is as follows: the IT of the future will be based on two distinct modes, combining stability (mode 1), derived from robust old systems, and agility (mode 2), derived from more modern solutions. It is on this balance between these two worlds that value production and better cost control depend.

The cost of legacy governance

Indeed, although difficult to quantify (in 2015, Gartner already estimated the cost of technical debt at more than one billion dollars worldwide), the impact on the success rate of application development projects is significant. Half of them would fail due to poor legacy management [1].

According to the same report, "IT departments struggle, or fail, to meet the evolving needs of the business, primarily due to slow coding and technical debt issues. " As a result, 40 % of the time supposedly devoted to development would in fact be dedicated to managing hardware and/or software obsolescence, considerably slowing down the time-to-market.

The second-hand market: an economical and reliable solution

However, the "all or nothing" clauses in support contracts force companies to maintain these legacy databases at the same level as their more recent systems, even though the publishers have stopped their support, judging these products to be "end of life". Yet many companies continue to use very old versions of databases... but they are still very powerful. In 2019, 93 % of IT managers were still planning to use their mainframe for the long term [2].

In this sense, and despite the pressure from publishers, companies have every interest in turning to the secondary market and the very strong synergy it offers with all the players in the ecosystem.

First asset of the secondary market: the reliability of the purchased licenses. Indeed, the marketplace acts as a real trusted party and ensures upstream the quality of the proposed solutions. In this way, companies can respond favourably to software compliance requirements.

Another advantage of the second-hand market is the choice of maintenance. It is either possible to reactivate the maintenance of the second-hand solution acquired (recommended in the case of more complex software) from the publisher, or to manage it directly in-house (in the case of simpler business software, or for which updates and security patches are applied automatically).

But there is also the possibility of using new players: third-party maintainers, who are very reactive and qualitative, and have very interesting rates. In the case of the acquisition of second-hand solutions, it will be advisable to consult them beforehand in order to choose the most suitable offer and to calculate the exact TCO.

Legacy and the associated technical debt are therefore not inevitable. And among the alternatives considered, the second-hand market offers the best balance between quality, compliance and competitiveness.

[1] According to a study conducted by IDG (International Data Group) for the low-code development platform Appian, October 2018 - https://www.developpez.com/actu/228268/Etude-50-pourcent-des-projets-de-developpement-d-applications-se-soldent-par-un-echec-cela-est-il-du-a-la-lenteur-des-codeurs-et-la-dette-technique/

[2] According to a BMC study, 2019 - The Next Wave of Mainframe Success: Insights from the 2019 Survey.

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