I’m really pleased to announce the launch of our latest book, Modernising legacy applications in the public sector. Over the last few months, I’ve been sharing some of the content in this blog and now it is time to release the new book for download.
We have written the book to share our experience of successful legacy application transformations with technology leaders working across the UK public sector.
Legacy transformation is one of the biggest threats to the organisations these leaders work in. So much so that, in 2019, the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology directed the Government Digital Service (GDS) to conduct an audit of all legacy systems across government before the end of 2020.
Our latest book is a field guide for any technology leaders grappling with the risks of legacy technology but it also helps you to lay the foundations of sustainable technology in your organisation.
From legacy applications to sustainable technology
When you begin your transformation journey, you know your legacy applications pose a significant risk to your organisation. One of the most important lessons you learn as you modernise these applications is that you can never let that situation occur again.
This is what it means to truly and definitely move away from legacy applications. It is not just about modernising your technology estate. It’s about transforming your entire operating model into one that is tuned to deliver sustainable technology. This does not happen overnight but, as the book explains, can be achieved by prioritising a legacy application for transformation and learning important lessons as you progress.
In writing this book, we have drawn on our experience of helping a range of UK public sector organisations to transform legacy applications and increase technology skills.
For example, our ongoing work with Hackney Council to modernise housing needs services has already included building an API platform and transforming the Council’s data infrastructure. The use of APIs and the ways you can deal with complex data are both covered in the book as key elements of modernising legacy applications.
Recently, we also helped the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to transform the EPC register into a modern digital service. This involved taking an application that was inflexible and expensive to maintain because it had been run by an outsourced supplier and turning it into a cloud-based service that could be run in-house along modern government standards.
Every transformation is different but there are clear themes that run through all of them, including the planning you do, how this affects the decisions you make and what processes you should follow to ensure your project is a success. These themes, steps and processes are what we cover in the book.
Helping technology leaders in the UK public sector
The book has been written for Digital, Data and Technology leaders, including Chief Digital Officers, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Officers and Directors of IT.
Whether you’ve started to think about transforming legacy applications already or you don’t know where to begin, the book is for forward thinking leaders who want to deliver sustainable technology by making legacy applications a thing of the past.
You may have already identified a legacy technology risk in your organisation and be working on solving it. You may have had to design your processes around your legacy systems to the detriment of your staff and the citizens you serve. You may simply be aware that an application has been left untouched for so long that it is becoming riskier by the day.
Most technology leaders in public sector organisations are aware of at least one area of legacy technology that poses a risk. However the reasons for it not being addressed are never the same for each organisation. It might be that funding hasn’t been directed towards modernising legacy applications. Or that an application has been left untouched for so long that no-one dares make a change in case it breaks a critical service for citizens.
How to modernise legacy applications
Whichever situation you find yourself in, the book has been written to guide you through the steps you should take to modernise your legacy applications, empowering you to define and implement the right approach for your organisation.
For those of you at the very start of your journey, this means helping you to understand the risks your legacy applications pose and the drivers for transformation in your organisation. From here, the book describes the initial steps to ensure your transformation is a success, including accessing finance and building the right team for the job, so that the full range of internal and external users are considered and designed for.
Then, the book helps you to prioritise your transformation by explaining the organisational and application mapping that needs to take place in order to choose which application should be prioritised. Once you’ve researched the problem, you need to know what can be done to solve it, which is why a large portion of the book is dedicated to explaining the different strategies for modernising legacy applications and how to implement them.
Modernising legacy applications isn’t just about picking the right strategy to transform your existing estate though. It’s about changing the way you operate and empowering your team to embrace and adapt to change. That’s why the final part of the book looks to the future and how you can maintain the positive changes you’ve made in order to continue building sustainable technology from now on.
Your first steps to transformation
The book outlines the best practice approaches we have used in a range of public sector organisations. So, if you know legacy application transformation is an issue you want to tackle, download the book and start to make progress on that journey.
When you do, let us know what you think. The book has been launched following a lean publishing process and we’re always keen to improve it. So, if you have some feedback to share, get in touch, as we’d love to chat about it over coffee.
Using feedback to iterate and improve is an important part of delivering sustainable technology too. To help you achieve this change, you should surround yourself with like-minded organisations, suppliers and experts who can keep you on track and support the ongoing transformation of your entire operating model.
If you do, you will not only be enabling your team to embrace and adapt to change but also to deliver sustainable technology long into the future.