Digital decluttering: time for a clean-up?

Is legacy technology holding you back from an agile and remote workforce? Storage magazine gathers insights from across the industry

In the strange and uncertain circumstances we are all finding ourselves in, it's now more important than ever that businesses are agile and able to adapt to the situation as it evolves. One thing that can stand in the way of this though - which isn't always obvious - is legacy technology. Having the latest and most up-to-date versions of technology is an investment that some businesses don't seem to be making. But in times like these, legacy technology can be a hindrance to agile working.

In light of this, we asked several IT experts for their advice to businesses as to why 'spring cleaning' away the legacy technology that is holding them back can ensure that agile workplace necessities, such as remote working, are achievable.

As Eltjo Hofstee, MD at Leaseweb UK comments: "For many businesses, current global circumstances means having to provision for remotely-based workforces in a very short space of time. For those perhaps still using on-premises systems, now is the time to make a move to the cloud, which can give remote workers virtual, shared, secure access to the same information they'd usually access on-site. As every business is different, however, it's important to consider the implications and costs for moving an organisation's infrastructure to the cloud. Working with a partner who does it for a living can help to mitigate most problems and ensure a smooth transition from one infrastructure strategy to another with little - and ideally, no service interruptions."

Additionally, as Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru states, "The contact centre industry in particular can find itself still relying on the same old legacy infrastructure, because companies have traditionally viewed their contact centres as sites for saving on resources. However, with customer experience becoming increasingly important (in many industries it is now the key business differentiator) making changes to the contact centre can add significant value for an organisation. In particular, service-based and subscription organisations are experiencing a growing demand for the scalability and flexibility made available by a cloud contact centre model.

"So, as spring finally arrives, rather than sticking with old technology destined to instigate an expensive equipment failure, consider spring-cleaning your contact centre by proactively switching to a cutting-edge cloud service to improve customer engagement, enable remote working capabilities and keep your business model fresh."

In the unfortunate current circumstances we are all facing, many businesses are discovering just how important collaboration is. Richard Buxton, Head of Collaboration at Node4, explains that it's important to ensure a company isn't relying on legacy technology for this element of operations.

"Legacy technology makes it both difficult and costly to integrate collaboration platforms with other systems," he comments. "For example - to connect a telephone system to a specific customer relationship management (CRM) system, it may require either a bespoke development, or a separate computer telephony integration (CTI) software, something that is largely cumbersome and costly.

"Fortunately, collaboration solutions are continually advancing and evolving, with almost all of the latest collaboration system technology and business-specific Software-as-a-Service platforms now including APIs or bots, which make integration easier and richer. Businesses could be using the latest technology in UC to take advantage of the wider spectrum of technological advancements - such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) - to become a more valuable tool for customer and employee satisfaction. Despite the on-going situation, now might actually be the best time to assess your organisation's current collaboration platforms and 'spring clean' away any legacy technology that may be holding the company back from being truly agile."

"In times of crisis, we're reminded to review and evaluate disaster recovery, backup and business continuity plans to ensure preparedness for what you know, and adaptability for what you can't foresee," states Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, Technology Evangelist at Zerto. "And, unfortunately, having legacy data backup strategies in place can actually end up being harmful for a business. It goes without saying that cyber attacks can be critical when it comes to an organisation, not just in the cost of recovery, but also with the potential damage to the brand. Well, one of the most effective ways of protecting against cyber threats, such as ransomware, is to rethink legacy data backup strategies in order to create a wholly resilient IT system."

"By strategically 'spring cleaning' legacy technology already in place, and investing in continuous data protection for continuous availability, organisations can recover data files within seconds, and not worry about paying ransoms," he goes on. "With this, businesses can reach a point where they are protected against any disruption - planned or unplanned - and are always-on and available 100 percent of the time. As we're seeing, situations can escalate quickly and businesses need a plan in place that is up-to-date and wholly supported."

Additionally, as Andy Swift, Head of Offensive Security at Six Degrees comments, "The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring your organisation is refreshing its infrastructure with the latest technologies to enable secure remote working capabilities. However, if you're having to move quickly to get your organisation up to speed, don't let haste be your downfall: where projects are rushed there lies the possibility for error, which can introduce cyber-security risks to your organisation.

"If you are expanding your organisation's remote working capabilities, you should at a best practice minimum set up a restrictive and separate management zone for remote administrative access to internal systems - don't expose administrative services to the Internet; ensure you are using up-to-date VPN technology with strong certificates and keys; always use multi-factor authentication for remote access; and ensure your users are working from approved devices and are aware that utilising third party, unapproved software for corporate data is against policy."

"Understanding your workforce is more important than ever," concludes Ian Rawlings, Regional Vice President at SumTotal Systems. "Spring cleaning your technology infrastructure means losing legacy technologies and looking to the future. In the HR department, the focus should be on improving its ability to account for current and forecasted business needs, critically assessing the future demand for skills and understanding the patterns and obstacles that may affect workforce migration to new skill sets.

"Making this data work for your organisation will allow teams to predict when employees may leave, seek ways to improve employee retention, drive employee engagement and even understand skills gaps in the workforce. It can help leaders of the business with succession planning and understanding which methods of recruitment deliver the best return on investment. With the right automation and analytics tools in place, modern HR teams can make a significant contribution to revenue streams and help reduce recruitment costs."

For a business to be able to adapt in the current pandemic - and for the future - it's vital for it to be agile and adaptable to anything that may get thrown at it. Spring cleaning the legacy technology that is holding it back is essential for a truly agile remote workforce to be successful, and to keep businesses moving forward.

"By strategically 'spring cleaning' legacy technology already in place, and investing in continuous data protection for continuous availability, organisations can recover data files within seconds, and not worry about paying ransoms. With this, businesses can reach a point where they are protected against any disruption - planned or unplanned - and are always-on and available 100 percent of the time." - Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, Zerto