Using robotics to give the legacy system wings

By Simon Shah, Chief Marketing Officer, Redwood Software

It’s a strategy most easily understood by considering your interactions with a company like Amazon – a master in creating entirely self-service front- and back-office processes.  That applies regardless of whether you’re buying cloud storage instances from Amazon, or clothes.

A Gartner definition of ‘legacy system’ (or ‘legacy application’) is one “that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations… As enterprises upgrade or change their technologies, they must ensure compatibility with old systems and data formats that are still in use.”

An opportunity, not a barrier

That simple definition results in an overwhelming number of manual processes that need to take place to keep the back office in step with the rest of the business. With many companies considering what digital transformation means for them, legacy systems are frequently considered a hindrance to the overall process.

However, robotization of legacy systems can allow them to become an enabler, rather than a barrier, to the overall goals of cost reduction and improved efficiency.  

IDC predicts that, by next year, 80% of B2C and 60% of B2B companies will have created immersive omnichannel experiences for customers, partners and employees.

A separate report by IDC predicts that nearly 40% of operational processes will be self-healing by 2022 – but the integration of legacy applications into that workflow will still have to be accommodated. With robots at the heart of this, both new and legacy systems can remain fully scalable for the future with minimal input from humans. 

Two good reasons

There’s one primary reason that outdated systems are still in use within any organization or prevalent in particular industries: too many vital processes rely on them to simply switch them off.

Retooling and re-platforming aren’t the only solutions to outdated systems – and in most cases represent a slower, more expensive way of approaching transformation.

For businesses that do take on the challenge of replacing legacy dependencies to achieve longer-term transformative goals, retooled new applications need to be as reliable as the systems they’re replacing. Often, this means a long period of running legacy systems in tandem with new, frequently cloud-provisioned, systems.

Once again, robotics can serve as the ‘glue’ that brings together all parts of a multi-provision deployment. And it does so with minimal reliance on human intervention, which increases speed, accuracy and audit performance in whichever department it’s deployed.

Another reason legacy systems continue to be used within organizations is that they present a rich, mineable trove of valuable data. But extracting that value can take a number of complex processes that first need to be carried out by a human, which can lead to significant labor costs. 

Legacy processes don’t have to be the Achilles heel of an organization. By putting the back office at center stage of a comprehensive digital transformation plan, robotics holds the key to accurate, automated and scalable processes. And this frees up time for highly-skilled staff once previously stuck performing repetitive manual tasks on legacy systems. 


Get in touch with Redwood to find out more.

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