Legacy systems can become a security blanket for a company. They may be worn and somewhat ineffective but they are familiar.
Digital conversions can upgrade a company’s capabilities – and in some cases, increase its market share. These projects, however, are thorny by design: lots of stakeholders and teams are involved, and the timeline can be rigid.
A business analyst can take steps to lead these important legacy system updates. A BA background in data analysis, combined with skills in determining needs and recommending solutions, makes these professionals ready and willing to tackle the task.
The analysis process begins
Legacy systems are often defined as ancient and broken. But the legacy comes in many shapes and sizes, writes DJ Wardinsky, president of software development consulting firm Brainspire Solutions. When a system is no longer supported or maintained by its developer and cannot be updated, it is part of a legacy. Some are only one year old.
The background of a business analyst in research can be important in drawing a transformation roadmap.
What are the competitors doing?
Companies committed to the old system may be overtaken by their main competitors. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, chatbots and augmented reality may not support some advanced technology legacy systems, according to a team from European IT Solution Delivery Center ScaleFocus.
Business analysts specialize in market research. Their insights can help the team determine the innovations needed to stay relevant. BAs can also help company leaders find technologies that seem promising but do not actually support core company functions. That approach can save executives from wasting money on ineffective solutions.
What new markets are available?
Digital conversions often feel like projects created to help a company do the same thing in new ways. But a digital transformation can help companies both recognize and enter new markets, writes business analyst Jamie Champagne.
A BA can identify a new use for a technology that a company needs to complete a core function. For example, when a bank only switches to online forms for security purposes, can customers open an account with their phone? Analysis can help companies spot new potential customers. If banks offer mobile accounts, can they reach younger customers?
Which level of conversion is appropriate?
There are many ways to tackle a digital transformation. For some companies, a quick fix is crucial. They accomplish this by patching out minor issues with processes, applications or new code, writes RTS Labs. Others are not satisfied until the system works in a completely different way on a new platform.
Problem-solving is the core strength of a BA, and that skill transformation can be put to good use at the beginning of a project.
“They must be able to observe a problem from different angles in the business, including a target user and a technical expert. “The team at technology and solutions consulting firm Altexsoft wrote
For example, collaborating with an IT team can help a BA discover that a patch will lead to a catastrophic shutdown in a year or two. A test of the company’s marketing plan could highlight an expansion into a new market, designed for the same moment. In such a situation, the advantages of a complete conversion become apparent.