The Legacy system complicates digital transformation efforts. It is not able to deal with technologies such as the cloud, mobile and IoT or it does so in a difficult way. To avoid being outrun by the competition, it’s necessary to rely on modern architecture. In particular, it should be based on APIs. They represent an efficient solution in combining performance, flexibility and modernity.
Several companies continue to use obsolete systems. ‘’From the moment that it works, why change it?’’ is, in summary, the advanced explanation of several DSI or I.T. managers.
But the legacy presents several inconveniences. According to a study by Forrester, DSIs dedicate an average of 72% of their expenses to managing them. The Vanson Bourne office outlines a similar table: three quarters of DSIs grant very little time to research of new solutions capable of raising the challenges of their business.
In short, legacy constitutes a major obstacle in digital transformation. Furthermore, several software versions (or operating systems) are not supported anymore by editors. This means that no correction is provided and nobody maintains the system in conformity with the latest security or regulation demands (notably in conformity with the general regulation on the protection of data – RGPD).
Integration of API in its modernization strategy
It is time to take a new step in pushing forward its infrastructure. But its modernization is not simple. The changeover of an IS based mostly on legacy bricks to more agile and innovating architecture can prove to be complex and difficult. But this seemingly comfortable situation slows the innovation. In fact, the cloud, APIs and the agile method come to maturity nearly at the same time. These approaches generate a profound change in the manner in which the IS functions technically, but also in terms of governance.
A project of modernization must be centred around three principle pillars:
- A development, if not a transformation, of your architecture
- A specialized training to discover and master new tools
- A new way to manage some aspects of your company
It is therefore important to start with a precise goal: to be more reactive against competition, to improve productivity, reduce cost, develop an ecosystem and especially, to innovate. The modernization of IS relies notably on the API but there are also microservices as we’ve seen in another article allowing organizations to adapt to demands and regulations while increasing their ability to adopt new technologies and platforms rapidly.
This type of architecture allows:
- To reinforce reliability, interoperability and security of existing systems
- To break silos and move to more flexible architecture
- To improve client satisfaction and time-to-value
- To make the most of innovative, if not daring, solutions
But even today, several organizations have not seized opportunities offered by API. One of the great advantages of APIs is their facility to use and reuse. It is relatively simple for developers to use APIs in a mobile application or to call an API cloud from SalesForce.com or Amazon Web Services.
Ease and…security, the two values gained from an API strategy
The advantage of the ease of use is also applied to final users who benefit now from richer and more practical experiences. But the ease of use is accompanied by a problem of identity. People now access services which are extended from the local to the cloud, with a variety of interfaces, including mobile. It’s important that collaborators are not obliged to connect to each individual service. It’s not only annoying; they are tempted to use the same password everywhere which creates strong vulnerability if this password is jeopardized. A lot of data leakage revealed in 2018 was based particularly on API weaknesses …
The reinforcement of security involves recourse to an API management platform. The goal is to establish a communal policy of governance in order to recuperate the roles and rights of users homogenously but also to manage access rights according to a categorisation of back-end API depending on their confidentiality level.
APIs represent very interesting tools for the modernisation of its architecture. But this project can
call into question habits and positions acquired within the business. It can also disappoint in terms of cost reduction (even having to list all costs, including hidden ones). These pitfalls can discourage several organizations and directors. But the need for agility, scalability and speed is done more and more progressively as innovation offers new opportunities, transforms markets and reinforces competition!
Finally, don’t forget the human element. It’s the key to success of this great industry. It is therefore essential to start by convincing all businesses and management. It’s vital to have a global and homogenous vision. It’s also necessary to act ‘’collectively’’. I.T. is now so extended and has developed so rapidly that it is nearly impossible for one person to have the necessary knowledge to define and start infrastructure adaptation projects.
It is therefore fundamental to create a team able to assist DIS to execute this project but also to establish a business vision of transformation and a roadmap.