Application retirement is a top use case in enterprise organizations as they work to implement their digital transformation strategies. It’s about leveraging new technology – including cloud-based applications, to take on new opportunities in digital, including surfacing information for customer support portals, web-based applications, and improved personalization. It’s about dealing with applications that come into play from a merger or acquisition. But it’s also about reducing the risks and costs of managing legacy software that wasn’t built for a digital world.
In some cases, it’s not the application you want to retire, but the data it stores. If you keep all your data inside your business applications and you’ve been using those apps for a long time, the data adds up. This can affect the performance of the application as well as increase batch windows for backups or transformation processing.
The First Step in Decommissioning Legacy Applications
When you decide it’s time to retire your legacy application, there are a few things you need to consider:
- Is there a new application you will work with that will need some of the data located in the existing application?
- Is there data in the existing application you no longer need and need to either delete defensibly or archive and place under records retention?
- Are there any compliance regulations that affect how you deal with data in the new system, or in the archive?
There are similar questions to ask yourself if you are only looking at archiving application data like:
- Where are you moving the data to?
- Do you provide multiple levels of storage (storage tiers) and what level does this data need?
- Will employees need access to view this data? And in what view?
- What are the compliance requires for storage?
Your Archiving or Decommissioning Strategy
Your archive data or decommission an application strategy requires technology. And that technology needs to offer some specific features. First, you need to connect to the application you want to pull data from. Then you need to decide if that data requires transformation before it’s placed in an archive or moved to the new application.
If you are archiving the data, you may need to transform it from structured data located in a databased into business objects that you can move or archive. Transformation is required because users may need to search and view this data later and it must be in a format that allows them to view it without the legacy application. You may also need report against this information once it is archived or moved to the new application.
Finally, the data you archive likely requires records management. You’ll need the ability to apply a set of rules, including retention policies against this data once it’s archived. Just because the data is archived, doesn’t mean everyone can now access it. Security and auditing policies are required. If that data becomes part of some legal action, you will need the ability to apply legal hold to it. Also, although you need to keep that data now, you won’t want to keep it forever. Retention policies define how long the data is kept and how it will be defensibly deleted.
What Gartner Says About Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement
Gartner recently release a market guide on this topic: The Market Guide for Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement.” It discussed the market needs for these types of solutions, indicating that DIY approaches are growing because of high costs of supporting applications and the narrow focus of many vendor solutions.
One of the things the report suggests is that you select the appropriate vendor by identifying the specific use cases you have, but also look at your long-term data archiving requirements. That means you will need to ask about product roadmaps to understand why the vendor is now and where it’s going to be sure it’s a good fit for you.
I would also recommend detailing those use cases clearly, and aligning them to the steps discussed about so you know exactly what you need to do and how you will need the technology to work for you.
You can read more about structured data archiving in Gartner’s Market Guide (we are listed in it) and learn more about Everteam’s approach to structured data archiving and application decommissioning by downloading our latest guide, Application Decommissioning with Everteam.