Asian firms find legacy systems hindrance to innovation

CIOs and IT managers believe modernization of IT infrastructure can improve responsiveness where retiring old apps and reducing expense of maintaining old systems can yield benefits, new HP study indicates.
Written by Tyler Thia, Contributor

IT executives in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia regard mainframes, legacy midrange platforms and outdated applications as a hindrance to a company's ability to innovate, according to a new survey.

Commissioned by Hewlett-Packard, the study noted that 61 percent of respondents pointed to legacy systems as barriers to innovation, while 62 percent agreed infrastructure modernization such as retiring old applications and reducing the overall expense of maintaining older systems can benefit organizations.

"IT managers are living with a lot of legacy systems and it is difficult for them to [implement changes], so these are roadblocks for them to be more responsive," Kelly Tan, HP's new Singapore vice president and managing director, said at a media briefing here Wednesday.

She added that besides lost man hours due to the complexity of managing old systems, IT managers are also spending a huge amount of time on managing crises--so much so that they are unable to respond fast enough to requests for corporate figures which can be crucial to decision making.

Tan explained:"This is what we term 'innovation gridlock', which is preventing CIOs from making timely and informed decisions."

Conducted over two months in July across the three Asian countries, the study also found that of the 150 respondents polled, 65 percent agreed transforming IT will bring new advantages.

About 70 percent said they constantly evaluate new technologies to grow business opportunities. Six out of 10 had plans to automate their systems to free up resources, while 70 percent considered outsourcing to be a good cost-effective and efficient process.

Tan also pointed to a study by IT magazine InformationWeekwhich found that half of enterprises surveyed were spending 70 percent of their budget on managing day-to-day operations, with less than 30 percent on "innovative projects".

HP is looking to address this imbalance with its new Converged Infrastructure (CI) offerings, touted to help enterprises modernize their IT backbone through the integration of servers, storage, networking and software.

Singapore's integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), is a CI customer and the project had proved "a challenge to build", given its vast requirements which included scalability, reduction in server footprint and reduced management time, Tan shared.

Asked about the investment figure involved in the MBS initiative, she declined to give specifics but said migrating legacy systems to CI can be done with little downtime. Deployment can also be completed in a couple of days as the infrastructure is built on an open system that can be integrated with servers and storage, she added.

Tan said:"It can also be done with another vendor's platform so this makes the management of these integrated services a lot easier."

While the migration path is not difficult, she explained that issues such as data protection and minimal impact on daily operations are some critical aspects that HP will focus on for CI clients.

The IT giant also has a funding scheme to help enterprises with capital investment on the transition. While budget is a major concern for enterprises looking to migrate from legacy systems, Tan said mindset change is a greater hindrance to "innovation"".

"To see technology as an 'enabler' is a different mindset, it really depends on the visionary of the management," she said.

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