Home & Office

Sapho integrates with IBM Domino, highlights multi-year trend of stretching legacy systems

Want to give a legacy application more life? A startup pitches micro apps. But whatever the technology it's clear there's a multi-year move to squeeze more efficiency out of legacy systems as enterprises plot the future.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Sapho, a startup that aims to make legacy systems more useful via "micro apps," said it will integrate with IBM Domino, a collaboration suite. The move highlights how enterprises are evolving in how they squeeze more life out of legacy systems.

The startup integrates with a bevy of legacy systems, but the gist is that Sapho's Micro App Platform gives enterprises a way to build apps on top of a legacy system. Instead of entering the legacy system directly, an employee could approve a process or carryout a workflow via a card-like interface on a mobile device.

Sapho is aiming to improve productivity by turning workflows into one-click tasks. Sapho integrates with SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and a bevy of others via prebuilt templates.

The micro app approach is notable since it basically dictates that you can pull out the information from legacy systems, enable workflows in a new interface (say cards) and stretch systems.

But if you zoom out you'll see Sapho's micro app effort is part of a broader theme. Consider:

  • Software as a service companies have been utilizing data from legacy systems for some time. This information is then respun via a Web interface and modern user interface.
  • IBM is adding its machine learning applications to its mainframes because that's where much of an enterprise's transactional data resides.
  • Business process automation is minimizing the importance of back-end systems as long as the data is good.
  • Third party maintenance firms such as Rimini Street are extending the life of legacy systems for years as it cuts costs and gives enterprises more time to move to the cloud or evaluate new systems.
  • Data lakes and similar big data approaches aren't negating warehouses and older legacy systems. It's just collecting the information for more analysis.

These trends, which don't look connected at first glance, all highlight how legacy systems are still important plumbing. The more tools that emerge to make legacy systems useful, the longer they will be around.

For all the talk of technical debt, the reality is that enterprises aren't going to rip and replace older systems until the math adds up decisively. In the meantime, the game is to minimize the productivity burn from legacy systems so budgets can be spent on more innovative endeavors.

Here's a look at some of the CXO priorities for 2017. The mentions of productivity and business process efficiency point back to some of the aforementioned trends to make legacy systems more usable.

Editorial standards