Breaking Through the Legacy Systems Strategy Execution Barricade
August 19, 2021
Hosted by William Ulrich
When a business executive told the board of directors of their financial services firm that their computer systems were preventing them from offering a new type of fund to their customers, he was met with looks of disbelief. While details vary, the storyline is familiar to business leaders across every industry. Legacy software systems that have been running for decades undermine strategy execution across a wide-range of critical business areas. These include customer engagement, regulatory compliance, risk management, security, billing, procurement, production, fulfillment, shipping, payment allocations, and the trading of financial instruments, to name a few. And while new software is created all the time, most of it relies on underlying legacy software systems for core capability automation and access to enterprise data. Legacy software system challenges are first and foremost a business problem and should be treated as such. When business leaders encounter customer discontinuity, a diminished ability to manage risk, regulatory violations, and a wide range of other system-related, strategy-stifling roadblocks, they often make decisions that cost millions and do little to address the underlying issues. One common reaction is to blame the hardware platform, even when the problem lies in the software itself. Moving ineffective, inflexible software systems from one hardware platform to another, or to the cloud, simply moves the problem around, often at the cost of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. This assumes that these projects are not cancelled outright. This episode of The North Star will tackle the issue of how to address legacy software system challenges head on. Host William Ulrich will welcome guest and leading expert Don Estes to discuss the real issues behind the legacy systems challenge, including how one-size-fits-all solutions can be a fast path disaster. Tune in as William and his guest cut through the hype to share insights into the best ways to break through the legacy systems, strategy execution barricade.
The North Star
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The North Star takes a deep dive into the topic of strategy execution, often challenging conventional wisdom for achieving an organization’s strategic vision. The host and thought leaders from multiple fields explore concepts that include rethinking innovation, increasing enterprise agility, transitioning to the circular economy, managing enterprise risk and becoming a cognitive enterprise. Setting sights on one’s “north star” is only half the story. Decades of experience point to the headwinds organizations have faced in pursuit of their strategic vision. To that end, the North Star examines how organizations can more effectively deliver on critical business strategies in these uncertain times. The show tackles intractable challenges that many organizations have historically sidestepped, such as optimizing major program investments and untangling high risk technology deployments. While the show often points toward the road less traveled, that road that can make all the difference.
William Ulrich is President of Tactical Strategy Group, Inc., Cofounder of Business Architecture Associates, President and Cofounder of the Business Architecture Guild and Cutter Consortium Fellow. As a management consultant for more than 40 years, Mr. Ulrich continues to serve as advisor, mentor and workshop leader to corporations and governments worldwide. He is a thought leader in strategy execution, business transformation, business architecture and transformation oversight. Mr. Ulrich has the unique ability to engage executives and practitioners across business and IT boundaries to facilitate and streamline ecosystem-wide transformation. His transformation workshops and lectures have been widely attended by organizations worldwide. Mr. Ulrich blends his IT transformation expertise with his extensive business architecture and business transformation experience to deliver end-to-end solutions that are fully aligned to business strategy. He has authored or coauthored multiple books and transformation methodologies and was an originating contributor to “A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge.” Prior to founding Tactical Strategy Group in 1990, Mr. Ulrich served as management consultant, spending the bulk of the 1980s with KPMG where he helped mature its software reengineering practice. His latest writings focus on the cognitive enterprise, transitioning to the circular economy and business-driven IT architecture transformation.