Legacy technology to give up for Lent
Most people will soon be joking about how they intend to give up things like chocolate and sweets for Lent, in an attempt to improve their personal health and wellbeing. There are also many things that are inherently bad for the health of a company, big or small, and one of these unhealthy habits is relying on legacy technology.
Business Chief Europe spoke with seven industry experts to get their thoughts on how and why businesses should be giving up legacy technology this Lent.
Keep your infrastructure cutting-edge
“The practice of giving something up for Lent, and the sentiment of starting afresh at this time of year, serves as an important reminder for organisations to review their IT strategy and realise that traditional legacy tools are slowing their digital journey down,” states Johan Pellicaan, Managing Director EMEA at Scale Computing.
“The combination of technologies like hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and edge computing are providing the ideal foundation for overcoming legacy technology limitations. HCI has gained rapid notoriety for its long list of undeniable benefits, such as its simplicity, high availability, and scalability.”
Sometimes it’s good to have your head in the clouds
“If your organisation still relies on legacy technology, the advent of Lent may inspire a rethink around your IT strategy,” Eltjo Hofstee, MD at Leaseweb UK, advises. “A good first step is to consider making a move to the cloud, which can be done in small steps.
“As every business is different, however, it’s important to consider the implications and costs for moving an organisation’s infrastructure to the cloud. Working with a partner who does it for a living can help to mitigate most problems and ensure a smooth transition from one infrastructure strategy to another with little – and ideally, no service interruptions.”
“Many organisations still heavily rely on on-premises, legacy IT infrastructure – often for reasons out of their control,” says Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting. “Some are restricted by budgets – a problem particularly evident across the public sector – while others use bespoke, mission-critical applications often seen as incompatible with the cloud.
“For many industries, including finance and government, making the move to private cloud is the ideal solution. It removes the legacy burden, allowing users to benefit from the latest product features and performance improvements.”
Graham Jackson, CEO at Fluent Commerce, discusses how retailers should look to refresh to stay ahead of the competition:
"Retailers should give up their monolithic legacy systems and e-commerce platforms: they were simply not designed to process real-time or near real-time inventory updates from multiple sources at scale. To compete in today’s ‘now economy’ retailers must adopt cloud native technology that’s driven by flexible business rules, that can scale flexibly to meet high volume demand.”
Refresh your defences
"The pace at which businesses operate today means supporting productivity has never been more important,” comments Mike Schuricht, VP Product Management at Bitglass. “One way of fostering productivity is through BYOD policies to offer employees a more flexible working regime.
“However, organisations should also be sure to embrace and address the security risks associated with having so many vulnerable endpoints connecting to the cloud and corporate network. The legacy approach IT teams should give up is focusing on the devices themselves. They should switch focus to the data. So rather than fixating on whether or not a device is ‘trusted’, IT teams should ensure that company data is safe, no matter where it goes."
Jan van Vliet, Vice President & General Manager EMEA at Digital Guardian, adds:
“The ubiquity of cyber threats like phishing and ransomware, means computer security should constantly be front of mind for all types of business. Regularly reviewing system settings and disabling unnecessary, outdated, or legacy services that may leave them open to attack, is a must. It is also absolutely essential that IT systems are constantly updated and free from known vulnerabilities."
Remain engaged with your engagement channels
Richard Buxton, Head of Collaboration at Node4, advises:
“Collaboration is at the heart of many businesses, so relying on legacy technology for this element of operations could really be the difference between smooth sailing and a sinking ship. Legacy telephony makes it both difficult and costly to integrate collaboration platforms with other systems.
“But, collaboration solutions are continually advancing and evolving and almost all of the latest collaboration system technology and business-specific Software-as-a-Service platforms now include APIs or bots to make integration easier and richer.”
“The contact centre industry in particular can find itself stuck relying on legacy infrastructure, because organisations have traditionally seen their contact centres as a place to make savings,” comments Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru. “However, with customer experience becoming increasingly important - in many industries it is now the key business differentiator - making changes to the contact centre can add significant value for an organisation.
“So, for lent this year, instead of waiting for an expensive equipment failure to trigger the replacement of legacy infrastructure, why not look proactively at switching to a cutting-edge cloud service to improve your customer engagement and stay ahead of the pack. Tempting, isn’t it?”
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.