How to Ensure a Smooth Legacy System Migration

Whether it’s your software, applications, on-premise hosting infrastructure, computer and mobile hardware or networking infrastructure, the reality of obsolescence has pushed you and others to secure new solutions for your company’s IT system.

You might have an idea of your IT system’s requirements, but it’s vital that you incorporate a well-developed legacy system migration strategy to steward your transition successfully. Without such a plan, you could put your IT system – and potentially your entire business – at risk.

The following is a general outline of what to include in your legacy system migration plan, but it’s important to recognize that there are both organizational and technical aspects involved.

Planning Your System Migration

Your legacy system migration plan must start with proper planning. Generally, this involves a full assessment of the impact of your migration and its risks. Yes, the intended improvements to the system (such as building inter-departmental synergy) are promising, but it would mean very little if the risks – such as errors in migrating data – are not identified and addressed prior to the fact.

It might seem like common sense, but a surprisingly large number of companies fail to properly plan their legacy system migration efforts. In fact, the Computer Business Review (CBR) found that as many as 90% of IT transformation projects will end up in failure.

Samsung recommends building a roadmap of your system migration, one that identifies each of the resources available. However, you should also identify the risks, specific deliverables, your intended timelines and accountabilities, especially in case of problems (should they arise).

Getting Organizational Support

Ultimately, it’s important to acknowledge that your legacy system migration plans aren’t confined to just you or your IT team. Rather, the impacts – be it positive or negative – will affect the entire company, and potentially beyond as well.

The organizational side of your legacy system migration strategy should include securing buy-in or support from all affected stakeholders. You need employees in other departments – i.e. the people who will rely on your revamped IT system (and come to you in case of issues) – to understand more than the “what” and “when” of the change, but the “why” as well.

From overcoming objections or concerns (some people prefer the comfort of the status-quo than the unknown) to ensuring that staff are properly trained on new systems, it’s imperative that you make your migration plan transparent, accessible and understandable. Consider asking for and incorporating feedback, beta users and change champions throughout your company.

Devise Proper Processes

When it comes to the actual implementation phase, ensure that your legacy system migration strategy has a detailed process of implementation, testing, troubleshooting and qualifying your IT system.

This is important because system migration, especially when it involves replacing hardware or moving company data and processes to the cloud, could result in downtime. You must plan for the downtime (i.e. carry out the migration outside of working hours or build alternatives for the company’s operations) and have contingencies in place in case of errors or other problems.

For the implementation phase, it’s vital that you have certified experts on-hand – either within your company or through an external IT service provider – to ensure the installation process is done in alignment with industry best practices. This will help minimize your chances of failure and, in case of obstacles, ensure that the proper solutions are implemented.

Your processes should also include thorough testing and certification/qualification work, so as to guarantee that the newly installed system works as intended, especially down the line.

Key Considerations

Your legacy system migration strategy will also depend on the type of systems you are migrating to and from. You should consider the following factors for each area.

Cloud Hosting

If your company is moving from an on-premise hosting system to a public-hosted or hybrid cloud system, then ensure that you’ve identified and addressed your risks. Financial services firms, for example, must comply with industry and government regulations in a number of areas, not least in terms of how they collect, process and store data. Your implementation phase must manage these issues from the onset, otherwise your company could be at risk of breaches or penalties.

Legacy System Data Migration

Your business might be moving data (e.g. customer information, end-user analytics, etc) from one software suite to another. In case of migrating data from a legacy system, you will need to identify points of incompatibility. For example, a legacy system might read financial information in defunct currencies (e.g. those replaced by the Euro), but a new system will not.

Your data migration phase should account for what can be transferred and what is unnecessary. Otherwise, you could end up wasting valuable time and money on pushing data that is relatively useless in a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

In terms of data migration, you should also consider redundancies, be it in case of failure during the migration phase or following it as part of your IT system. Effective data backup and recovery services will ensure that your data is transferred without errors or corruption and available for a prompt recovery process in case of a disaster.

Hardware/Device Migration

Migrating data from a mass of legacy devices – such as laptops – to a new hardware fleet is not a simple process. Ensure that you have the right tools and experts in place to facilitate it without gaps – the data on the old devices are vital to your company’s employees.

In terms of mobile, many companies are moving Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) wherein their employees are using their personal devices for work. If your company is transitioning to this, it’s vital that its Mobile Device Management (MDM) system is ready.

This means that it’s enforcing end-user policies, enabling access employee access to data in some areas while also controlling access to others, and can readily remote-wipe lost, stolen or former employee devices.


In terms of migrating from legacy applications, it’s advisable to start with migrating your simplest applications and software processes first. Not only will this reduce your risk, but it will also help understand your company’s unique problems in a relatively controlled environment which you can use to pilot a migration effort before implementing it at a wider scale.

Next Steps

It’s certain that a strong legacy system migration strategy will involve its own set of tools for making your data, application and hardware/device upgrades successful.

You need a mix of experience and specific systems to mitigate failure, which we can provide immediately. If you’re planning to upgrade your IT systems, contact Jig Technologies today to design an optimal implementation plan.