Application Retirement

1. Problem description

Hand on your heart: even if everyone is talking about digitalization and new software generations, many IT landscapes are more like museums. Sometimes a multitude of legacy systems has accumulated over decades, consisting of different generations of software and hardware from different manufacturers. This is not only expensive, but also risky, both from a legal and security point of view. What happens if the manufacturers stop supplying patches for vulnerabilities? If no more spare parts are produced for the obsolete hardware? What’s the answer if the manufacturer’s license policy changes and license audits are pending? What happens when tax auditors can no longer access all the data in their original business context?

Companies are well aware of the problems. For example, the first Application Landscape Report from Capgemini already revealed in 2011 that half of the major companies expect to be able to decommission every second legacy system. And in the Report from 2014 the respondents stated that they not only saw it as a possibility, but as a necessity. So why aren’t they acting on it?

2. Repercussions

There are two basic answers to this question. The first reason is the retention obligations for business information, which prescribe different periods – from usually ten years in tax law and 25 years in the area of property taxes to 30 years with liability issues, up to 99 years with patient data and even 150 years in the social security system. In addition to these mostly external and partly industry-specific regulations, IT departments are subject to internal regulations that, for example, completely exclude the company’s intellectual property, such as design drawings, from being deleted.

The situation is made even more complicated by new requirements that not only regulate storage and retrieval but also deletion. Since 25 May 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) has obliged companies to be able to reliably delete certain information precisely at the level of individual data records.

In particular, fulfilling this requirement is no longer technically possible with many legacy systems or can only be carried out at great expense. Either option will result in high costs.

The second decisive reason concerns the value of a company’s intellectual property, a significant majority of which is tied up in historical business information. It also largely determines the current and future value of the company. But if this treasure trove is literally lying idle in obsolete systems and can’t be accessed at all or only very selectively, historical information can only play a very limited role in creating current and future value – and consequently in increasing the value of the company.

3. Impact

The continued operation of legacy systems in companies is a major reason why 80 percent of the entire IT budget is generally just spent on operating them. This is a permanent obstacle to companies’ innovation capability. Instead of investing in new generations of software and building up new digital knowledge, the know-how about legacy systems must be maintained, bought in at high cost or passed on internally. New software that would take the company into the digital future is introduced slowly or later than necessary.

In addition, a heterogeneous infrastructure with obsolete systems and archives makes it much more difficult to access the company’s historical information and intellectual property. And that has a negative knock-on effect on value creation as well as on the value of the company itself.

4. Solution

The solution to this problem is called decommissioning legacy systems or application retirement. All the information, data and documents, has to be migrated to a central and neutral platform first and stored in a modern data format for this. However, this is not a matter of classic archiving. After all, tax auditors and business users do not access fields in tables, but search for invoices, pay slips, product plans etc. and insist on the same presentation as in the old application. The information therefore has to be stored together with its business context and, if necessary, encrypted. This concept is called historicization.

This kind of platform offers a multitude of standard interfaces to legacy systems from various manufacturers such as Baan, Microsoft Axapta, Oracle ERP, Peoplesoft and of course SAP. Absolutely all the information from legacy systems is captured and migrated, and every step is fully documented. Data and documents can be deleted at the level of individual data records. Authorizations can be clearly defined. It goes without saying that such a platform meets all the requirements of auditors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

JiVS IMP is the name of this modern, central information management platform, with which the entire life cycle of historical information, data and documents, can be managed. With its help, information from legacy systems can be historicized and its life cycle managed according to internal and external regulations such as the EU GDPR, from the transfer of the legacy systems to the documented final deletion. Sensitive data can be stored encrypted.

JiVS IMP makes historical information easily and fully accessible in a way that is very difficult to achieve in heterogeneous environments. As such, the platform creates a seamless connection between X and O data on the one hand – the experience- and operations-related data that the analyst firms rightly consider extremely important – and historical (or H) data on the other.

With support for more than 2000 business objects in enterprise solutions – and over 1200 for SAP systems alone – companies can transfer 100 percent of their H data and documents from legacy systems to JiVS IMP at the touch of a button, usually without any project-related expense.

JiVS IMP acts as a central collection point and provisioning area or “data staging area” for company information as part of application retirement projects. Data and its quality can be analyzed and optimized with its help, for example, using enrichment and harmonization. JiVS IMP provides legally compliant access to information independent of the device, time and location and subjects the legacy information pool to end-to-end retention management for the seamless management of the historical data and documents’ life cycle. In addition, JiVS IMP’s business object-focused approach provides the option of integrating the platform in modern target environments such as SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA.

Companies can implement JiVS IMP both in their own data center or use offers from the public cloud for implementation. Supported environments include Amazon Web Services, the Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. At the same time, customers can choose from a variety of popular database management systems (DBMS), from IBM Db2 to Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server to SAP IQ.

5. Customer benefits

Just switch it off. Anyone who has historicized the information from their legacy systems can assuredly and finally switch them off and dispose of them. In addition to legal certainty and compliance, JiVS IMP generally saves up to 80 percent or more in operating costs compared to the costs of operating the decommissioned legacy systems.

A central platform instead of dozens of legacy systems also makes information governance, i.e. the proper management of corporate information, much easier and improves its quality. Since all access to historical information is controlled and documented seamlessly by strict authorization management, companies are also on the safe side when it comes to internal and external audits. Last but not least, this also increases data security. A modern and central platform is much easier to protect against vulnerabilities and cyber espionage than many heterogeneous legacy systems.

Companies that use JiVS IMP in the course of introducing new software generations not only have more investment funds at their disposal. In fact, they can select which data to import into the new environment and dimension the new systems more economically. As JiVS IMP gives you the option of creating an analysis of the information pool’s reduction potential, defining the filter rules for data transfer and making information available in a neutral format for its subsequent transformation and migration.

JiVS IMP simplifies and speeds up other typical business scenarios, such as the carve-out and sale of parts of a company or data quality optimization prior to big data scenarios.

In addition, decommissioning legacy systems with JiVS IMP enables companies to harmonize, consolidate and centralize multi-vendor application environments or even entire datacenter locations. Along with data quality optimization, this fulfills a key prerequisite for companies to move their system and application environment up to the next generation, such as with the transformation to SAP S/4HANA or SAP C/4HANA.

JiVS IMP not only saves costs, but also provides companies with great additional benefits in the form of greater agility, flexibility, legal certainty and pace of innovation. JiVS IMP also enables companies to leverage the potential value of their historical information – their H data – faster, easier and more completely than has been possible to date while increasing the value of their organization.

6. Price and availability

JiVS IMP is available now. The functional scope and pricing are defined on a project-specific basis. Customers can choose to subscribe to the platform’s functionality as a service, enabling them to transfer capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operating expenditure (OPEX).

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