Meeting today’s digital demands armed only with yesterday’s IT infrastructure is a challenge many financial services firms struggle with. While the temptation to fully “rip out and replace” legacy systems with new digital-ready technology might be strong, it isn’t necessary for all situations. In some cases, doing so may represent the loss of a significant financial investment as well as the investment of a new one.

As I mentioned in my previous post, by taking a thoughtful and informed approach, firms can integrate new digital applications into their environment legacy IT systems to meet today’s digital demands. Based on decomposing existing systems and breaking them into discrete components, this type of approach affords the flexibility to add new digital capabilities as needed to supplement business functionality and support progress and growth.

There are a number of advantages to taking this type of approach:

  1. It is far less disruptive and costly than replacing an entire core legacy system
  2. Firms can add new digital channels at scale
  3. Gradual integration is less disruptive and easier than wholesale change
  4. Specific existing applications can be “fenced around” and reinvested in if there is no need to modernize

A leading bank transforms legacy IT for a new business model

A leading bank refreshed its legacy IT system through this type of approach when it transitioned from a traditional branch focus to a more digital and customer-centric business model. The bank deconstructed its separate lines of business and implemented a cross-channel banking platform. Through a new digital banking architecture and open source technologies, the bank was able to increase application agility, improve the customer experience, and reduce the time it took to open an account from two weeks to seven minutes.1

Leveraging your legacy IT backbone

Turning legacy systems into digital-ready mode is an iterative process. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, there are numerous techniques firms can employ to unlock the value in legacy systems and create a customized solution that leverages the power of their existing legacy IT backbone.

In my next post, I’ll share some practical tips on how you can refresh your legacy IT system to bring your business into the digital era, deliver better business results, and drive an improved customer experience.

For more information about modernizing the IT environment, please see Accenture’s report, Modernization in the Digital Era.



  1.     Modernization in the Digital Era,” Accenture 2016. Access at: Modernization in the Digital Era


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