Make legacy great again

Most mature companies stuck on legacy architecture are overwhelmed by the digital and technical dept they have in front of them.

Many have invested heavily in an ecommerce or similar solution 5(ish) years ago and are now looking at an old system landscape that is rigid, complex, and expensive to maintain. At the same time, these companies are expected to carry out a massive digital transformation in the following years.

This is the dilemma: How should they drive their digital transformation? Evolutionary or Revolutionary?

Is new always better?

If you ask consultants, many will probably recommend that you opt for the revolution as it tends to be bigger projects. Revolutionary projects are, however, also riskier and often it is more difficult to realise the business case.

But here is a secret: New is not always better. (Yes, we said it!)

That is why you should consider the more evolutionary route towards digital transformation. By opting for evolution, you can focus on separating your frontend from the rest of your legacy system landscape. By doing so, you can build the optimal customer experience for your business at a lower cost, thus realising the business case faster and easier. One way to go if you decide on the evolutionary way is to implement a Backend For Frontend headless hub, where you can revitalise all legacy data sources for new uses at the frontend.

By using The Headless Hub you can make your legacy great again.

Revitalising your old setup gives you several benefits

So, building a completely new setup for your new digital experience is often not worth the business case. The cost and investment will most likely be significant, and you risk the wait of 5-10 years before you see the return on investment – just in time to find yourself stuck on a new legacy setup.

If you instead revisit your old legacy setup and revitalise it with a significant performance boost, you can expect several strategic and operational benefits:

A. Lower investments required
B. Shorter time to market
C. Faster payback
D. No need for Change Management and Migration of Data
E. High performance resulting in better revenue and marketing effectiveness

You properly think it’s too good to be true – but here is why you should consider making your legacy great again:

A. Lower investment required

With a Backend For Frontend headless hub in your architecture, you can utilise all the data in your current setup, but served fast, safely and more efficiently to the frontend. You do need to build a new frontend/customer experience, but that is far more cost effective than implementing a whole new CMS and Ecommerce engine. Thus, with The Headless Hub you are minimising the investment required to renew the customer experiences.

B. Shorter time to market

As you only need to build a new frontend, the processing, projecting, and need for highly specialised backend resources are notably reduced. Often, this means that you can bring your customer experience or innovation way faster to market than your competitors.

C. Faster payback

With The Headless Hub, your investment profile will also become significantly more attractive, as lower investment and swifter customer feedback will generate faster investment payback.

This brings along another important thing to consider in your investment profile – namely less risk. Most companies, particularly the mature ones, tend to make massive digital bets when building new setups – even before the advantages to their new digital experience have been confirmed. Such investments can be highly risky. By adding The Headless Hub into your legacy setup, your investment and risk profile will lessen significantly.

D. No need for Change Management or Data Migration

After years of consulting within Ecommerce and digital transformation, we’ve noticed two expenditures that are often overlooked and underestimated: Change Management and Data migration.

Very often companies are forgetting what a massive challenge it is to learn a new system for daily operations – and to de-learn routines from the old system. Furthermore, the old system contains millions of valuable records that need to be migrated into the new setup. And that, unfortunately, is neither straightforward nor cheap.

By using The Headless Hub you can build new digital experiences for your customers without hassling your change processes and data sources. This will give you significant short-term benefits.

E. High performance resulting in better revenue and marketing effectiveness

The Headless Hub is built to generate high performance websites with blazing fast loading. Recently, we completed a proof of concept on a large ecommerce company, where we reduced load time with up to 90%.

And also outside of Enterspeed, blazing fast websites have proved to generate more revenue and lower bounce rates. Zalando, for example, saw a 7-10% revenue increase for every 1 second faster load time.

Furthermore, faster digital experiences will strengthen your Quality Score and Page Experience signal on Google, hence lowering AdWords costs and securing improved SEO rankings. This ultimately means that faster websites are an important element in your marketing effectiveness.

So, whether it’s your CEO who wants faster results and better customer experience, your CFO who wants a good business case, or your CMO who wants “more bang for the buck” – making your legacy great again is a valid and vibrant strategy for most companies.

Evolution beats revolution

As digital consultants we’ve seen many Requests for Proposals and we’ve sold new cutting-edge technology in completely new architectures – thus pushing the revolutionary digital transformation. Now we know better.

It is about time that we all begin to think digital transformation as an evolution rather than a revolution. By thinking evolutionary, you can focus on what is truly important to your customer experiences and then use The Headless Hub to gradually change systems or processes making each of them their own independent business case.

Digital sustainability
As sustainability becomes more and more significant in competition and communication, it is about time to consider resource consumption in your digital strategies. Do you really need to spend resources on building a new architecture, or can you revitalise your legacy setup?

Today, many companies throw away perfectly acceptable IT systems, because the combined architecture is ineffective. We are advocating to challenge this digital use-and-throw-away culture and instead choose a set-up that can reuse some of the elements that are still proving relevant and only change those, that are out of date.

By implementing, for instance, a headless hub you’ll not only minimise impact by reducing development resources, but you’ll also reduce the operational impact. Hence making you more sustainable through evolution.

Safe thinking
What about safety, you might think? Some RFPs are motivated by vulnerabilities in the current setup, but by utilising The Headless Hub, companies can place their vulnerabilities behind closed and protected fire walls. The Headless Hub will only contain data that you intend to show customers, thus making it secure by design.

Plan for the future
The final argument for choosing an Evolutionary Transformation is the fact that the future is highly unpredictable. If you are forcing your digital transformation with a revolution, you are placing significant risky bets on the future, and most companies will fail dramatically.

The evolutionary transformation is perhaps slower, but also more efficient, as the right new architecture will provide you with the strategic value of Digital Agility. This means that you will be empowered to either stay with your legacy or to swiftly change into best of breed systems without any system lock in.

Make legacy great again

Yes, I know the slogan “Make legacy great again” is rather close to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign motto. And despite the obvious joke on what he hoped to make great again, we are distancing ourselves from any political point of view.

When we promote that companies make legacy great again, it is our way of protesting the hunt for more and bigger projects.

The fact is that many companies are overinvesting in systems and digital experiences with significant risk profiles. We want to give companies another opportunity, which allows them to reuse and revitalise what they already have – without compromising their aim for better customer experiences, better revenue, better marketing effectiveness and more digital agility.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you make your legacy great again, then please do not hesitate to reach out.

About the Author

Toke Lund has been working within management consulting, heading up the strategy office and the consumer insights office at the LEGO Group, driving digital transformation at Salling Group, and as a digital strategy consultant at Novicell. Now, Toke has founded Enterspeed – a software company delivering a high-performance Backend For Frontend product called The Headless Hub. Enterspeed wants to challenge traditional digital development and offers developers and businesses a premium experience with more control and flexibility at their fingertip.