How to integrate automation with legacy applications
In today’s business landscape, integrating automation with legacy applications is a critical step in enhancing operational resilience. Many organisations rely on legacy systems that have been in place for years, often representing the backbone of their operations. While these systems may be robust, they can also be inflexible and difficult to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the modern business environment. The challenge lies in seamlessly combining the reliability of these legacy systems with the agility and efficiency that automation can offer.
“Legacy systems often contain mission-critical applications, and preserving their reliability is essential for business continuity. Automation can complement these systems by adding efficiency and flexibility” says our industry expert, Ken Wilson, Field CTO from Broadcom.
Key ways to seamless automation integration into legacy systems
- Deep Understanding of Critical Decision Points
- Identify critical decision points in processes.
- Understand the severity of decisions that automation is handling.
- Recognise when human intervention is necessary, especially beyond routine tasks.
2. Materiality Assessment
- Evaluate the impact of automation on business outcomes.
- Consider factors like revenue impact, SLA adherence, and overall business resilience.
- Prioritise interventions based on the materiality of their impact.
3. Supervision and Review Mechanisms
- Implement supervision for automation tasks that may have significant consequences.
- Consider having a reviewer for actions that could result in impactful outcomes.
- Strike a balance between trusting automation and periodic human intervention.
4. Impact on Business Strategy
- Align automation efforts with the broader business strategy.
- Understand how automation contributes to business goals, such as improving customer service, reducing costs, or enhancing operational efficiency. “You need to find the link between the business outcome of the automation. So if it’s improving uptime, you can draw correlations that increase revenue or decrease cost.” Says Ken Wilson, Field CTO from Broadcom
5. Clear Plan and Strategy
- Develop a clear plan for automation implementation.
- Define what success looks like and build cycles of pilot testing and iteration.
- Ensure alignment with the organisation’s overall strategy and objectives.
- “Your goal at the end of the day is really to combine reliability with your established systems, but adaptability that you might be able to leverage via automation.” – says Ken
6. Collaboration and Communication
- Foster collaboration among teams involved in automation.
- Communicate the goals and benefits of automation across the organisation.
- Promote a positive view of automation, focusing on upskilling and improved decision-making rather than displacement.
- How Dan Fiehn, COO Compre Group summarised: “Having that alignment baked in is really important because then it happens naturally as part of how you go about doing your business.”
7. Comprehensive Assessment and Roadmap
- Conduct a comprehensive assessment of processes for automation suitability.
- Prioritise automation use cases based on value and business impact.
- Develop a roadmap that outlines the journey of automation implementation.
8. Data-Driven Prioritisation
- Prioritise automation use cases based on data-driven assessments.
- Allocate value to each use case, considering the impact on productivity, cost savings, and business operations. Assad Khan, our industry expert and Head of Automation from Telenor Sweden summarised it well: “In your operations, you need to have a value associated with the use cases that you highlight and you prioritise.”
9. Continuous Improvement Mindset
- Cultivate a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation.
- Implement automation not as a one-time project but as an ongoing strategy.
- Evolve automation efforts based on changing business needs and technological advancements.
10. Regulatory Compliance Integration
- Integrate automation solutions that facilitate regulatory compliance.
- Capture and log changes made by automation, ensuring accountability and traceability. “Not only are you capturing the logging, you’re capturing the person that may have made the change or when it was executed.” Ken says
- Use automation to generate reports that demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.
11. Executive and C-Suite Involvement
- Gain support from the executive and C-suite for automation initiatives.
- Frame the importance of automation in language that aligns with business priorities.
- Help leadership understand the severity of not addressing automation needs and the potential impact on the organisation.
- As Dan Fiehn strongly said it: “There’s a responsibility, Ken, on US technology leaders to actually frame the issue in a language that the boards understand.”
These key ways emphasise the need for a strategic, collaborative, and adaptive approach to automation integration into legacy systems, ensuring a balance between efficiency, resilience and compliance.
For more insights, refer to our dedicated page on building a resilient business through automation.