3 MIN READ

The legacy system roadblock is an all too familiar headache for CIOs — yes, your technology was state-of-the-art two decades ago, but now it’s the IT version of the VCR.

It’s a widespread issue. In a 2019 Vanson Bourne survey of 200 IT leaders, nearly all struggled to innovate at speed due to a reliance on legacy technology, the complexity of using multiple technologies or a lack of automation.

Making matters worse for utilities is the fact legacy technologies are typically pivotal to critical business operations like customer data or asset management. Yet, as networks increase in size and complexity, and a greater variety of products or services are introduced, they struggle to keep up.

Compatibility is another common issue. You’ve probably seen cats and dogs play nicer than your ageing systems. And if you’ve been addressing the problem piecemeal – making incremental enhancements to a legacy system over the years – you’re now likely in the situation where it is almost impossible to duplicate it with a replacement.

So they become anchors that prevent you, an otherwise successful CIO, from ensuring your company advances in the market, expands into new territories and pushes forward with new products.

In most cases, simply ripping out an old system and throwing in a new one is not viable financially or just plain impractical. Transitioning out a sprawling system that has evolved over decades, and which staff and customers have grown accustomed to, can lead to significant business disruption – and not the cool, Silicon Valley, Uber-type disruption.

Many IT leaders in the utilities sector have recognised this, and a trend has emerged across the globe to avoid bulldozing existing systems by turning to location-based analytics technologies.

Small is the New Big
More than 80 percent of the technology leaders surveyed by Vanson Bourne have embraced microservices (web services architecture), where smaller, decoupled services are used to provide the functionality needed by an end application. Leaders are looking to independently build, deploy and manage small components of an overall application without affecting the other parts.

Real-time, spatial software can work alongside legacy technology. A Web GIS approach delivers a mapcentric content management system to seamlessly combine data into a bigger operating picture.

By connecting new spatial technology to legacy software, each employee can be delivered access to a one-stop-shop, real-time view of the entire network – from operations personnel to field workers, to the customer service team.

This shift has led to industry forecasts that the use of location-based analytics within the global utility market will continue to increase over the 2019-2023 period. Energy utilities are among those leading the way. APA Group future-proofed their operation by geo-enabling their entire network and creating a model for digital transformation that other energy infrastructure businesses can learn from.

An investigation of location-based analytics capabilities is sure to unfurrow your brow if you’re a CIO tasked with resolving your business’ legacy technology headaches.

To discover more about the solution transforming APA Group and other utilities across the globe, visit esriaustralia.com.au/gis-in-gas-utilities or have a chat with a utilities specialist and request a demo here.

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