Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog

5 Ingredients for Paving the Future of Legacy Systems

Posted on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

Alan Kay introduced an idea that the best way to predict the future is to invent in. 5AM takes this idea seriously, continuously honing our Glassbox methodology to empower our customers to drive and receive the change they want. A common perception is that people resist change. We have found that people resist what they perceive as threats. The ability to change is to address the threats (aka risks) by answering five key questions. Legacy systems offer a fine example.

Cartoon by Jerry King
Cartoon by Jerry King

Legacy systems get a bad rap. The views are often strongly felt and expressed. Some will scream “it’s dated,” that “we can’t maintain it,” or “it has to go” -- while others bark that “our business is tuned to it,” that “it meets our compliance needs,” or “there is nothing in the market that can do exactly what this does!” Other dependencies grow attached to these systems. Change is hard.

For 5AM’s fields of choice - life science, healthcare and the convergence that has been built over the last 10 years, this is a deafening roar. How can we lower the volume, relax and come to understand whether the legacy system in question is good for business or not? And if the decision is that it needs to be replaced, for the leaders and doers to not be trapped by Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (borrowing from Robert Green’s message regarding the ACMG’s paper on secondary findings in genomic data).

Here is a recipe the answers to which pave the future.

1. Qualify and Quantify What the Vision Is

  • Why it is important, and...

  • What must be accomplished…

  • Who cares about the results...


2. Visually Depict Key Elements, Such As

  • What the value is...

  • Who it directly serves, and...

  • Who needs to do what to get the value.

3. Design Several Approaches, Considering

  • What the budget is...

  • What threats are introduced by specific changes...

  • What cascading impact is there?

4. Mix Quickly

  • try two of the approaches with simple metrics for evaluation…

5. Set The Course

In 5AM’s almost 11 years, customers have never been disappointed when employing this practice.

Vision without Traction is Hallucination.

-Brent Gendleman, 5AM Solutions

Brent Gendleman






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