<img alt="" src="https://secure.cold5road.com/218968.png" style="display:none;"> Skip to main content

Legacy integration solutions allow businesses to integrate legacy operations into new technology systems without replacing them entirely. Learn more today.


Why Legacy Integration Solutions Matter: Exploring the Value of Integrating Legacy Systems

Posted by Angela Davis on August 10, 2023
Listen to audio version

As the digital landscape becomes ever more sophisticated, businesses are having to find legacy integration solutions for their organizations. 

Legacy systems—outdated pieces of technology that include mainframes and applications—continue to be used by a wide range of companies, despite the considerable drawbacks. 

Unfortunately, relying on legacy systems can often seem like the easiest option. The familiarity of legacy systems makes the migration of all your operations and data to a new setup particularly unappealing. 

However, failing to modernize can be costly. For example, the average retailer spends 58% of their IT budget on maintaining outdated systems.

When surveying your tech operations, you should consider how to integrate your legacy solutions into a more up-to-date system. This article will explain how you can.

What is a legacy system?

Legacy systems are old technologies, applications, or IT systems that businesses continue to use—despite them being behind the current technology standards. 

These systems often aren’t changed because employees are familiar with them or they don’t appear to have significant downsides.

Due to their long standing use, many legacy systems are also vital to businesses. Lots of companies rely on operations or data that are intrinsically linked to legacy systems, making moving on expensive and difficult. 

However, continuing to use outdated systems is rarely the best option. Not only does it mean you miss out on the benefits of more sophisticated contemporary tech, but old systems can also leave you exposed to greater data security risks, as this software is often no longer being updated to counter new threats. 

Similarly, compliance with regulations—especially data privacy ones—can be crippled by the use of outdated systems. Therefore, continuing to rely on this technology could lead to fines or other penalties.

Furthermore, the incompatibility of legacy systems with modern tech can result in downsides as simple as companies being unable to use the latest versions of software or as major as becoming less competitive due to being unable to supply the services that customers have come to expect. 

It’s understandable that the continued importance of legacy systems means that many businesses believe total modernization is too difficult. However, integrating legacy operations into a new technology system can be a useful and effective alternative, as it avoids discarding them entirely.

Approaches for legacy integration solutions

There are two main approaches to ensuring that your technology solutions are up-to-date while maintaining the benefits of your legacy system. 

API integration platforms

Image source

An application programming interface (API) is a popular tool for allowing legacy solutions to be integrated into a more modern IT system. 

API integrations are the main way that most applications communicate with each other. Their job is to allow separate applications to easily transmit and exchange data. 

The usefulness of APIs for integrating legacy systems is easy to understand: they translate the outputs of legacy systems into a standardized format, which allows them to be understood by a modernized system. 

To use APIs to integrate older systems, there are some simple steps you should follow: 

1. Identify systems 

Firstly, you must locate the old technologies you want to integrate into your new system. These should include operations that produce valuable data. This will allow you to recognize any APIs that are already used in your legacy system.

If these APIs are not suitable for working with modern systems, you’ll have to design a custom API or find ones that are compatible. This is where API integration platforms come in i.e. pre-designed solutions that can be brought into your operation.

2. Create APIs

For APIs to work effectively, a middleware layer is needed. This layer is essential to enable data to be communicated between applications authenticatically and securely. However, overtime middleware can become bulky and time-consuming to modify as more applications are added.

OpenLegacy utilizes microservice-based APIs that simplify the integration process by combining all API elements, such as connectors, design, enhancement, deployment, testing, and management, into a single package. These APIs provide a direct connection to mainframe elements without the need for complex layers of back-end coding.

By simplifying the connection between legacy systems and new operations, OpenLegacy speeds up the creation, maintenance, and deployment of APIs while reducing the risks for businesses.

3. Implement and test

Once the technical aspects of the API integration are set up, you can implement them in your business operation. Like many big changes in business, there’s a chance things won’t work perfectly on the first try. Analyze your results so that you can fine-tune your APIs for effective functioning. 

Using an API integration approach will require some technical knowledge and expertise, but services like OpenLegacy can help simplify this. Ultimately, the way that APIs can combine older and more modern systems is indispensable for legacy integration solutions.

Cloud integration

Another common method used for integrating legacy systems is cloud integration. Almost all organizations already use some form of cloud technology, whether for data storage, data processing, or working-from-home applications, and this technology can also be used to make legacy integration easier.

Without any need for on-premises technology, pre-built cloud solutions also remove the need for specific API integration platforms to connect legacy and modern systems. 

Image source

There are some notable similarities between cloud-based and API-centric approaches. Firstly, you will still need to identify the APIs that can be used in your legacy systems. However, with cloud integration, these can simply be connected to a pre-existing cloud platform, such as those provided by Google or AWS. 

This creates a hybrid tech approach that maintains the operations of your legacy systems while standardizing the data extracted from them, which allows it to be used in modern cloud-based operations. 

A cloud approach is often easier to implement and use than other solutions, with pre-designed tools speeding up the connection process. As well as this, it ensures your data is already connected to other cloud services, such as analytics software, which can make your workflows more efficient. 

You will have to consider the specific details of your operation when deciding which legacy integration approach would best suited you. If you already rely on cloud services, it makes sense to link your legacy systems to these.

On the other hand, if your legacy solutions deal with sensitive data or are especially complex, you might benefit from having a specific API integration platform.

Benefits of legacy integration solutions

Regardless of how you choose to implement a legacy integration solution, there are significant benefits that come from ensuring your legacy operations are fully compatible with the most up-to-date technologies.

Improved efficiency and streamlined workflows

One of the biggest problems with legacy systems is that you’re unable to take advantage of the improvements in efficiency that come with technological advances. By integrating these systems into modernized frameworks, however, you can save time and energy while retaining your legacy operations.

This might include automating repetitive processes, such as entering data. Integration can also improve overall performance, with newer technologies increasing the speed and accuracy with which results are produced.

Furthermore, connecting legacy operations with your wider digital workspace—via cloud integration, for example—can streamline your workflows, allowing employees to use one integrated suite of applications and work with data from several access points.

Reduced costs and complexity

Another reason to implement legacy integration solutions is to achieve reductions in costs and complexities. Increased efficiencies from modern technologies can reduce overheads and improve profits over time.

Legacy systems can have extensive maintenance costs, which only increase as they age. Older technologies are also often unreliable and require frequent servicing. However, migrating to newer systems as part of a legacy operations integration can effectively outsource maintenance to operators through regularly scheduled updates.

An integrated system can also simplify IT operations for everyone in your business. Having all your processes conducted on one platform reduces the likelihood of problems and makes the onboarding of new employees easier.

Key considerations when choosing a legacy integration solution

Image source

If you’re still reliant on legacy tech, there’s no doubt that you’ll benefit from integrating your technologies into a modernized system. 

However, when choosing which type of integration is best for your company, there are some essential considerations, for example which systems you currently use and your business goals. 

Compatibility with existing systems

Ensuring that your existing systems work with your new processes is vital, as the main point of an integrated system is that the new system works alongside your old one, rather than replacing it. 

Your integration platform should be able to partner with existing systems regardless of how old or complex they are. Make sure it includes the necessary connectors, adapters, and APIs to do this. 

Flexibility and scalability

While compatibility involves looking backward, you should also take in your view of the future when choosing a legacy integration solution. Legacy systems may need to be integrated further with new applications, systems, and devices down the line, so your solution must be able to accommodate these changes. 

Similarly, think about the size of your operation. If you expect that your company will achieve significant growth in scale over the next few years, your solution should reflect this and be able to handle increases in processing requirements.

Best practices for implementing legacy integration solutions

Whichever solution you choose for your business, the process of implementing it can be difficult. Integrated solutions platforms will perform many of the technical tasks for you, however it’s still important to keep a clear set of best practices in mind. 

Create a comprehensive digital modernization strategy

A legacy integration solution should be just one part of a wider transformation for your company. With a digital modernization strategy, you can ensure that your whole organization is on board with this process. 

Your digital modernization strategy should outline your business goals, define your modernization requirements, and consider factors such as security, compliance, and how your legacy integration solution fits into your overall IT architecture. 

By ensuring that each employee clearly understands the thought processes driving the changes to your legacy technology, you can help them align their practices with the actions of the business.

Conduct a thorough assessment of existing systems

You can only achieve effective modernization if you know which legacy systems should be integrated into your new operation. Any assessment should consider the complexities and age of existing systems and produce a cost-benefit analysis for their operations.

This will give you a clear idea of which systems should be part of your legacy integrated solution to achieve  modernization. 

The future of legacy integration solutions

Image source

In 2023, the business world is more reliant on cutting-edge technology and data than ever before. In this environment, there’s no room for legacy systems that have limited performance and aren’t standardized for use with other applications and technologies.

Using integration platforms—whether they’re API only or connected to the cloud—ensures that the important business processes conducted by legacy systems are updated in line with the standards and productivity of modern technology. 

With business needs increasing and tech becoming more sophisticated by the day, there’s no doubt that legacy integration solutions will play a huge part in the technological revolution moving forward.

OpenLegacy provides customizable integration solutions with partner technologies

OpenLegacy’s solutions for modernization and integration can be combined with other leading technologies to achieve the perfect solution for your legacy system, no matter how complex it may be. 

It’s fast and easy to achieve system-level integration with OpenLegacy, however, depending on your business needs, a combination of solutions can create a more complete outcome for digital excellence. OpenLegacy is partnered with leading technology solution providers to provide the complex connectivity and integration for legacy systems.  To name just a few are Boomi, BigID, AWS, Google, Microsoft, RedHat, Axway to ensure that you can achieve the future-proof modernization that suits your business needs.



FAQs about legacy integration solutions

What are the four types of system integration?

There are four main types of system integration. They are: 

  1. API integrations. API integration is focused on exchanging data. Most integrations involve this method.
  2. Webhooks. This method doesn’t exchange data but instead notifies the new system when an event occurs in the legacy system.
  3. Integration services components (IPCs). These connect the legacy system to a local server.
  4. Orchestration. This method automates legacy processes to improve efficiency.

What are some examples of legacy systems?

Legacy systems exist in a surprising large number of organizations. Many governments still use them, with examples including outdated accounting software in government departments. Similarly, multiple banks and insurance companies continue to use legacy core systems. In retail, hardware, like sales terminals, often operate on them too. 

These examples show how widespread outdated technology is and why legacy integration solutions can be so important for your business. 

We’d love to give you a demo.

Please leave us your details and we'll be in touch shortly