Legacy archive migrations & the opportunities they present
Thursday, April 29, 2021
by Austen Slattery
Many of the projects we have undertaken in the finance sector revolve around modernization, specifically archive migrations. Continued use of legacy systems can prove to be an obstacle when the customer wants to optimize their IT infrastructure. This is particularly true in environments that rely on flexible access to incredibly sensitive data. Often this results in the decision to modernize the IT infrastructure and either move off the mainframe entirely or migrate some of the elements from the mainframe to open systems. As an aside, the decommissioning of legacy systems often adds months or even years to the process. This is not surprising when you consider the many decades that these systems have been in place and the various security requirements and data governance involved in this transition.
Why migrate archives at all? Two obvious reasons are improved access to data and the desire for cost savings. At the same time, protecting data is a key focus for any activity that touches information about customers. This is where LRS comes in. Our so-called “holistic” approach has been an eye opener to many financial services providers and the reason we’ve become a trusted advisor and recurring element in future customer projects.
To take a step back, let us consider the meaning of the word holistic. To some it is just another buzzword thrown around as frequently as ‘agility’ or ‘seamless’. But “holistic” is a word we’ve used for a very long time to contrast our solution with more fragmented or siloed approaches for managing documents. We tend not to view different document sources, formats, and destinations as islands of information. Holistic output management seeks to establish a single way of handling documents generated from any origin or source, delivered to any platform or device, in whatever format is best for the organization.
How does this apply to financial services? We find that some financial organizations have fragmented IT infrastructures that are split up and managed by different departments. These can greatly benefit from a more holistic approach. We try to design a solution that seamlessly fits the organization’s unique requirements. By way of example, here are three modernization projects within the finance and banking sector where this holistic approach has yielded exceptional results:
- A provider of student loans was looking to replace their legacy archiving solution and migrate over 4 million reports stored on the mainframe. Time was of the essence, as the migration project was starting just six short months before a costly maintenance payment for their legacy mainframe solution. Initial assessments revealed that in addition to a mainframe archiving solution, they were also running another archive module in their open systems environment. By implementing LRS’ PageCenterX solution, they avoided millions of dollars in legacy maintenance fees as well as the mainframe resources (e.g., MIPS) needed to process millions of reports on the mainframe. The holistic LRS approach also helped them consolidate documents from the non-mainframe archive into a single environment.
- A B2B provider of financial information and analytics had a project to rehost their mainframe applications to a distributed system. They had decided to keep all existing software and simply migrate them to another platform (an approach often called “lift and shift”). Early in the project, LRS’ focus was on improving printing, not document archives, but we noted how our products could provide central management of all their tax accounting and reporting output in hardcopy and electronic forms. This consultative approach led them to implement a holistic solution for both print management and electronic document archiving.
- A non-profit provider of health and pension benefits was under pressure to minimize operating costs, which led them to look at shutting down their mainframe. LRS was contacted to oversee the process of legacy archive migration. Early on, we discovered that they were currently working with five different viewing and archiving solutions, and we proposed they consolidate these disparate data stores into a single PageCenterX archive. The monetary benefits were not obvious, as all five existing solutions were already paid for; however, a more detailed analysis uncovered the potential savings of moving to a single archive solution. Improved user access to critical files and reduced IT resources spent on maintaining duplicate archives were the keys to the potential savings.
It is not uncommon for large organizations to work in silos, sometimes with good reason. LRS never intends to blur such lines when they serve a purpose, but often such silos only result in slower business processes and the expense of maintaining multiple systems and solutions. Therefore, when we see a clear advantage to centralizing output management, we explain those benefits to the customer.
As noted in the examples above, we listen to customer needs while always looking for ways to improve business processes. We try to present a holistic view of output management to those with the vision to see it. That approach has made us a valued partner over time, with customer relationships measured in decades rather than weeks or months. Just as we remain committed to improving our business and our products, so do our customers whose circumstances are continuously changing. As they evolve, we are there to look, listen, and offer our assistance. Working together, the possibilities are limitless.