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A world without legacy systems

How frustrating is it to be one of the little guys without the resources to bear for big projects. Well, those frustrations may actually be easier to deal with than the alternative: Being a large company entrenched in legacy systems.

I came across a blog post recently by Scott Adams, describing a fantasy world where countries weren’t so paralyzed by legacy systems that they couldn’t move forward. Older systems have too many vested interests, making it difficult to change because “anything that has been around for a while is a complicated and inconvenient mess compared to what its ideal form could be,” Adams wrote.

This got me thinking about the real legacy systems holding back IT: The projects that never go anywhere, not because the project itself is bad, but because the change would overwhelm the systems, strategies, processes and workflows that may not integrate with the change. How, too often, the need for agility is acknowledged, but never addressed. And, more importantly here, how the bigger you are, the more difficult it is to change.

So here’s to all the small IT shops out there, where each member of the staff wears multiple hats and puts in the extra hours because, let’s face it, who else will? Being smaller means you’re closer to the top, closer to making a difference. Yes, your budget is probably smaller and you can’t get to all the things you know you need to tackle, but there are also far fewer hoops to jump through and approval signatures to get.

If you take all of that into consideration, maybe the grass is greener on this side: You can quickly adopt new technologies and there is less red tape. And you probably aren’t so buried in legacy systems that every infrastructure change requires duct tape and a sprinkle of IT magic to get it working.

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