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The value of legacy system connectivity

Legacy systems form the backbone of many applications, which is why legacy system connectivity is becoming increasingly important within the enterprise. For example, data shows that the the average age of a state government’s tax system is 24 years old. As time goes on, such old systems, which are built on outdated technologies, must continue to co-exist with more modern systems within the IT ecosystem. 

But, with the advent of modern applications, systems and devices, legacy systems are holding organizations back from better leveraging data because it is difficult to integrate these old systems with newer technologies. To solve this, many organizations need to think about legacy system connectivity. With legacy system connectivity, organizations can better surface data from legacy systems by integrating it with modern systems and, in turn, get more out of their legacy stack. 


For example, imagine a business has customers’ order history data in two legacy systems and customers’ web interactions with the brand in a modern CRM. If the CRM is not integrated with these legacy systems, then the business is losing out on valuable insights that they can get from merging this data and creating a more single view of their customers

But legacy system connectivity isn’t always easy to achieve. Connecting legacy systems can often mean investing time and resources into labor-intensive point-to-point integrations with custom code. What is the best way for organizations to approach legacy system connectivity and better leverage their data?

Legacy System Connectivity

Approaches to legacy system connectivity

The legacy system connectivity journey begins with two common approaches that organizations take when dealing with legacy systems:

  • They can rip and replace their old systems and put in entirely new ones wholesale
  • They can enable web functionality within these systems through custom code

Both of these approaches have their drawbacks. In the first, it’s difficult to justify the time and expense necessary for a rip-and-replace approach and for businesses that have to pivot and adjust to change quickly, it’s very difficult to keep business operations afloat while entirely replacing legacy systems.

In the second approach, the majority of the data and systems are connected through point-to-point integration, so with every project an organization embarks on that
involves data within a legacy system, they have to write new point-to-point code again and again in order to connect these systems and expose any relevant data.

When point-to-point is used in small organizations , where only two to three systems must be integrated, it works quite well. Research shows that large organizations are using more than 1000 applications. As a result, point-to-point integrations create an exponential number of connections. Hundreds of systems are tightly coupled together, making it difficult to easily connect or or modernize existing systems.

APIs: The key to legacy system connectivity

Traditional architectural approaches centered around point-to-point integration are unable to address legacy system connectivity effectively. But APIs hold the key to exposing data from these systems by exposing that data in a way that protects the integrity of the system, enables secure and governed access and accelerates developer productivity. 

Doing so allows organizations with older systems to adapt to modern business needs, thereby increasing their ability to quickly connect and adopt new technologies. In addition, by using APIs to unlock access to legacy systems, organizations can lower costs by reducing skills dependency on legacy system SMEs, eliminate the need to re-develop complicated legacy system interfaces and insulate legacy systems from spikes in data requests.

Learn more by discovering how APIs can help modernize legacy systems.

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