“Legacy systems risk damaging perception of IT in the boardroom, reveals Atos Origin survey”

London, 11 May 2006

Legacy IT systems [1] are inhibiting business improvement and potentially damaging the perception of IT in the boardroom, according to a new survey of UK businesses by Atos Origin, a leading IT services company, jointly with the National Computing Centre.

The results showed that 79% of companies claim that a lack of system agility makes the alignment of IT with business objectives difficult, potentially suppressing business ambitions and targets. This leaves senior IT decision-makers with less time to focus on business objectives, limiting their potential to become strategic business partners with a place in the boardroom.

Moreover, according to the research, over a quarter of companies interviewed are using legacy IT systems to support at least 50% of their critical systems. This means that significantly outdated technology is central to business operation, presenting a significant risk to UK businesses.

  • Over two-thirds of companies surveyed are not confident their organisation has a single view of their legacy data, whilst they recognise that data quality is imperative to business and compliance
  • 62% considered a lack of knowledge and core skills to be an issue
  • Only 29% of respondents viewed risks of non-compliance to regulatory and legal requirements as having the greatest business impact

“Businesses are re-establishing growth agendas and are becoming ever more dependent on IT solutions to differentiate and remain competitive”, said Tony Virdi, director, systems integration, Atos Origin. “The survey highlights that in all companies, legacy IT systems are increasingly becoming a business issue and failure to address the problem will impact the company strategy and profitability.”

NCC's Managing Director Stefan Foster said, “Agility is a significant competitive advantage and inflexible legacy systems can restrict growth. The problem is widespread - in organisations with 50 or more IT staff between 25 -50% of applications are considered legacy, and many are business critical systems. The majority of respondents are re-architecting their enterprise processes to regain agility, but the challenge is how to futureproof new systems to avoid them becoming next year's legacy problem? You need a well thought through road-map.”

Additional results from the survey include:

  • 62% of companies surveyed believe that there is a negative return on investment for the cost of maintenance and support for legacy IT systems. This, combined with years of unstructured updates, have lead to inefficient support and spiralling production costs
  • 64% of companies noted that complexity and integration is a significant IT problem; a vicious circle that is hard to get out of

“To tackle the problem of complexity and integration and escape this vicious circle, organisations need to act now,” said Tony Virdi, director, systems integration at Atos Origin. “First step should be to conduct a rapid assessment of the entire IT estate relative to industry benchmarks,” “The findings of this study will help companies to identify those applications that are critical and those that are not and then define a roadmap to rationalise the applications and so reduce maintenance costs and operational risk while increasing business agility.”

The survey was designed by Atos Origin and conducted independently by The National Computing Centre. The results were compiled from over 150 web-based questionnaires completed by senior IT professionals. The Survey is available here.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are EUR 5.5 billion and it employs over 47,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Euronext Market Solutions, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About the National Computing Centre
The National Computing Centre (NCC) is the UK's leading IT membership organisation, serving corporate, vendor and government communities.

Working with our corporate members, we seek to help them achieve operational excellence, professional recognition, and the realisation of their ultimate career potential. In serving the UK Government community, NCC seeks not only the achievement of operational excellence, but also a wider public purpose relating to wealth creation and the enhancement of the UK as a leading knowledge economy. In serving the IT vendor community, we are committed to ensuring IT products and services meet the needs of our corporate (public and private sector) members.

We champion the effective use of IT to help maximise the competitiveness of our members' businesses and our role is to develop and promote best practice, standards and professionalism in IT management. NCC is a social enterprise.

For further information, contact:
Caroline Crouch
Atos Origin
Tel: +44 20 7830 4233
Email: caroline.crouch@atosorigin.com

[1] For the purposes of this survey, legacy is defined as those applications that are potentially unsupportable, that have a relatively high total cost of ownership, where there is a critical skills shortage, and are possibly inflexible relative to changing business and regulatory requirements.