Opinion

Managing the transition from legacy to modern systems in Oil & Gas


Legacy IT Systems, either software or hardware that were commissioned between the 1980's and early 2000's, are a significant obstacle in any Oil & Gas organisation's drive towards modernisation.

Whilst the age of these systems is not necessarily an issue, continued product support is a challenge for many. In most cases this leads to reduced functionality with legacy systems kept alive through use of manual processes.

TouchstoneEnergy offers a program of legacy system modernisation for Oil & Gas companies. We do this with the implementation of Infor solutions, a rapidly maturing suite of functional software hosted on-premise or in the cloud. Our approach is based on analysis of the business today, versus current systems and processes. We help customers transition through their modernisation programme by supplying and implementing technology, application software and scalable processes that fit the business model today, but are agile enough to accommodate change.

Our reasons for this approach are based on the fact that:

  • Legacy systems were built to accomplish a particular function and were more abstract in their design and output. Today, users demand more specialisation and superior user experience, with industry focused systems, accessed through the Web.
  • Many of the legacy systems have inflexible architectures, and as a result, they can only interact with limited types of technology. Our solutions deliver modern user experience and techniques including mobile applications for all types of users performing different, and most often, industry vertical business functions.
  • Digitalisation or the increased need to incorporate cloud-based systems, mobility, analytics and social media has changed the way IT Systems are used and data is consumed.
  • Business models have evolved over the years, so legacy systems with limited operational capability will often slow operational processes or limit your competitive advantage.

Short-term fixes may be more affordable but they are also often ineffective.

The cost of running and maintaining legacy systems prompts organisations to modernise systems, usually for cost saving and sustainable profitability. Modernisation raises the usual questions – can a lightweight solution do the job needed to run my business, or is a full-scale rip and replace approach required?

Modernisation can be successful and very effective with those who understand the challenges of your specific industry, and TouchstoneEnergy certainly understands the Energy sector.

Modernisation is the inevitable long-term solution. Enterprise applications such as Infor SunSystems and Infor EAM (Enterprise Asset Management), which are of modern design and equipped to streamline processes can be hosted on modern technology platforms on-premise or in the cloud. Either option comes with its own challenges.

  • Cost: The single-largest reason to delay or defer the legacy modernisation exercise in most organisations is cost, or that is the perception
  • Time and Disruption: Given the duration of the exercise, there could be disruption to your service delivery. This requires informing users/customers and others about the same and preparing plan B or disaster recovery.
  • Loss of Data: If the migration exercise is not properly executed, large elements of data can be lost from one or more systems, applications or modules. And, if there are no data backups, this can cause serious disruption and avoidable conflicts.
  • Co-existence and integration challenges: Even as the project is happening, some of the older systems must co-exist with the new system. However, integration between systems must be smooth.
  • Training/re-training staff: IT departments as well as internal users must be familiarised with the new systems through delivery of planned and well executed training programs, which again imply time, cost and disruption to business as usual.
  • Ensuring user experience: Merely ensuring all the functionality is available in the new system is not enough! User experience is equally important for ongoing adoption of the system.
  • Stakeholder's commitment: Given the above challenges, stakeholders also need to demonstrate their commitment to this challenge from top down.

At TouchstoneEnergy, we have a new and effective approach to legacy migration that makes it a seamless process ensuring better returns on IT investment.

FOLLOW US AT WWW.TOUCHSTONEENERGY.CO.UK or WWW.TOUCHSTONEENERGYUSA.COM



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