Next-generation digital transformation projects are accelerating in businesses in all industries and sectors. The move to the cloud, which began over a decade ago, can provide clear competitive benefits for companies – including lower costs, greater infrastructure flexibility, and increased capabilities. And we are now seeing second-generation cloud applications emerge, which provide even greater value to businesses while dramatically improving user-experiences with consumer-like interfaces.
While the benefits of digital transformation projects are clear, they aren’t always easy. Re-platforming core business functions and the underlying data can be challenging and risky. Many companies elect to make a clean break from the past to reduce project risk and chose not to move historical data to new platforms. The projects are hard enough without adding the additional variable of migrating gigabytes or terabytes of data sitting in legacy applications.
While this is a smart decision from a project risk perspective, it creates a dilemma. Historical data can still be precious, but only if it is still easily accessible to the business functions and processes that could leverage it. For instance, legacy HR data contains information on former employees and contractors, historical salaries, performance reviews, and more. That data remains vital for hiring, promotions, salary changes, structure changes, and many other HR decisions – both tactical and strategic.
What do you do with Legacy Data?
Companies generally wrestle with three options when considering historical data:
- Migrate historical data over to the new platform in a post-go-live phase. This migration rarely happens because the cost/benefit of doing it isn’t clear.
- Maintain a scaled-down version of the legacy application that holds this data and limit access to only essential personnel. This is a common approach – it’s low risk, and the business is comforted knowing historical data is available whenever needed in a familiar place. A downside is the necessity to continue to pay for the legacy system, which often is poorly supported and can be expensive. Access also tends to be limited to as few users as possible, limiting accessibility and, therefore, value.
- Move the data to a stand-alone database. This can allow the company to eliminate the legacy application cost and generally be done relatively easily via an export process. However, business-user access to databases is problematic. It takes training to know how to build standard and custom database reports and conduct ad-hoc queries. Controlling access rights with databases that contain sensitive data can also be challenging.
At Dispatch, we’ve worked with many companies as they’ve wrestled with these challenges. Luckily, a new generation of easy-to-use applications is now helping to solve this problem.
Next Generation Business Process Development Tools
Internal.io is a fantastic low-code platform that enables businesses to create easy-to-use applications and user interfaces with databases and 3rd party systems. It’s a no-code system that allows non-technical users to access legacy data that would otherwise be trapped inside databases. Internal.io is a security-first platform that enables businesses to build accessible user experiences on top of data that they securely host themselves.
Unlocking Legacy HR Data
At Dispatch, we’ve used Internal.io to help our clients move their historical HR data from legacy systems into secure databases they host themselves (or that we host on their behalf). We’ve built powerful and secure portals to access this data that HR staff and business users can use with minimal or no training. And this re-platforming – even with hundreds of gigabytes of data and thousands of tables can be done in only a few weeks.
Internal.io provides an easy-to-use front-end interface that retains the powerful search and query capabilities of an SQL database behind the scenes. The platform also has a comprehensive user-management function, so only people with the right permissions can access confidential and sensitive information.
Some of the most valuable HR data includes employment, compensation and bonus plans, leave and termination data, and pension data.
Leveraging other Legacy Data
These concepts can apply to any data that resides in SQL databases or legacy applications. Multiple databases can be combined for even more powerful searches and to enable business processes. HR, finance, sales, warranty, and many other types of data can be leveraged in this way.
If you have recently undergone a digital transformation project and you’re feeling stuck with the cost of maintaining legacy applications to host historical data and are looking for a more accessible method to access data that you’re hosting yourself, please contact us. We’d be delighted to explore how we can help.
Contact us today if you want to move your historical HR data from a legacy system into a secure database that is easily accessible.
Dispatch Integration is a software development and professional services firm that develops, delivers, and manages advanced data integration and workflow automation solutions. We exist to help organizations effectively deal with the complex and ever-changing need to integrate data and optimize end to end workflows between cloud-based, mission-critical applications.
Gavin Hay is the co-founder, President, and CTO of Dispatch Integration with experience leading high performing cross-functional teams. He has over 20 years of experience as a systems architect in the HR and Payroll industry and has a deep understanding of the full stack technology infrastructure required to deliver exceptional software integrations.