Gartner says kill off your legacy systems, but what should you do?

Kill off your legacy systems in 2006 if you want to fight complexity: that's what Gartner, the research and consultancy group, is proposing to CIOs as a solution for many of their problems.

Incidentally, this is one of the main topics to be covered at Earl's Court during (http://www.ip-06.com) forthcoming IP 06.

Does it make sense though to kill off legacy systems? After all, "better the devil you know”. Legacy systems are not bad in themselves but it is the associated "lay back, rest on your laurels" mentality that will get firms into trouble.

As enterprises never operate in a vacuum, sooner or later, existing systems will find themselves struggling to cope with the evolving surrounding environment. Your communication protocols may no longer be compatible with your wholesaler's, or your clients might have ditched their old fax machines.

Being agile and able to switch quickly and just in time between technologies is what is the crucial factor.

But how can you decide whether it is time for you to move ahead?

Don't forget the key acronym - JIT (just in time). Don’t be too early as you might be used as guinea pig, but leave it too late, and your investment will turn into a liability as cheaper and more mature solutions come onto the market.