The Growth of “New” Legacy: An Ongoing Threat to Transformation

By Vito Morawetz

CSPs are making the transformation from traditional Telco to “TechCo”. By adopting an operating model closer to that of a big technology organization, companies are seeking to bring new digital services to market, drive improvements in pace and agility, and apply a relentless focus on unlocking new insights from data.

However, as CSPs invest in their digital functions, they are being held back by legacy technology platforms. Legacy platforms lack agility, increase complexity, and reduce speed to market. Having to deal with this legacy places a strain on resources as the business tries to move forward.

The subject of managing transitions away from legacy technology isn’t new but the urgency with which it must be addressed is:

  • The enduring presence of legacy assets and products is a management distraction and a drain on resources, with the consequence that CSPs are not able to devote sufficient resources to achieve their digital transformation objectives;
  • The acceleration of digital change over the past few years is driving the accumulation of “new” legacy, requiring stronger focus on rapidly addressing product and asset displacement resulting from digital transformation.

In short, in a rapidly evolving environment, skilled resources can be oversubscribed, and the creation of “new” legacy is outpacing CSPs’ ability to remove it. As a result, legacy assets within most CSPs have reached a high watermark: many migration activities aimed at full products and asset platform retirement are now progressing at insufficient pace.

Developing and executing effective migration programs

At a high level, a migration is simply moving from point A to Z, however, the reality is often much more nuanced and challenging. A well-designed migration plan will establish clear roles and responsibilities, with sufficient resources to capture and analyze the current state, develop processes and migration journeys, and build a robust migration plan. Faced with the rapid build-up of legacy assets, there is a risk that CSPs “jump” into these activities with haste, which can result in failed migrations and delays.

Revisiting migration plans with the right partner onboard can accelerate digital transformation. A partner that can drive rapid and focused efforts to tackle the legacy challenges will ensure internal resources and investments can be devoted to future value streams rather than to cleaning up the past.

Cartesian is a firm of telecom specialists with a broad skills base and extensive experience of managing complex migration challenges, including migration/upgrade programs across areas such as CRM, On-Prem to Cloud, PSTN to Fiber, product transformation, system upgrades and billing transformation.

Recent examples include:

  • Legacy network decommissioning program for a Tier 1 CSP. Our client sought to save operational expense through the decommissioning of its legacy network. We undertook initial Data Gathering and Cleanse of inventory, invoicing and network data, customer and product mapping of the circuits, fallout management planning, and execution of the decommissioning. Cartesian’s work resulted in a multi-million dollar saving for the CSP.
  • Rationalizing multiple legacy billing platforms for a Tier 1 CSP. This was a major program in which Cartesian managed the migration of $4.2Bn of billing revenue onto a single system. Our team was responsible for requirements gathering, mapping and development of the new platform, as well as management of the migration and technical development of both the legacy and target systems. We successfully completed the migration to the target system without interruption of billing schedules, providing significant reduction in operational overheads, enabling simplification of product offering, and enhancing customer experience.
  • Managing the migration of an end-of-life maritime email platform. For a multi-national satellite operator, Cartesian provided data assessment, management and tracking of the migration including engagement with end customers and the execution of migrations on vessels at sea using remote access technologies. The successful completion of the migration allowed for the decommissioning of the legacy platforms reducing the operational costs and licensing and avoiding customer churn.
  • Migrating to a new standardized CRM system for a major European quad play operator. Cartesian took care of the mapping, extraction, and cleanse of the legacy platform data, ready for the load into the target system. This included in-flight rationalization of the product offering, migrating customers to standardized packages on the new system. We undertook all planning, management and development of the systems and processes required for migration with emphasis on minimization of churn and achieving ambitious commercially anchored KPIs.

We have consolidated the migration experience and expertise from these (and many more) projects in a flexible, modular migration blueprint based on:

  • Establishing solid program foundations, including a clear governance model, business case and program office;
  • Structuring and cleansing all critical data for the migration activities;
  • Working collaboratively and iteratively with our clients to design and test the required migration processes and tools, to plan migrations, and “make ready” the organization for the migration;
  • Managing the end-to-end migration execution and the decommissioning of legacy assets and resolving issues as they arise in continuous process improvement approach, under experienced and dedicated program governance.

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