Do you still have an old, out-of-date ‘legacy’ HR system within your solution environment? It may come as no surprise that many organizations hang onto those old HR applications for an extended period to time, long after they have served their original purpose within the organization.
Many companies continue to access those legacy systems for a variety of reasons - to retrieve historical data on retirees, verify information on terminated employees for litigation purposes, or to access historical data on current employees - data which they didn’t choose to convert when implementing their new system to save implementation costs. Sound familiar? These continuing dependencies on legacy systems are not uncommon.
Depending upon your organization’s requirements, it may be important for you to retain the historical data from within the legacy system for an extended period of time, following the successful parallel testing and go-live point within your new solution project. The ability to reference and retrieve HR records within the legacy system may be useful to support compliance or historical analytics, comprehensive reporting requirements, or to serve as a backup for audit or litigation purposes if so required for some period of time. But, when and under what motivation do you pull the plug on that legacy system?
Among the items to consider before retiring your legacy HR system, include the following eight things:
- Review legal or regulatory rules which may mandate the archiving of your HR data from a federal, provincial (Canada) and state (U.S.) perspective, as it pertains to your organizational structure.
- Determine whether the legacy system is still being supported by the vendor within a support services agreement. Has the formal support agreement expired, or does the original software vendor still provide any support at all?
- Evaluate the risks of system vulnerability, data corruption or data loss if the legacy system were to be kept for an extended period of time.
- Consider staff turnover and knowledge transfer relative to storage of historical data and the ongoing maintenance of the legacy system within your environment.
- Convert the historical data to a more-accessible format outside of the legacy database for archiving and reporting purposes. This may include converting any useful and relevant data into your live HR solution.
- Review of all of those disparate Excel spreadsheets, databases and other silos of HR data that you may have tucked away to determine the value of preserving those records for reporting, audit or compliance purposes. These are all forms of legacy systems.
- Consider the use of a data archiving service to allow historical HR data to be accessible by secured users. This may include using a service which provides, for example, virtual page displays to replicate the original HR application, or provides the presentation of the data within a simple format for any users who may be unfamiliar with the legacy application.
- Analyze the cost-saving benefits that may be realized if the legacy system were to be ‘switched off’, to allow the existing hardware to be re-purposed or retired, with further potential cost savings through reduced hardware maintenance and I.T. support.
So before you pull the plug on your legacy system and take it off life support, take the time to carefully plan and build a strategy around this decision with these considerations in mind.
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