10th August 2023

Extracting Critical Data From Your Legacy System

Extracting Critical Data From Your Legacy System

Whether you want to migrate data from your current legacy system into a modern one, or you are simply looking to take advantage of the data your business has built up over the years, extracting data from your time-honoured applications is not an easy process. The data can sometimes be stored in an outdated format, or you must jump through hoops to find it in the system.

In short, legacy systems are stopping you from utilising and extracting real value from your critical business data. However, there are ways to get your hands on this critical business data and utilise it for the benefit of your business.


Why Is It Hard to Extract Data From a Legacy System?


You may struggle to (or currently be unable to) extract data from your legacy system for any number of reasons. Perhaps you have to submit a formal data request with your IT department, which could take weeks to come through, or it’s stored across different systems which you have to access separately.

When working with client systems, we’ve faced challenges related to unorganised or poorly structured IT systems, having to retrieve data from different systems or access points, and even the validity of the data itself.

Typically, a legacy system was originally built to perform a certain function. In general, they perform these roles in isolation and they require specialist integrations to be able to share data with other systems.


Optimising Legacy System Data Is 'Business Critical'


Businesses from more and more industries are becoming data-driven; using insights and analytics to make decisions, rather than their gut feelings or intuition. A lot of information would have passed through your legacy IT system during its inception, and it may even hold the key to your future growth.

The task of breaking down and merging data silos may seem time-consuming, complicated and costly, but the long-term impacts of disparate legacy systems could vastly overshadow the money and time you might have saved in the short-term.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should invest in optimising your legacy data…


Data Accessibility and Usability

Due to its age, the data in your legacy system might be stored in a format that can’t be read or used by modern tools or applications. Through data optimisation, you can make this information more user-friendly, so all your employees can access the data they need in real-time and make informed decisions.


Increase Output While Reducing Input

Accessing data stored in legacy systems takes up large chunks of time for your teams. The problem worsens when the quality of the data itself doesn’t help them to deliver the results they were expecting. We’ve worked organisations to improve the effectiveness of the data and make it easier and quicker for staff to access the information they need.


Security and Compliance

If your system hasn’t been updated for some time, it might not comply with today’s data security and privacy standards. Through this process, we can implement stronger security measures and keep your system up to date with the latest data protection regulations.


Business Intelligence and Analytics

As mentioned before, your legacy system could hold historical data and insights that could be vital for making future business decisions. We can extract all the necessary data and enable accurate reporting, to help your business spot trends, patterns and opportunities for future growth.


Integration and Innovation

Modernising your legacy system can make it easier to integrate newer technologies. This can lead to the further development of your legacy system to cater to improve efficiency and customer experience.


Future-Proof Your Business

As your business grows, you will generate even more data. If your legacy system isn’t yet showing signs of struggling with increased data volumes, there’s a good chance it will start to. We can make your legacy system more scalable to accommodate for future growth without major disruptions.


Competitive Advantage

With an improved data structure in place in your organisation, and the ability to take a data-driven approach, you can seriously use this to your advantage and gain a major competitive edge over your competitors and improve your relationships with your customers.


Tips for Extracting Your Data


As you can see, the benefits of optimising your legacy data for easy extracting of data will prove valuable to your business. It is a complex job that requires specialist knowledge and meticulous planning to ensure there is no data loss or major disruptions to your business.


  1. Perform Legacy System Audit

Before you begin extracting any data, you must gain a deep understanding of your legacy system to find out about how data is stored, databases and its overall architecture. This step will help you develop a thorough strategy that reduces the risk of critical errors during the extraction stage.


  1. Data Mapping and Transformation

As mentioned before, your legacy data may not be in a format that can be read by modern systems. Create a data mapping and transformation plan that outlines how you’ll convert and restructure the data so it can be understood by current tools and formats. This might involve converting or standardising the data during the extraction.


  1. Choose the Most Effective Extraction Tools

There are a variety of tools and techniques you can use for data extraction. The method you go down will depend on your legacy system’s characteristics and your business requirements. These tools could range from custom scripts to Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) software.


  1. Prioritise Data Segmentation

Not all your legacy data needs to be extracted at once. Maybe you’re only looking to analyse a particular area of the business, or you just want finance-related data. Prioritise the data based on your objectives and their relevance, then you can look into segmenting the data extraction into phases or categories to not only manage the process more effectively but to also mitigate risks.


Experienced Legacy Developers


PSP IT Design and Development

As you can see, the processes of data extraction from a legacy system can be intricate and involve specialist knowledge to overcome a series of technical challenges. It’s vital that you have a well-defined plan and you involve experts with experience in data extraction and a good understanding of legacy systems to ensure the success of the project and the integrity of your extracted data.

Contact PSP and we can show you how to unlock your legacy system’s true potential.

Email letstalk@psp-it.co.uk or phone 01775 722 377

Find out more about our legacy system support and legacy system modernisation services.

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