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Modernising legacy IT systems in a government agency can be challenging. Sometimes it becomes more challenging than initially expected. When our case management experts get asked about their experience with modernising legacy IT systems in the public sector, they admit that sometimes things are more complicated compared to projects in the private sector. In this blog post, we’ll discuss three major pain points in modernising government legacy IT systems. For that, we asked our experts to share their successful strategies in tackling the most common challenges they meet in public sector IT modernisation projects.

Related: How to write a good request for proposal for government case management system?

Modernising legacy case management systems with heavy technical debt

Over time, legacy systems can become complex, with many patches and workarounds added to maintain functionality. This can make upgrading or replacing the systems difficult and disrupt existing processes. Therefore technical debt is one of the most common pain points for government agencies seeking to update their IT legacy systems. Part of the reasons for that are:

  • The legacy case management system is often based on outdated technologies that are no longer supported or need to meet current security and compliance standards.
  • Legacy systems may have been built over many years, with numerous patches and workarounds added to maintain functionality.
  • It’s common for legacy systems to have integrations with other systems that are difficult to replace or that need to be updated as part of the modernisation project.
  • Modernising legacy systems can be expensive, requiring significant technological, staff, and resource investments. CIOs must consider the long-term cost of maintaining the systems over time.
  • Risk of failure: legacy systems may have vulnerabilities or weaknesses discovered over time, and CIOs must assess the risk of failure as part of the modernisation project.

As part of their strategy, CIOs must consider the complexity, cost, and risk of failure associated with technical debt when planning a modernisation project.

Related: Everything you should know about buying a public sector case management software off-the-shelf

Data migration when updating the existing case management platform

Migrating large amounts of data from legacy systems to new case management platforms can be a time-consuming and complex process, requiring specialised expertise and careful planning. It is a critical aspect of modernising a legacy system. Here are some key considerations for data migration that our experts shared:

  • Data quality: data migration can reveal issues with data quality, such as duplicates, missing values, and inconsistent formats. CIOs must ensure that the data is cleaned and standardised before migration to ensure the new system is accurate and usable.
  • Data mapping: Data mapping is the process of mapping data from the legacy system to the new platform, and it is critical to ensuring that the data is transferred accurately. CIOs must work with stakeholders to understand the data structure and relationships and to define the mapping rules.
  • Data security: Data migration can be sensitive, especially in a regulatory agency. CIOs must ensure that data is protected and that security measures are in place to prevent unauthorised access or theft.
  • Data archiving: Legacy systems may contain historical data that is no longer needed for daily operations, but that must be retained for compliance purposes. CIOs must consider data archiving options to ensure that the data is preserved and accessible.
  • Data testing: Data migration is a complex process. CIOs must conduct thorough testing to ensure that the data is transferred accurately and that the new system is functioning as expected.

CIOs must carefully plan and execute the migration to ensure that data is protected, accurate, and accessible. Internal teams can ensure a successful data migration and a modern, efficient case management system by working with stakeholders and following best practices.

Resistance to change

Resistance to change can be a common challenge when modernising a legacy IT system for inspection management processes, as staff may be familiar with the existing system and may be wary of new technology. Here are some strategies that our experts recommend to CIOs to tackle resistance to change:

  • Communication: Clear and effective communication is key to managing resistance to change. CIOs should involve staff early in the modernisation process and keep them informed about the benefits and goals of the project. This can help to build trust and reduce anxiety about change.
  • Providing training on the new system can help staff feel confident and prepared for the transition. CIOs should consider offering training sessions and resources that allow staff to learn at their own pace.
  • Engaging staff in the modernisation process can help build buy-in and reduce resistance. CIOs should solicit feedback and ideas from staff and involve them in testing and validation activities.

A modular and phased approach to modernisation can help manage resistance by allowing staff to adjust gradually to change. CIOs should break the modernisation project into smaller, manageable components and implement them incrementally.


Case study: Why the phased approach of adopting an inspection management software is a good tactic?

Read it to understand:

    • The advantages of modular digital transformation
    • The vital architectural practices and technologies that enable modular transformation
    • How a regulatory agency in the UK is benefitting from a modular approach with Canalix.

Emphasising the benefits of the new system can help reduce resistance. CIOs should highlight the benefits for staff, such as increased efficiency, improved functionality, and a better user experience.

In conclusion, managing resistance to change is an important aspect of modernising a legacy IT system and government case management software. CIOs should take a proactive approach to communication, training, and engagement to build buy-in and ensure a smooth transition. By involving staff and emphasising the new system’s benefits, CIOs can overcome resistance and deliver a successful modernisation project.

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