Legacy. It’s a challenge faced by many retailers. Especially companies that have gone through ongoing outsourcing-insourcing-outsourcing cycles.
Large, complex and often poorly understood systems, they are the lifeblood of the organisation. Huge databases of product, pricing, supply chain and HR information, they are costly, time consuming and extremely difficult to change.
In a retail environment where rapid change, rapid innovation and the ability to experiment in response to customers’ new technologies, behaviours and demands is mission critical, what can you do?
Stick or Twist?
Can you rely on your legacy systems alone? No. We’ve seen what happens to companies who’ve tried to do that. Many simply don’t exist anymore.
Time to Bite the Replatforming Bullet?
Should you bite the bullet and invest in the time, trouble and expense of replacing your legacy system? It’s another risky strategy. As well as long lead times, huge complication and vast expense, your commitment to a new system might not even give you what you want, if and when the project is ever completed.
Many organisations have chosen that path, spending tens of millions on big replatforming programs only to ultimately discover that they aren’t getting any added value.
Unlocking the Value in Your Legacy Systems
In a world where the great big, expensive idea has given way to lots of smaller great ideas, now is the time to think about evolving a best-of-both-worlds solution.
A solution that can take the valuable information straightjacketed in a your cumbersome legacy system and work with it in fresh, innovative and profitable ways. Ways that respond to the changing nature of modern retail.
There is certainly no shortage of new digital technologies that can help. Fast paced, dynamic, quick to implement, highly rewarding technologies already deployed by progressive retailers to unlock the potential of legacy systems and legacy data.
Data that they then use to establish a powerful single view of customer, product and order as real time customer insights. Insight that doesn’t simply deliver competitive advantage, but survival.
Data that of course requires some sort of interface, some sort of integration platform through which to flow from old systems to new.
The Integration Challenge
Says REPL’s Integration Partner Tim Linsell, “Integration is one of the big challenges for poorly understood systems in conditions of high uncertainty: when you want to plumb together A and B but no-one’s quite sure how a project will trip up on the integration. It tends to be a pain point across a lot of projects.”
Which is why selecting the best integration strategies and the best integration platform is such a mission critical decision.
Integration platforms such as MuleSoft.
What MuleSoft Says About MuleSoft
“The world’s leading integration platform for SOA, SaaS, and APIs. MuleSoft provides exceptional business agility to companies by connecting applications, data, and devices, both on-premises and in the cloud with an API-led approach.”
Says Tim, “It’s an API-led system that provides a really good framework for integration. A cloud-based API-led architecture, where you’re plugging into legacy systems and exposing them in a way that fast paced digital systems can consume. It can be really powerful. MuleSoft lets you build an API network, offers more reuse, and ultimately empowers rapid innovation and faster agile change within the organisation.”
Light on Their Feet
Instead of being limited by legacy, innovation and experimentation becomes possible. Small squads of developers able to take a handful of APIs and start building quickly to get projects up and running in just days or weeks.
The agile MuleSoft API infrastructure also aligns with Devops and CICD (continuous integration and continuous development).
More than just offering an API platform, on the other side of the same MuleSoft coin, is its ability to enable systems integration.
“When you’ve just got the legacy system and a new system you need to build the integration layer to plug the two together. MuleSoft lets you do that very rapidly,” says Tim.
The Benefits of Getting it Right
Says Tim, “The speed of development and building these things out is really quick. Faster than anything I’ve seen before. Ease of use, the way that the toolkit supports developers, different modules that you can plug in. The other thing it does very well is reuse and you can build a catalogue. When you create an API other teams have access to it and can build on and extend it.”
The Cost of Getting It Wrong
According to Mulseoft, connecting systems “has been the largest unsolved problem in IT. Companies spend $400B/year connecting systems.” With much of that spend going to waste through poor planning, weak implementation and non domain specific input we’ve created a dedicated Integration Practice with the sole purpose of helping our retail clients get the very best value for money from their integration projects.
The Importance of Domain Expertise
As well as integration development and end-to-end delivery of systems integration we also provide integration ‘health checks’ and integration ‘deep dives’. Both offer help, advice, and direction and both study the pain points and challenges. If you have a particular projects we will look at your approach, team structure, team members and stakeholders.
The ‘deep dive’ looks closely at budgets and plans, it offers coaching with team members, workshops and seeks to improve key areas of working, wrapping that into outputs and summary recommendations.
With innovation the only viable way forward as a retailer, it makes sense to deal with a retail technology expert skilled in using the best products and methodologies to get the best results.
It’s why retailers choose us for their integration. And it’s why we choose MuleSoft.