Computerworld has a story about how to approach what they call "legacy" systems, systems that have been in place and functioning for a long time with no change -- nor investment -- within IT organizations. One of the four case studies is Massachusetts US-based manufacturer Flexcon.

"We had not done any upgrades in quite a while, and we patched [only] to fix specific problems. There were a lot of upgrades we had not done," Benjamin explains. "We needed to get things up to date." ...

Because it had missed upgrades several upgrades, Flexcon undertook the fixes in steps, first going from Lotus Notes 4.6 to Notes 6.5. Then in 2009, the company upgraded IBM Lotus Notes and its Domino server from Version 6.5 to Version 7. The goal was to finish the upgrade before vendor support for the 6.5 release was cut off in 2010. Finally, in early 2010 Flexcon upgraded its Domino 7 server environment to Notes 8.5. Notes client upgrades were completed last year, and the company is now up to date on all of its Notes releases.

Benjamin says he used a variety of tactics to make the upgrade process a smooth one. He tested extensively and used Twitter to get advice from experts. He says he had paid for IBM support but rarely used it with the older version, but he made frequent support calls during the upgrade from Lotus Notes 6.5/7 to Notes 8. ...

"After this, I made the decision to always upgrade the servers within weeks of any release so as to always be current," says Benjamin. "The main benefits are supporting the latest devices, providing strong security, consistent user experiences and continual increases in performance."
I've seen this a lot over the last year -- companies that had settled on earlier, no-longer-supported versions of Notes, are at least upgrading back-ends and deploying Traveler for users. But since Traveler is part of the client license, buying upgrades or subscription or reinstatement for that new mobile device support also provides the right to upgrade the desktop or the iNotes experience. At Flexcon, it looks like they got all the bang for that buck, not just halfway.

Link: Computerworld: Replacing legacy applications: Four problems solved > (Thanks, Tim)

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