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16 December 2021 Blog

Phase out or develop further? Are your IT-systems built for the future?

According to a report done by Digital Förvaltning, the public sector lacks in its ability to control existing digital infrastructure. This means that we cannot benefit from digitization, and that it creates unnecessarily high costs. The report calls for a new strategy for managing the digital heritage. Recently a new method to strengthening control has been introduced.

The digital heritage 

The digital heritage refers to our usage of systems based on previously made decisions, which have created a structure that either hinder or enable efficient digitization. Today there are still many existing investments around, that only cost money and resources – which delays future developments. 

Measure to know 

The authors point out that we should perform continuous measurements and evaluations on the quality of the existing flora of systems, so that we always are able to keep the digital infrastructure updated and relevant. Life cycle management of systems is nothing new, but neither is it an easy nut to crack, especially not in a public organization with several organizational parts.  

If a map could be drawn, with a good basis for decision-making, a whole lot would be gained. If we knew when and why a system should be phased out or further developed, we would reduce our costs for old systems. At the same time, we facilitate for innovation and can take true advantage of data and investments made in more modern systems. 

Increasing expectations on suppliers 

Measuring system quality also set higher expectations on us as suppliers. Of course, some of our systems will be phased out through the life cycle management at one point. We are already reinvesting a significant part in our existing products for innovation and new development both – something that is largely governed by our customer’s needs. If the public sector could improve their life cycle management, it would be good for us citizens. We avoid deficient and slow digital heritages and thereby could increase confidence in the possibilities of digitalization. 

Maybe that will lead to us suppliers having to pick up the pace of development? In that case, we would become even more happy, as we here at Formpipe are the most thrilled when we get to develop new products and applications. 

Phasing out systems 

To nurture the digital infrastructure, we need to continuously retire old systems. This creates questions. How should you secure the information that is stored in the obsolete systems? What needs to be saved, what needs to be sorted and thinned out? How do we access important information in the future? In order to be able to utilize the information, the processes need to be shifted toward modern solutions with new technical possibilities. 

An example from one of our customers where we have been able to help with this problem: When switching to a modern case management system a Swedish authority needed to phase out the old system that required extensive hardware capacity. Long-Term Archive, our product for digital preservation of information was selected and the migration was done after three months. The results were reduced licensing- and maintenance costs of SEK 900 000 per year.  

Neither did the customer need to expand the data center’s premises as well as easy access to the large amount of migrated data.  

These were savings for a single system, where at the same time it was ensured that information that needed to be preserved would last over time and was reliable and searchable. Closing this system, have also allowed for new opportunities to look ahead regarding digital innovation with modern solutions. 

In depth reading 

E-arkiv: Hur man kravställer ett modernt e-arkiv (Swedish) 
A scientific article about digital infrastructure in municipalities: Transforming Government: Practice, People and Policy. 

Intrested in knowing what ways you can be both more cost-efficient and more productive? Have a look at our many solutions here!