In order to reach the goal of consistency across new best of breed software and legacy systems, firms need to make sure users understand and use common message standards, said Sally Hinds, global head of enterprise data management (EDM) at HSBC. Her fellow panellists agreed that a shared format for all business applications and normalisation of system output is desirable within the data management framework.
IT and systems are constantly evolving and data management teams must take this into account in their five or 10 year plans, added Christian Arsenault, assistant vice president of IT and data management at Natcan Investment Management. “Ten years in the IT world is a very long time and the needs of business users will also change over this period of time,” he explained. Hinds added that legacy systems are, by nature, persistent and have a tendency not to go away, even though you may want them to. “It is a constant process as current systems become legacy systems in a fairly short period of time,” agreed Arsenault. Although IT systems and architecture is usually due to be changed after around every five to seven years, it often stays in place for 15 to 20, he continued. “In order to account for this, you should build in some degree of flexibility to these systems to adapt to future requirements,” he concluded.