“Tackling the unsurmountable opportunity.” Connecting legacy and modern systems with Daemon’s Head of Engineering Practice

Much of our work at Daemon is connecting, integrating or building new systems with legacy tech. Our Head of Engineering Practice, Henry Ayres, deals with the challenges of a rapidly changing technology landscape and loves complex problems:

  • Lack of documentation
  • Complex interdependencies and data flow
  • No internal experts, knowledge gaps

Whether it’s a 20-year-old payment platform or a tricky retail picking software, we wanted to discover exactly how Henry and his team build bridges between systems.

Modern software systems are a necessity for your business, but integrating this software with your existing stack can be intricate work. Your legacy systems could be built using outdated technology. Connecting the old and the new is often complicated. 

Our Engineering practice specialises in exactly this, with practice head Henry having over 25 years of industry experience. He discusses the unique challenges of connecting modern and legacy systems and how Daemon loves tackling the ‘insurmountable opportunity'.

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How we solve complex integration challenges

Our software engineering teams at Daemon have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Integration of legacy and modern systems is our bread and butter, and the team takes great pride in helping you solve issues that may seem impossible to others. 

When working to solve a complex integration problem, we take a methodical, investigative approach:

  • We look at your system architecture to understand the exact problem
  • We  have a discovery workshop with you to understand where the pieces aren’t fitting together
  • We’ll create a detailed business process map so you can see the process from start to finish 
  • We’ll provide you with a proof of concept
  • We’ll collaborate with your team to build custom solutions to solve your integration problems

“Solving complex integration problems for our clients requires forensic computing. We have to fully understand the complexity of the problem, the data, and all the changes required to make the system work as it should. It is incredibly complex, but our engineering teams thrive off the challenge of fixing impossible problems.”

As one of our North Star Ambitions, we aim to be client-centric in all that we do. When working on any project, taking the time to understand our clients so we can tailor our solutions is key to our success.

Struggling with a tricky integration? Talk to us


Common legacy challenges

One of the most common challenges we hear is from clients who believe connecting their legacy and modern system is nearly impossible.

  • A recent Gartner survey revealed that 80% of organisations struggle with legacy system integration. 
  • Another study showed that around 60% of businesses use outdated legacy systems for key business operations. 

Perhaps you started a project but quickly hit roadblocks. Why is this particular field such a problem? There are several common pitfalls we often see which might apply to your organisation:

1. Lack of documentation and knowledge gaps

One of the most common challenges of integrating legacy systems is limited documentation. This can be due to the original developer moving on, leaving limited records or a team knowledge gap. Newer teams may be less well trained in legacy technology. 

When we’ve faced these challenges, our engineers have used different tactics to reach a solution. In a recent project, we started documenting all the endpoints and interviewed various people across the tech estate. We used this information to build a development environment with the legacy software at the centre.  We then asked the software API to respond and provide information and completed a proof of concept for the client. From here, we were able to build a completely bespoke system to cater to the client’s needs.

“The engineering team at Daemon are a group of inquisitive, high-performers. They relish the opportunity to delve deep into a legacy system and map a solution for the client.”

2. Layers of complexity

We often find that once we start working on a monolithic system, there are many touchpoints. If a system has been in place for 15 years, different teams may have made many tactical fixes during that time, which can be a serious challenge. 

What we thought was a single interface on the surface can be multi-layered. The data may be taken from the legacy product and put into a system built in the last 5 years. It could be transformed in the newer system and then output elsewhere. 

“There are often layers and layers of different types of software once you start to peel them back. Our expert teams understand these complex and many touchpoints. This is vital to successful integration.” 

Case study: UK retail: 

If we take the retail example, there are often vast touchpoints across retailers' legacy systems, making any new integration in this sector challenging. Retail stacks often include data, order management, directions, vehicle tracking, and payments, and many touchpoints and data go into each of these systems. 

We have a large team currently working on one such large-scale project. Our team is managing most of the architecture and the in-depth engineering. We are also proud to collaborate with the client’s teams.

“We particularly enjoy the human part of these integration projects.  Working with our client's team often helps make the project successful.”

3. AI and outdated systems 

We've witnessed AI and ML evolve at breakneck speed in recent years. More businesses are leveraging this to their advantage. AI can help streamline and automate your business processes, increasing productivity and efficiency. Recent research from IBM revealed that 42% of businesses have already adopted some form of AI. 

For AI technology to be effective, we must integrate it with your legacy data. Outdated architecture and programming languages of legacy systems can cause significant integration issues. 22% of companies said integration complexity is their biggest barrier to AI adoption.

“Our clients are integrating AI into their legacy systems for chatbots and other automated processes. The AI needs to be integrated into the business's existing data otherwise it is worthless. This is a complex, multi-faceted process. That’s where our team of AI and data experts come in.”

4. Cloud integration

‘Legacy’ used to refer to systems 15+ years old. Now, legacy systems could be 5 years old. Older systems used the best tech available at the time but perhaps weren't developed further. For security reasons, the systems are usually in maintenance mode. 

Cloud architecture can be a particularly complex challenge for larger companies. Layers of code base, owned by different companies across varied platforms and in different stages of development, often result in a disparate tech stack. For example, very old Java code supports a huge Oracle database. 

We’ve created a rock-solid cloud strategy to overcome these obstacles. Our engineers will build a secure, bespoke internal development environment to maximise productivity. This rapidly speeds up the integration process whilst protecting your data. 

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Working with Daemon

We can help you take stock, take ownership, and take charge of your processes. If you’re worried about touchpoints and interfaces or the loss of documentation and knowledge, we’re experienced enough to help tackle even the gnarliest of challenges.

Our experienced Principal Consultants will document your journey and map out the solution to your integration problem.

Integrating modern software into your legacy system needn’t be stressful. 

Give us a shout today to book a 90-minute call.

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