Fund your future by retiring applications past their prime

Learn how to quickly transform wasted budget into valuable innovation by decommissioning legacy applications.


As legacy platforms grow older, they can become more expensive to maintain due to discontinued support or incompatibilities.

The end of the year may bring fiscal hesitation for application managers. You may either have a budget surplus, or you are trying to stretch what little you have left. But what if you found millions in surplus? What new initiatives could you launch? What innovation could you finance?

Leave your legacy

The word “surplus” probably sounds more like fantasy than fact. But closing out the fiscal year on a positive note is actually quite a real scenario. How? By retiring unused, legacy applications that are running on outdated or unsupported platforms. Instead of continuing to invest in maintenance, you can start recouping your losses and use the money to fund more strategic projects.\

According to a report from Enterprise Strategy Group1, most companies retire and archive applications to legacy status when they are replacing old versions with new updates. Consolidation projects, mergers, and acquisitions are also frequent culprits, forcing companies to push redundant systems aside.

The problem, of course, is that legacy applications can quickly accumulate if you are not vigilant about fully retiring them. The expenses related to running them—everything from storage to licensing fees—persist. And as legacy platforms grow older, they can become more expensive to maintain due to discontinued support or incompatibilities.

Reality check

Many organizations are reluctant to move forward because they fear critical data will become lost, inaccessible, or non-compliant after an application is decommissioned. When you make the appropriate business case for application retirement, however, you can demonstrate to business leaders, IT personnel, and compliance teams that application retirement is a win-win scenario. A solid data archiving solution prevents data loss, and the cost savings can be enormous.\

The amount of money you can recoup depends on both the type and the number of applications you retire. For example, add up the cost of data management and storage, data center, and hardware and software maintenance. Multiply that by the number of applications you are looking to retire. You can quickly see how enormous savings would start to add up.

Here are a couple of real-world examples showing just how substantial the savings can be:

  1. A global 500 pharmaceutical company retired JD Edwards, Oracle, and SQL database applications along with all supporting hardware. According to one IT architect, they found “a big impact on cost savings” by cutting its licensing, leasing, and operational expenses. Expected savings: More than 1 million U.S. dollars annually.2
  2. A global 500 telecommunications company retired a number of applications to streamline its Oracle ERP system. Expected savings: More than 1 million U.S. dollars annually.3

An application retirement initiative can enable you to refocus newfound funds on high-impact projects. For example, when telecommunications companies regain millions of dollars, they can use the surplus to create innovative new services. Hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can invest the funds in critical research that can result in saving lives as well as simply saving money.

To start realizing the cost savings associated with application retirement, read “A practical guide to legacy application retirement.”

Related resources


  • 1Jennifer Gahm, Bill Lundell, and John McKnight, "Research Report: Application Retirement Trends," Enterprise Strategy Group, October 2011.
  • 2TechValidate, TVID: 9D9-71D-A27
  • 3TechValidate, TVID: 1D5-805-3DC


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