Beware the Legacy
By: Robert A. Kobek, RRP, President
In my life as a consultant I learned many years ago to play a game called “follow the report”. As I would begin the assessment process I would ask stakeholders to bring in one report they use every day as a matter of course of their business. I would take that report and go backwards until I found out who actually generated the report.
The questions I would ask are how are these reports generated, who generated it, and why is it generated, and the big one, what do you do with them. At first, I was rather astounded at the answers but after time came to know the answer as a matter of course. It was here when I got here, I get it from the x department and I don’t really know why or what to do with the information.
This is the legacy trap. And, there are so many of them it is very hard to distinguish which are legacy traps and which has any real value.
Each time there is a new executive hired into a department, they bring with them the tools they used at their old job. Those tools may be more expensive, less efficient, and deliver no real value to the person that follows them. What is the real face value and just because that exec brought it in, is it the right process? Adding to that is the rarity of getting rid of the old processes.
We see it every day in our business, and perhaps you do as well. When we are talking about customer feedback to our prospects there may be something already being used, but no one can iterate the why. “It was here when I got here” is the most common with “the IT department built this a long time ago” following as a close second.
Want to get rid of the legacy junk, follow the report backward and see where it ends, if you want to increase some of your frustration level that is. But, you will, in the end, reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of your business, allowing your valuable human assets free to provide for the core functions of your business.