Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Moving Off Of Legacy IT Systems

As the person with the CIO job, we like to spend our time looking forward and thinking about the importance of information technology. Trying to detect IT trends and then positioning our IT department to be where it needs to be in order to take advantage of changes when they occur. What we generally don’t do enough of is look at our IT shop and discover what is old and needs to be removed. Moving off of legacy IT systems is hard work, but it is part of the job of the person who is in the CIO position.Problems Moving Off Of Legacy SystemsI’m hoping that we all realize that every IT system that our department installs has a “shelf life”. What this means is that it’s not going to last forever. IT systems are created using tools that are easily available today, but may go away tomorrow. They run on systems with operating systems that will continue to be updated until they are discontinued. It may not be possible to move an existing old system to a new operating system because of the way that it has been designed. Finally, the people who created the old system may no longer be with your company and support for any changes would be very expensive.What this means is that when we decide to move off of an old system, there are a lot of decisions that we have to make as CIO. One of the more trendy decisions is if we want to host the replacement application in “the cloud”. If we decide that this is the way that we want to go, then we’re may to have to deal with the challenge of integrating multiple systems from different vendors in order to replace the single old system.Simply put, replacing a legacy system is not an easy task. It’s going to be up to your project management team to take a long hard look at the legacy system, the people in the company who are using it, and what they use it for. One area that can be especially sticky is more often than not, these legacy systems will have woven their way into how the company does it management reporting. What this means for the replacement project is that you’re going to end up recreating a great deal of custom reporting. Surprises like this can easily result in significant project delays.Why The Effort To Move Off Of Legacy Systems Is Worth ItGiven all of the challenges that are associated with trying to move off of a legacy system, it makes sense that a CIO just might say that it’s not worth it. This kind of project can be put off until the next CIO comes along. However, that never works – something will happen, such as support for an old operating system being discontinued, and suddenly the CIO will be forced to take action. It’s always better to have a plan and be executing it instead of being forced to take action.One of the most important things that the CIO must be aware of is that your company is not asking you to replace a legacy system. In fact, they may actively not want you to do this. They have grown accustomed to the system (or systems) that they are currently using and what you are proposing represents change and nobody likes change. As you swap out the legacy system for the new replacement, there is a good chance that at time processes and functions that people use every day may break. This is not going to make anyone happier about your IT project.However, as CIO you know that moving off of legacy systems is something that the company needs to continuously be doing. One thing that you’ll need to keep in mind is that this replacement program has a return on investment associated with it. In order to maximize that return, you are going to have to get rid of the legacy system as quickly as possible. The one thing that I’ve heard from CIOs who have been involved in projects like this is that their biggest regret is moving too slow.What All Of This Means For YouForward looking CIOs need to take the time to look backwards. They are in charge of a large number of legacy systems and these systems need to be replaced in order to keep up with the times. How that replacement is done will have a big impact on the company.Moving off of legacy systems can be a big challenge. CIOs have to decide if the replacement system will live in the cloud and if so, how they are going to interface to the multiple systems from multiple vendors that they will probably use to replace the single legacy system. Additionally, a great deal of custom reporting may have been created and this will all have to be replaced. When a legacy system is being replaced, the rest of the company may not support the IT department – they like their legacy system. However, you need to do it quickly so that you can maximize your return on investment.Replacement of legacy systems is a key part of the CIO job. You need to be tracking the age of all of your systems and taking action when it is needed. Becoming good at replacing legacy systems will ensure that your company never gets caught with old or outdated IT systems. However, keep in mind that this task is never done!

Investing and Educating Yourself

Some people say they have no money or too little income and, thus, can’t afford to invest any of it. Let’s get something very clear right from the start of this article: you can’t afford not to invest. If you don’t start putting aside a good portion (at least 10%) of your earnings into investments – if you don’t start building a portfolio for yourself – you’ll find yourself in a very precarious financial position as you approach your declining years. When you’re facing the day you can no longer work as much or you’d just like to retire, and you realize you can’t afford to retire comfortably, you’ll wish you’d thought ahead a bit better and planned for such a day by investing when you were younger.Educate Yourself – That said, it helps to know something about investing, even if you have an automatic retirement account, a financial planner, or savvy assistance from friends. To inform yourself, talk to some successful investors, read books and articles, and watch some videos. Try starting with Eric Tyson’s Investing. Of course, there’s an enormous amount of help online. Try Charles Schwab, Merrill-Lynch, CNN Money, Ameritrade, or Etrade. They all have terrific websites with a wealth of information. You could also take a class at the local college or go to a live financial planning seminar. There’s also a good non-profit organization called the American Association of Individual Investors which offers educational materials and holds seminars on various topics.Formulate an Investment Strategy – Just as with anything else, a plan will increase your chances of success. Take stock of your assets, income, short-term goals, and long-term financial destination. As I said earlier, you should invest a minimum of 10% of your income – a lot more if you’re able. So think about it: how much money do you have and how much can you put aside? What do you want your investment portfolio to do for you? Help you retire at 55, 60, 65? Or provide you with additional income as soon as possible? Exactly what do you want to accomplish with your money? After you come up with answer to those questions, you’ll be better able to select the right investments and the right combination of assets to meet your financial goals.Questions to Ask Yourself:
How much money can you invest right now?
Do you have any outstanding debts?
Are you planning on purchasing any large ticket items?
What’s the total amount of your monthly bills?
Do you have a retirement or registered pension plan?
Will you be inheriting any money?
How much instant cash do you want to have at your disposal for emergencies?
Whether you have a financial adviser or not, you need to be clear about those issues before formalizing your investment plan.Investment Basics: All investments have three basic ingredients: Expected Return, Risk and Marketability.Expected Return is the amount of interest, dividends or capital gains that you expect to earn from your investment. The higher the expected return, the greater the risk.Risk is the chance you take that you could lose some or all of your investment, or that you could earn less return than you expected. Lower risk investments include government treasury bills and savings bonds. Higher risk investments are stocks and futures. Mutual funds vary widely in risk. Your tolerance for risk depends on your overall financial position, how much time you have to endure periodic fluctuations in your investments’ value, and how well you deal with the likely anxiety and stress you’ll feel if your portfolio takes a turn for the worse.Marketability or liquidity refers to how quickly your investment can be converted to cash. Term deposits are not liquid, since you usually can’t withdraw your money before the end of the term. Mutual funds, however, are very liquid because you can quickly sell them on short notice for little cost.Stocks – Buying shares or stocks in companies traded on the NYSE or NASDAQ have historically outperformed all other investments over the long term. You can make a killing and become wealthy by trading on the stock market. However, stocks can also bankrupt you if you don’t know what you’re doing, or even if you do. Playing the stock market is not for the feint of heart. The risk is great, but so is the return if you play it smart. The greatest factor in determining stock prices is the company’s earnings. Be prepared to watch your stock go up and down, fluctuating over hurricanes, gas prices, wars, and even presidential elections. It’s the long-term growth of the company that matters. Here’s an encouraging fact: since World War II, an estimated 90% of the stock market’s gain has come from profit growth. As profits accumulate, prices rise, regardless of what’s happened on any given day, month, or year.U.S. Treasury Bonds – Do you want a sure thing? These are as close as you’re going to get because almost everyone agrees that the U.S. government is unlikely ever to default on its bonds. The government can always print more money to pay them off if necessary. As a result, the Treasury’s interest rate is considered a risk-free rate.Mutual Funds – A fund is basically a corporation that collects and invests money. You join a pool by buying shares in the fund. Pooling your money together with other investors gives you more power to invest. Also, your money enjoys the advantage of being invested by a team of professional money managers who research bonds, stocks, and assets, placing the pool of money as smartly as possible. Investing your funds in several different places reduces your risk of being hurt by any single bad investment. The fund managers charge an annual fee from.5- 2.5% of assets, plus expenses. For that fee, you buy into the collective wisdom of a team of professional money people, along with attaining instant diversification.Diversify Whatever you decide – to do it yourself, hire a professional, or go with mutual funds – you need to diversify – to place your money in several different investments. That will lessen your risk of being wiped out if things go badly for you.It All Adds Up – Don’t postpone investing because you feel you haven’t enough money to make it worth your while. Here’s what investing only $100 a month adds up to in time at 8% interest:- $12,000 invested over 10 years equals $18,294.- $24,000 invested over 20 years equals $58,902.- $36,000 invested over 30 years equals $149,035.Wow. Now think what kind of money you can make if you double or triple your investment and if the interest rate is greater, such as with the return on savvy stock buys or mutual fund allocations. Do your homework, take the risk, and get in the game!

The Difference Between Secured Loans and Unsecured Loans And How This Will Benefit You

Many people do not have any other choice but to get unsecured loans or payday loans. Today, the prices of commodities and basically, the cost of living in different parts of the world are getting more expensive. A lot of people are hardly able to make it through financially; perhaps it is simply because they do not have enough, or perhaps there are unexpected situations that have occurred. Either way, funding for such situations is important.One way to help alleviate these financial problems is to get a loan. But then, there are rules in getting loans that some people cannot comply to.There are currently two types of loans which are available either through your local bank or through lenders and these are secured loans and unsecured loans.Secured loansThis one is a common type of loan. The thing that makes this secured is that when you make a loan with the bank or a lender, they will hold something of your possession — usually a house or a car– as long as it is of good value. This possession of yours will be used as collateral to your loan.This means that if you will have trouble in paying back the debt, the lender will take the collateral and probably sell it to another so that the price will pay them back the amount that you owe them.There is less risk for the lender in a secure loan. They have an assurance that no matter what happens, the debt will be paid. In this type of loan, the interest rates tend to be lower as compared to other types of loans.Unsecured loansOn the other side of the spectrum is the type of loan that doesn’t need any collateral. This means that the lender will not need anything of yours before they will loan you any amount. This would be less risk for the side of the borrower, and if money is badly needed, then this could be the loan for you.On the other hand, this type of loan will give higher risk for the lender. Usually, they will only rely on your word or signature that you will pay them back in due time.Payday loans are one type of unsecured loans that anybody can avail. You can borrow any small amount from the lender and when time comes that you will have your payday, they will automatically deduct the amount equivalent to your debt plus interest from your pay.The thing about payday loans is that they usually have very high interest rates. But then again, if you know that you will be able to pay them back promptly when it is your due, then there should probably be no problem. With payday loans, you could also opt to pay only for the interest every payday.With unsecured loans, it is possible even for someone who has bad credit to make a loan. But you cannot blame the lender if they are very strict when it comes to the terms of the loan. Of course, interest rates for these types of unsecured loans would also be higher than usual.Unsecured loans could be a great help for somebody who needs money. Just make sure that you shop for the best loan that would fit your capabilities especially when it comes to payment.