The Mission to Decommission

Written by Ronald Baan

Ronald is a data enthusiast who spends his time sharing his passion in data with others.

8 October 2022

For data and IT decommissioning is so important and so often too little attention is paid to it.

We ‘don’t dare’ turn off old systems, because you never know if we still need something, if something doesn’t suddenly break or there is still 1 system using this.

When you consider the cost of keeping old systems up and running, you know that this has to be a priority for the business, the CIO and the CDO.
Not only does it cost money and availability of people and systems, it also severely limits the agility and flexibility of IT systems, infrastructure and data.

In a forest, there are the scavengers, the bacteria and fungi that clean up old, deceased vegetation and animals and ensure the release of resources to enable new life. Jan Rotmans, in “embrace chaos”, names the roles needed in change so beautifully:

  • leaders
  • connectors
  • builders
  • demolishers
  • tippers
  • followers
  • Demolishers are crucial to moving forward!

Also remember that phasing out is actually free money. If you do it right, you lose nothing and free up money and people to work on the future.

Choose the approach to successful phasing out that best suits the organisation. Experience shows that it goes faster with a team that solves problems quickly and competently, than with a team that maps out everything in advance and drafts mitigation measures before starting. Find the right balance between those 2 and ‘just do it’!

I was reminded yesterday of the importance of phasing out by a good podcast from The Data Chief featuring Pascale Hutz, CDO of American Express.
Phasing out is (also) chefsache! So that we don’t carry ever-growing shiploads of garbadge on our journey.

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