Linking the old and the new

There are several approaches organizations can take to integrate older computer systems

with newer, Web-based systems.

Three approaches being deployed today are:

Enterprise resource planning: ERP software attempts to integrate all departments and functions — finance, human resources and manufacturing — across an enterprise into a single computer system that can serve each department's needs. By running on a single database, an ERP system allows users from different departments to share information and communicate. As possibly the most comprehensive solution for integrating legacy and modern systems, ERP is also usually the most expensive by a large margin. There is no one-size-fits-all ERP solution, and according to industry insiders, no ERP solution addresses all of an organization's problems.

Broker solutions: They may be considerably less expensive than ERP implementations, but broker solutions can still run into the millions of dollars per year without giving organizations all the functionality needed to operate efficiently. Broker solutions rely on bringing in different partners to solve different aspects of the integration problem. They are less expensive than an ERP fix, but they often lack the comprehensive coverage an ERP solution can provide.

Composite approach: A composite approach will allow an organization to keep running all of its legacy systems along with its Web- and Windows-based applications. Composite applications tie together existing systems on a somewhat superficial level, allowing users to work from a single computer screen that links to many applications without deeply integrating the programs. It is seen as a considerably less expensive alternative to ERP implementations or broker solutions.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group