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Why legacy systems and kludgy IT are a bit like Liverpool's defence

The need for perfect execution to make systems work

I've been making football-related posts less frequently on social media, as my Liverpool Football Club have been losing matches at a rate not seen for several years.

A key factor has been the absence through injury of the star defender, Virgil Van Dijk.

Superficially, it seems unreasonable that a single missing player should make such a difference - and don't rich teams such as Liverpool have the resources to have other highly skilled players available?

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What has become apparent is that the particular way that Van Dijk played enabled the team to accept more defensive risk. With other players in the role, who are less able to manage the risk, more goals are conceded.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This is contrast to some other teams who play with a relatively simple, but well-drilled, system is key where the players curb their natural approach in order to play to the system.

This can make a poor team into an average one; but also makes a star team into an average one.

The insurance sector is known for its reliance on legacy systems and the need to join them together - whether through rekeying or through a series of export/import/upload/download activities. This is the equivalent of having a highly complex tactic which needs top quality execution to work.

When it does work, this approach is highly effective and is far cheaper than replacing the legacy systems with new, integrated ones.

When it doesn't work, it leads to embarrassing failure, such as accidentally repaying a $500m loan too early.

Isn't it time that we stopped relying on people never making mistakes, and instead designed our systems and processes to assume that errors will be created and succeed anyway?

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