Rip and replace: When it pays to make a total systems change

A full system replacement can be costly and difficult. But for one Vermont insurance company, ditching stodgy technology opened new business opportunities.

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It's a phrase almost guaranteed to send chills down the spine of an IT leader: "Rip and replace."

Just like it sounds, this do-or-die strategy is the ultimate admission that an organization's computer systems have become too restrictive and inflexible -- no longer meeting business needs, satisfying employees and customers, or enabling innovation.

It isn't a strategy to be undertaken lightly, and the task involves painful soul searching about what to do with complex legacy systems and clunky enterprise applications. And it isn't an exercise for the faint of heart. These efforts are always extremely disruptive to the business and can be awfully expensive, and many efforts fail despite all the best intentions and investments made.

So why then would any organization want to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start its core technology infrastructure all over again? Simply put: Necessity.

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