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Investment banking technology: Jettisoning legacy architectures

Banks may find it valuable to establish a different operating model for legacy applications.


Innovation headroom
Given the competitive advantages of IT, banks’ investment in technology has always been strong. IT has also played a central role in less fortunate times. Since the global financial crisis, compliance with regulatory reforms has depended on introducing new trade and risk reporting systems.

Banks have been poorly positioned to respond to regulatory changes. Organizations have been forced to build new reporting systems on top of legacy architecture, compounding IT complexity and cost. Now, by combining new advances in cloud technology with emerging best practices in legacy decommissioning, banks could shrink their costs and create space for digital innovation.

Key Findings

Simplifying IT infrastructure

Results from a recent Accenture study suggest that banks feel “somewhat equipped” at best to address next-generation digital technologies. We found:

Legacy IT systems are proving to be harder to switch off than switch on: IT accumulation has increased cost and complexity to affect cost-income ratios, inhibiting banks’ ability to respond quickly to new digital opportunities. Legacy architecture increases the cost and time to market for new technology applications, with testing having to stretch over a complex network of application interdependencies. These factors inflate the risk posed by digital disruption and new market entrants.

Legacy applications can be virtualized on an industrial scale using a low-cost agile infrastructure: Using automated tools and industrialized migration factories, systems and data can be migrated into portable “containers” that can be securely and fluidly deployed across a hybrid cloud. This solution radically simplifies IT infrastructure operations, potentially in partnership with lower-cost service providers.

Having a more modern and agile technology platform will further improve the bank’s ability to launch new products and services and lay the foundation for the next phase of its digital strategy.
Chief Operating Officer, Deutsche Bank

Top 10 CM Legacy


Strategic and lean investments
Jettisoning legacy systems requires:

  • A cohesive and well-coordinated program of activities and a culture that values strategic investment and embraces lean principles.

  • IT leadership that communicates a clear technology vision, interacts well with the business and establishes good global governance.

  • A broad coalition of executive support.

  • A “factory” model to help organizations centralize services in a cost-effective and controlled way

A “run-to-kill” operating model for legacy applications can help banks become resilient, while emphasizing cost-effectiveness and constraining system changes. These operations can be outsourced to lower-cost application maintenance and support vendors, freeing up staff for work on greenfield replacements.

Forecasted capital markets spending on cloud services



James Burrows

James Burrows
Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Technology Strategy

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