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Abstract

This editorial is an introduction to a focus issue on legacy information systems research that has been conducted under the aegis of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) research programme into systems engineering and business process change. An overview of the legacy information systems problem is presented in terms of its scale, definition, and relevance to practicing managers and academics. It is shown that legacy systems represent a critical area of study in both software engineering and strategic information systems. The legacy system issues include the software methods and costs of maintaining and evolving existing systems, the technical problems of migrating complex legacy systems to new technology, and the difficulties of designing and implementing novel business processes in the context of existing structures, strategies and systems. In addition to the problems associated with legacy systems, the strategic opportunities of exploiting legacy systems are also outlined. Six related papers, which together cover the identification of the problem, planning and modelling of change, and the implementation of new systems and business processes, are described.

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