Imagine, you’ve invited your friends home for dinner and decided to surprise them with some gourmet cooking masterpiece. However, at a certain point in the process of cooking you realize that you’ve confused the sequence of ingredients prescribed by the recipe. Or you simply forgot to add something at the right time, and now it is already too late. So, you have to start all over again or just call the nearest catering service and ask them to bring whatever they have.
Imagine you are repairing your accommodation. You are most eager to change the color of your wall paint and replace the tiles in the bathroom, so you start with these things. Now it is a pleasure to look at the new wall paint and cozy newly-tiled bathroom. But then you realize that it would have been nice to replace the plumbing, electric wiring, and windows as well. And these are, actually, the things you should have started with. Well, now this means lots of damage to the newly-painted walls and shiny bathroom tiles.
People and companies that decide to replace their legacy payment systems often find themselves in similar situations. Some forget about critically important things, others violate the prescribed sequence of steps, while many simply do not know what to start with.
Imagine an organization using a legacy system. The system has integrations with many banks and processors. Many front-end systems are connected to the system as well. A lot of merchant, transaction, and other data of various kinds is stored in the system. The rules, implemented in the system, are not always trivial. People, who designed them, might no longer be working with the company. But the system is used by the whole company and many vital operations rely on it. At the same time, it is obvious that the system has to be replaced with a new one. So, the company needs an efficient way to migrate to the new solution.
Replacement of a legacy system with a new one is a challenging process indeed. However, there are certain points in this process that must, definitely, be addressed by any organization that needs to migrate to a more up-to-data solution.
6 steps for successful legacy system replacement are as follows.
- Prepare PCI compliant environment to install your software into.
- Optimize existing integrations with banks and processors.
- Optimize integrations with front-end systems (POS systems, CRM systems, etc).
- Optimize business processes related to merchant life-cycle. These include onboarding, funding, reconciliation, settlement, reporting, chargeback handling etc.
- Develop clear strategies for data migration. The data includes merchant data, transaction data, tokens, recurring billing data, etc.
- Get ready (i.e. compile all the documentation) for PCI audit. Preferably, you should record all the necessary procedures at initial development phase.
These are just the general conceptual steps, of course. For each company the “recipe” will be slightly different. As Shakespeare’s King John said, “…make haste; the better foot before…” Well, there is no particular need to “make haste” (unless you are really short of time). But “the better foot before”, is, definitely, the advice to follow, when you are planning to cook something special, repair your accommodation, or replace your legacy payment management system.