A majority of federal IT managers say there’s an urgent need to modernize legacy applications, according to new research from MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.

The report, “Future Ready Applications: The Modern Legacy,” which was sponsored by Accenture Federal Services, shows that 92% of the 150 federal IT managers surveyed say it’s urgent for their agency to modernize legacy applications. They cite driving factors such as security issues (42%), time required to manage and/or maintain systems (36%) and inflexibility and integration issues (31%).

Legacy applications are struggling to keep up with agency needs, and it’s only going to get more difficult over time, the report says.

Nearly half (48%) of the respondents think their legacy applications are completely capable of meeting their organization’s needs today, and only 32% think they will be able to deliver five years from now. Despite the urgent need for modernization, slightly more than half of agencies (53%) have a formal application modernization strategy, and just 28% have developed a business case around renewing or replacing existing applications.

“The federal government is running legacy systems from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, which many feds find outdated, inefficient, and difficult to fix,” David Hantman, general manager of MeriTalk, said in a statement. “However, if they take a deeper look into their legacy applications, they will realize that implementing the right modernization strategy can truly uncover unrealized potential. The clock is ticking, the time to modernize is now.”

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