What is decommissioning in information technology?

What is decommissioning in information technology?

Decommissioning is an important process that allows the removal of any business application or system from use in an organization.

This is a very common process that requires adequate analysis of data in a particular system. This is followed by the identification of data, metadata, and the system documentation that needs to be brought forward and retained as well along with an accountable process for deletion of the residual data that is present in the system.

Usually, a system is decommissioned in the following scenarios:

  • If the system is obsolete and can’t fulfill the needs of the business.
  • If the system is replaced by a new target system that covers the same features and functions.

For the process of decommissioning, there are a few considerable factors:

  • Structural reorganization.
  • Transition to new generation systems.
  • Project completion.
  • Project termination.
  • Disposal of physical assets.

There are a few steps involved in the decommissioning in information technology. Here is an overview:

Application Portfolio Analysis

This is a primary step towards your decommissioning process as it reviews the applications in your overall database and considers the following things:

  • If the data that belongs to those applications is still relevant and needed?
  • If the data needs to be transferred to a new environment?
  • If the data is still useful for analytics or other reasons but isn’t changing and could be archived?
  • Classifying what data could be archived and what is needed and should be kept active.

The application decommissioning with data archiving is always a better solution for organizations that have a significant amount of data that could be needed any time.

Data and business analysis

As the data is archived, the next stage is to analyze the business and its data.

For this purpose, there are a few considerations made, which include:

  • What data needs to be retained and what needs is eligible to make it to the analytic reports.
  • How to retain the data and if the data could be stored as extracts or is there a need of full data retention for allowance of detailed analytic reports.
  • Is there a presence of any related data sources that could potentially be archived for the sake of providing complete reporting.
    Is the additional data modeling going to help with reporting?
  • Who needs access to the data?

Designing and Building

This phase provides the user stories describing the requirements for access to the archive. There are a few steps involved:

  • The deploying and configuration of the archive. The configuration includes the integration with the directory services, storage configuration, encryption, and backup settings, etc.
  • The transportation of data from the source system to the archive in the ETL process. Further, the whole data is extracted from the legacy system and then loaded into the archive.
  • Following the process of ETL is the chain-of-custody checking which ensures that the desired data has also been captured and not changed during the ETL process.
  • For detailed reporting, the queries and user interfaces might be defined. This part of the process doesn’t reproduce any of the source systems and provides access to the data in different ways of the source application.

Delivery of the project

The delivery of the project involves that the requirements that had to be fulfilled in the analysis phase have met the user needs and that it is ready to go. The same could be accomplished by the user acceptance testing of the reporting interfaces.

The delivery even includes training the users on the interface. Not just the users, but even the admins and managers of the archives need the training.

Decommissioning in information technology

Our final step is decommissioning since data needed is in the archive and we can decommission the legacy system.

This allows us to get rid of any support contracts for the decommissioned software. This entire process allows a very cost-efficient solution for the maintenance of servers, reduced storage and reduced support costs.

There are a lot of reasons to decommission and a detailed analysis is likely to give you all the information that you are going to need to understand what the whole process looks like for you and what benefits your organization could reap from the same process.


Application decommissioning is actually a very strategic approach towards systematic retirement of the costly legacy application for an enterprise and that too without compromising any of the needs of the business of compliance requirements.

It uses a rigorous process for analyzing the application portfolio and identifies the best candidates for decommissioning.

Further, it uses innovative technology that could potentially extract the data from the difficult legacy environments and store the same in an accessible central repository.