Many businesses still run on legacy systems due to convenience, cost, or downright conformity. Refreshing these outdated platforms can seem like a daunting task considering legacy software is oftentimes critical to day-to-day operations. However, upgrading to a modern solution will be an investment that pays off in the long run.
This blog will highlight common issues of aging software and legacy applications and what signs to look for when considering if your organization should upgrade or not.
What are Legacy Software and Systems?
Legacy software is a system that is outdated but still important to fulfill business requirements. However, it is most likely mission critical to your business’ operations. Legacy systems are found in all business sectors, such as banking, medical, insurance, and manufacturing. They may be common, but that doesn’t mean they should be the norm when newer custom software solutions are available.
There are many reasons why an organization may opt to maintain their existing legacy system, including:
- They know their system may have flaws, but it still works (no one likes change!)
- They can’t justify the cost-benefit of a new system
- They worry about the resources required to retrain employees on a new system
- They think that the application can be replaced swiftly and at any time, so it is put off until necessary
- They believe their platform is too complex to be replaced
These are all valid points, but there are other factors to consider when weighing whether it’s time to upgrade. Even if the system “works”, legacy apps can pose quite a few problems.
Why You Should Modernize your Legacy Systems
Security is the most important reason why you should consider modernizing your legacy system. As legacy software ages, it becomes vulnerable. A big culprit of this is when the software was built on an operating system that is no longer supported. According to the 2017 OS Adoption Trends from Spiceworks, 52% of businesses were still running Windows XP despite support ending in 2014. If you’re relying on an older OS because your platform isn’t compatible with newer versions, it puts your business in a vulnerable position because the OS just isn’t as secure.
The importance of modernization goes well beyond wanting your application to run smoother. Over the years, security protocols have transformed, such as multi-factor authentication and encryption, and they will continue to do so. Your legacy system may be left behind playing catch up. Vendor patches get put off, leaving your valuable information vulnerable to an attack for a potentially long time. Worse, the vendor may not support the software any longer to even release patches.
Hackers evolve. When new threats are discovered, they adapt, strengthening their toolkit. If the security measures your legacy system holds are outdated, it is likely hackers already know how to penetrate it.
Modernizing your legacy software is an investment; however, keeping it can be just as big of a money pit. Ultimately, the cost of managing and maintaining your system may outweigh the cost of a refresh. Businesses may allocate their resources into other departments not realizing the importance of legacy software modernization. Refreshing your platform can free up human capital with its ease of use, so you can focus on sales, marketing, process optimization, or other high-level tasks. Additionally, a new application can save time on day-to-day processes, which ends up saving money in the long run.
Relying on an outdated system also means it can make it difficult for your business to grow. These applications aren’t always scalable, only meeting basic requirements. Your software reflects your business, and with a legacy application, that may not be a good thing. These aged systems limit your organization’s possibilities and don’t provide the flexibility you need to expand.
Maintaining legacy systems can be quite difficult because oftentimes they are a monolith of data. Depending on how long the application has been in place, the staff left to maintain it may not be experts. Whether your technical professionals have forgotten how to use it, or worse, if they have left the company or retired, there may not be any true specialists left for maintenance. If nobody knows how the system truly works, how can they be expected to perform accurate improvements or upgrades? If trying to hire new staff, you may find that it is difficult to find a candidate with a background in your specific outdated software.
With a lack of vendor support, your organization will surely face setbacks at some point when problems arise. Any snag in the application wastes time trying to resolve it. Even worse, the solutions may pose other problems, such as security threats. Modernizing your system will ensure you always have technical support if situations arise.
Reflect on when you were first trained for a job. How much did you remember off the bat? Did you still have questions after the first week or even month? Legacy systems make training even more difficult for new employee onboarding. With such a large application, there may be no real training manual to reference. Everyone learns differently, and there may not be resources to help all types of learners.
Legacy applications can be a lot of trial and error—even for the one doing the instruction. It can be difficult to teach someone else how to do something complicated and have them retain that information. Ultimately, it can be overwhelming for both new and tenured staff. A modern system can streamline training with smooth and intuitive features, which allow new employees can even learn on their own.
Modernize Your System Today!
A prominent service at Code Authority is the modernization of these legacy systems. We strive to maintain the familiarity and ease of use of these legacy apps for businesses without compromising agility or scalability. Code Authority’s team of software developers can work with your business on a customized solution that will be as secure as it is easy to use. Contact us today for a free project estimate!