Legacy software, also sometimes referred to as “home grown” software, is more than just a tech concern; it’s a business concern. Thanks to cloud computing, changing user demands, quicker and cheaper applications, many IT departments are reconsidering existing legacy applications.
Software over 5 years in place can be a problem waiting to happen, and can constrain and lack the nimble nature to react to market or customer needs. Here are just a few reasons to consider a proactive approach to retiring your legacy system.
Changing or Conflicting Company Priorities and GoalsIntra and inter department nuances or conflicting priorities and goals
Differing goals or project phases among departments or business units can often create a technology ecosystem that doesn’t fit, with systems intended for individual teams. Because of this, companies can create connection points between those systems for enhanced integrations, leading to duplication or gaps that demand patchwork or rigging.Mergers and acquisitions, company growth
Company growth, new personnel, or mergers can add to the complexity of legacy systems, with new requirements or recommendations enforced to align customer data, accounting, sales, operations, and so on. The resulting fragmented systems architecture with varied servers, databases, programming languages, packages, vendor sources becomes cluttered and outdated as fewer people know how to maintain.
A Forrester Research survey revealed that IT leaders out of 3,700 companies estimated they spent 72% of budgets on maintenance or “keeping the lights on” functions. Enhancing or patch-working a legacy system may only buy a few more years. Ideally, these systems in place need a longevity plan and schedule for extending the use, or potentially replacing these mission critical systems.
Outside InfluencesRegulatory or compliance changes or implementations
As industries evolve and technology advances, a need to increase the security and compliance arises in order to keep up with the development and mitigate potential cyber threats. These new or evolving regulations or amendments often require a systems change or that a piece of the framework be addressed.Advancements in technology and processes
Every twelve to eighteen months, computers double their capabilities, as does the information technologies that use them. Each generation of technology improves over the last, and the progress rate for each version or iteration speeds up. For many companies, it can often take 12-18 months just to implement a workflow or tool. By the time this is complete, a new version or better system has already come out.
Oftentimes the original tools or systems put in place to solve a company need were built with the current device usage in mind, not taking into account the need to future-proof applications as devices evolve. 2014 marked the mobile domination, with the first time ever that people use smartphones more than a desktop or laptop computer. With this overtake in device use, it’s no surprise that 71% of employees use personal mobile smartphones and tablets to conduct business tasks. Many employees prefer to work on-the-go, so systems and workflows in place need to be optimized for mobile devices.
Future-Proofing Your Business
To support strategic company growth, companies need to implement a proactive approach to technology investments. The first step is a thorough review of the systems in place and each link in the company that is connected to the various systems. Defining where technology fits, what’s currently in place, identifying gaps, and understanding what is available is imperative to future-proofing your organization’s operations.