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Article - 29 April 2021

Should You Be Modernising Your Legacy Systems?

Legacy systems need modernising from time to time … consider your laptop or mobile phone, there are good reasons why your current devices use the latest software and hardware instead of the same stuff it used ten years ago.

There’s lots of research into the subject but most agree that the life span of a system you might use in your SME is around six or seven years. Even these estimates are usually based on considerations that the systems you are using are somewhat customised to your needs, or custom-built, rather than off-the-shelf.

You see, the thing with technology is that it becomes obsolete with time, and in some aspects, this is true of your business too … your business today is not the same business it was a few years ago. When you started, you had modern methods in place but now these are becoming outdated, your needs are different, times have moved on, you’ve grown in size, how you deliver or advertise has changed; all these factors putting a legacy burden on your business.

Legacy systems are a common business bottleneck and that’s why companies around the world are investing in legacy modernisation to stay ahead.

The effects of the pandemic we are living through only add to the challenges we face, and the stress put on legacy systems to perform in what is a vital time for many businesses to be as flexible, efficient, and innovative as possible.

So, What Is Legacy Modernisation?

Legacy Modernisation is the process of converting a legacy system into a modern alternative or infrastructure to reduce IT costs, improve flexibility, collaboration, and consistency.

Think of it as being like a software update for your phone or computer; new features, faster to use, more suited to the needs of today.

Importantly, the legacy transformation should combine the strengths of the old business systems, with the benefits of modern-day technologies and know-how to build a solid and robust platform for your business activities.

Research into the subject conclude that companies modernising their applications successfully reduced their overall business operations costs by more than 13%. In addition, the same companies with modernised systems were able to increase their annual revenue by at least 14% through things like quicker and better project management, smarter and modern means of communicating with customers, and being able to get-to-market faster.

Despite the research, many companies are still holding on to their legacy systems. These systems start to error, have bugs when trying to link to more modern additions to the infrastructure, and begin to cause potentially critical issues that affect your business.

Reading all this, you have to get rid of the old systems, right? Transform your business processes to stay competitive with newer business in your market? … but you have a strong customer base, you’re making it work, you’ve made it this far without needing to invest in that kind of thing.

All very strong and relevant points, but let’s consider the return on investment (ROI). How many apps do you have on your phone that have made you life easier, quicker, cheaper than ten years ago? How much do you now carry in your pocket versus 10 years ago? How much of these do you perhaps even use whilst working to make it easier or quicker (Sat Nav? Calculator? Reminders? Calendar Notifications?)

Let’s take that into a business setting. Suppose you are a business that supplies a service which involves a team working remotely and you need to manage that from head office. Traditionally it would take phone calls, paperwork, logs / spreadsheets, emails, wondering where people were, why jobs were taking longer than they should, tasks backing up, etc.

In this scenario you’d utilise a modern approach as simple as installing an app on their mobile phones, linked to head office where communication was open. Task Statuses updated with a click of a button, issues reported via a photo or sentence that takes three seconds to type out. Location sharing an option, so no need to ask if they have been caught in traffic or simply not left the previous job yet because of a problem.

Then think beyond that; a photo of the problem, could this be shared with the customer to show exactly why the job took longer, or perhaps is more expensive that initially thought. Could the photo be a short video to explain what is going on?

This is just one small example but it can apply to many situations that businesses face with legacy solutions, and is often linked with a scaling up of the business over time.

Weakness Of Legacy Systems

Let’s quickly run over some weaknesses of legacy systems:

  • Outdated or redundant technology.
  • Outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate documentation.
  • Skill set to run or maintain legacy system now lacking.
  • Lack of support for older software systems.

Around 44% of Chief Information Officer’s believe that complex legacy systems pose significant barriers to a company’s digital transformation.

In a recent poll conducted by ECS Technologies we posed –

“Research in 2020 suggests 75% of organisations will experience visible business disruption due to technical knowledge/skills gaps at a decision-making level, an increase from 20% in 2016 – do you agree?”

The response was 100% agreement.

Legacy systems effect business continuity and reliability. They often incur high maintenance costs and a total reliance on them not to go wrong or need attention because the skills are not present to deal with it or to provide a suitable contingency plan.

A domino effect is common, one problem leading to another, and another. Therefore, upgrading is certainly something to seriously consider.

Benefits Of Legacy System Modernisation

Often the systems you use are the foundations of your business – often the reason why we don’t want to ‘mess’ with them.

With the right tools and systems, you can accomplish your business objectives and most importantly reach your business’ full potential.

It empowers your workforce that they can work more efficiently and intelligently, as well as demonstrate that the company is progressive and understands the need to move forward.

Other benefits include:

  • Cost reductions.
  • Improved Business Flexibility.
  • Better Productivity and Performance.
  • Improved Compliance and Customer Support.
  • Better Security*

* Security is a whole topic in itself but a major factor not to be ignored. Legacy systems are not designed to cope with the modern threats that we all face. Combined with the duty to protect customer data this is a significant additional factor to consider when asking your self, should I be modernising my legacy systems?

Want To Learn More?

If you have made it this far and concluded that it is at least worth a conversation then contact us today about your legacy systems.

Solutions do not need to always be expensive, or custom-built. We can simply help you move to a more modern solution that fits your needs or discuss your strategy for your business’ approach to legacy system modernisation.

Visit or email to arrange a no-commitment, free consultation.

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