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8 Signs Your Legacy Software Badly Needs Replacement

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Edward Ossawa
Senior Contributor

Marketer turned IT project manager

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In a fast-paced world of today, when businesses are embracing digital transformation, many companies are struggling with legacy software issues. Such issues are typical to long-established market players. Just like these companies, legacy software has been around for a while and still fulfills a business need. Moreover, replacing it immediately is barely possible, since it has a business critical function. Most of the time, it runs on legacy operating systems and infrastructures, which badly need upgrade and/or replacement. However, doing so implies disrupting the workflow, not to mention heavy expenses; thus, it’s deeply rooted in your company ecosystem.  

According to the 2018 research by Avanade, senior IT decision makers believe that legacy code replacement can potentially boost annual revenue by over 14%, while reducing operating costs by 13%. Nine in 10 C-level execs (88%) believe that IT systems modernization is critical to achieving the emerging digital business requirements. Further, 87% believe their company’s IT executives don’t fully appreciate the potential ROI of IT modernization, which results in a huge resistance to change and stymied business continuity. The most alarming finding is that almost 50% of organizations admit the majority of their applications still run on legacy systems on-premises.

With the latter in mind, can you imagine how much you’d be able to benefit your business had you replaced your legacy code and moved digital operations to the cloud? At least, you’d have gained a huge competitive advantage that would allow you to stay ahead of the curve by offering the next-gen experiences and better digital solutions to your or your client’s end users!

So, how do you know you’re stuck with the legacy code, which slows down your business operations and makes you lag behind competitors?

Below are 8 sure signs you need to solve legacy software replacement issue once and for all.

1) Functionality gaps

It used to do everything your day-to-day operations required, and now it doesn’t. Your legacy software used to solve every business specific task, but that’s no longer the case. Over the years, the set of functions your company needs to perform to meet market standards has changed, and your software still copes with most of them. Yet, it cannot handle the rest, so your employees have learned to work their way around this situation by using additional applications or doing tiresome manual work. Replacing these legacy solutions with newer modernized versions will speed up your operations and reduce your company’s OpEX by eliminating the need to pay for additional software licenses.

2) Performance issues

Business continuity and rapid disaster recovery are a must these days. Typically, most businesses can afford as little as 5-minute downtime per year, which means any disruption or outage should be dealt with immediately and go unnoticed by customers. However, disruptions and outages are frequent in your organization, (for example during peak workloads like increased website traffic during the holiday season). They are often unexpected and unplanned, and you run huge risks of losing clients: if they find your services inaccessible, they will immediately shift to competitors. This is a critical situation since your entire business is experiencing major setbacks.  

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3) Lack of integration with newer solutions

There are lots of emerging technologies your company could use to its advantage: predictive analytics, robotic process automation, IoT sensors – you name it. Yet, your legacy software won’t integrate with them. For example, you want IoT sensors to detect empty shelves and automatically form repurchase orders to replenish your warehouse supplies, yet, your outdated inventory database won’t integrate with this technology. You need to modernize your entire business environment if you want to benefit from innovations.

4) You feel you can’t keep up the pace

Let’s say, you’re running an eCommerce store and are struggling with client demand for new customer service standards. Your customers require increased personalization and want your website to remember their name and previous orders. Yet, they won’t talk to support officer on the phone and would rather use a chatbot. They want to track order delivery online rather than contact your company to ask about its status and would feel disappointed if they don’t have this option. They would probably dump you for your competitors in search of better service if you fail to meet these standards.

5) Lack of vendor support

Apart from other downsides, legacy software often lacks vendor support. The license term has expired or/and the vendor no longer produces and supports these products. Alternatively, the vendor may still support them, but the support costs are constantly increasing. The vendor may have announced end-of-life or even gone out of business. If any disruption occurs, you are left completely helpless and forced to tackle an emergency on your own. In this situation, your company simply cannot keep up with high business continuity standards and the market demand for non-disruptive performance.

6) Lack of internal expertise

Legacy software has often been custom-made exclusively for your company and tailored to meet its specific needs. That’s why it’s extremely difficult to replace – it may only run on legacy infrastructure and OS. One more problem is that only the people who have programmed it may know how to support and maintain it. Once they leave the company, they take away the expertise. How long would your existing staff be able to tweak your legacy system to meet growing business needs? This is the question you need to ask yourself if you’re contemplating legacy systems upgrade.

7) UI and usability issues

Furthermore, legacy software is often extremely user-unfriendly. Unlike modern sleek and easy-to-learn solutions, it wasn’t built with convenience in mind; humans here expected to adapt and figure out how to use it. Legacy software may also stand in the way of attracting prospective employees — most of them want to learn new applications to meet market demand for experience and expertise in emerging tech. They will probably not be ready to learn how to use legacy software since this knowledge is unlikely to promote their careers.

8) Zero mobility

Legacy software may have been around from times immemorial, back in the era of fixed workstations. In a dynamic business environment, when many companies are adopting BYOD (bring your own device) approach, it simply cannot meet today’s demand for flexibility and mobility. Apart from the inability to work on mobile devices, it is often inaccessible to remote staff many companies collaborate with on a daily basis. Thus, it’s cumbersome, inflexible and won’t allow your employees to operate from different locations.   

If you are experiencing at least three of the above-mentioned issues, your legacy software is in dire need of replacement. Moreover, replacing it will be totally worth the effort: the operational speed boost, enhanced customer services, better work environment, and reduced expenses will account for increased agility, eliminate tech debt and, ultimately, help your company stay competitive. If this requires outsourcing your legacy software replacement, consider partnering with a reliable third party company like 8allocate!

 

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