The pandemic has changed the way we work and operate beyond recognition, especially now the majority of us are adopting at least a hybrid way of working where we split our time between at home and in the office or working from home.
Due to this, we’ve had to embrace a highly sophisticated, fast-paced and ever-evolving online world and businesses need to do the same if they want to remain competitive, innovative and successful. Keeping up with the latest technology and digital transformation trends are just a couple of ways that help organisations survive this digital landscape and upgrading your legacy system is no exception.
As tempting and easy as it is to just stick to a current version of a system you use, upgrading to a new version is crucial if you want to continue to streamline processes, save time, money, and resources and give your employees the best tools for them to do their best possible work.
Not upgrading systems can have inconvenient and counterproductive consequences for any business and this blog will explore:
- What is a legacy system?
- The advantages of legacy systems
- The disadvantages of legacy systems
- Why you should upgrade your legacy systems
- Adopting a third-party solution
- Final thoughts
What is a legacy system?
A legacy system is an obsolete computing technology or computer system. It could also be a programming language, software application, process or tool that can no longer be maintained, replaced or easily updated.
However, it’s not to say legacy systems aren’t in working condition. According to Talend, a legacy system refers to a technology based on outdated operating systems that are still reliable for day-to-day operations. Many organisations still find these systems essential to their daily work and actually not using them will cause more harm than good when it comes to productivity and results.
However, legacy systems are ultimately outdated computing software and hardware that are still in use and there are many reasons why businesses choose to leave or stick with legacy systems.
So we have ourselves a bit of a conundrum. Should they stick with their existing legacy-based system or should they spend money on buying or implementing newer systems with the latest technology that carries out business tasks more effectively? To help answer this question, we will now explore the advantages and disadvantages of legacy systems.
What are the advantages of legacy systems?
A few reasons why a business might want to continue to use a legacy system are covered below.
Legacy systems are often generational and have carried businesses through years of development and growth, creating more difficulty to replace and let go. Legacy systems are a crutch for organisations and it is a system that everyone is familiar with, so there are no roadblocks in their operation.
This comfortable familiarity means that employees won’t get stuck on any of their work or tasks and need to ask for help. Everyone already knows how to use it and will be able to quickly and easily train any new employees who join.
Upgrading and learning a new system can be time-consuming, stressful, daunting and tedious and come with its own teething problems. For businesses who struggle to adapt, using new solutions might seem more effort than they’re worth. Plus, why fix what isn’t broken?
Steadiness is enough to convince businesses that they are working effectively as they are and don’t need to upgrade. A legacy system provides businesses with a sense of stability and keeps employees on the same page.
Whenever a new team member joins the organisation, the system provides them with enough trained resources to help them become comfortable with the company’s technology. In addition, legacy systems allow team members to see various records and which tab they are present, set up filters and generate reports with ease and quickly.
An outdated system can still work perfectly fine. Most importantly, these systems are typically designed for maximum capacity and remain reliable and durable in most cases.
Operational efficiency is central to a successful business and legacy systems are efficient for specific tasks. However, they usually require extra resources with specialised skill sets to manage, which don’t support the agility, flexibility, and streamlined business operations that businesses demand nowadays.
What are the disadvantages of legacy systems?
We admit that there are a few reasons as to why a business might want to keep their legacy systems, but their disadvantages far outweigh their advantages. Problems with legacy systems are explored below.
Lack of innovation
It’s a known fact that legacy systems restrain businesses from making changes that could benefit them. Due to inconvenience, businesses are limited to innovating their systems and moving with the times. The impact affects business strategy and prevents organisations from optimising their working day.
In addition, legacy systems can keep businesses static as strategy and operations remain rigid. Legacy systems may contain information stored on local devices and require a physical presence at a physical location to do the work, creating yet another barrier for businesses eager to work more flexibly out of the office.
Technology improves each year rapidly, and each time businesses adopt, the distance from legacy systems gets bigger. The system no longer supports the multiple software that an organisation requires. There are legacy systems so old that no one knows what specifications they function for. Many businesses either do not bother to disturb the process or introduce a new technology altogether.
Poor information security
Legacy systems often present a security risk, such as document security, because they are inherently older technology and are not supported by the company or vendor that created them in the first place.
Furthermore, lacking regular maintenance, legacy systems with vulnerabilities will not see the updates and patches necessary to stay secure in the modern world. As a result, poor data security presents a risk to every organisation, no matter the industry.
The price of maintenance is another disadvantage of legacy systems. Costs are expected with any system, but the cost of maintaining a legacy system is extensive and in the end, is probably more expensive than just upgrading it.
Maintenance keeps the legacy system running, but at the same time, whilst standard operations are maintained, there’s never a chance for growth with a legacy system.
The financial aspect of maintaining legacy systems is a major concern. There are other costs to a business if old technology is not appropriately managed or replaced. Some may argue that money isn’t being managed effectively with legacy systems as they aren’t cost-effective.
Not only is keeping a legacy system expensive, but it also doesn’t allow internal processes and operations to be streamlined, which wastes time, money and resource, which could all be better spent if a legacy system is upgraded.
Incompatible and outdated processes
Legacy systems are losing their touch as solutions advance and move away from traditional systems. In addition, many businesses will focus on efficiency and the customer experience and to provide the best service and/or product, you need compatible systems.
Nowadays, many tasks and business processes need automating, such as document automation, which legacy systems do not offer. Upgraded systems could lead to better data accuracy and faster turnaround times.
Don’t empower employees
Legacy systems can leave employees feeling deflated and disappointed in their roles if they’re not given the latest and most reliable and innovative tools and systems to do their best possible work.
They spend more time on manual processing and working on their dated systems, which can be boring and monotonous. Upgrading systems can make these tasks so much simpler and quicker so the time can be better spent on other things that your employees actually care about and deliver more value for the business.
Difficult and clunky to use
The nature of legacy technology is clunky and heavy-duty. As a result, it becomes a liability as they need space and maintenance. Clunky systems also restrict employees from operating out of the office, affecting flexibility and innovation, which can be difficult to get around seeing that a lot of employees now either work from home.
Reasons for upgrading legacy systems
We’ve outlined what the disadvantages are for legacy systems, but why should you upgrade? Upgrading your legacy system doesn’t have to mean entirely replacing the hardware and software. Instead, you can replace the disadvantages of legacy systems with a much simpler solution.
Businesses can work with third parties to bolt on to their legacy system and let the solution do the rest without the need of a long implementation period, reconfiguring or retraining staff. Third-party extensions are sophisticated and innovative, designed to make your life easier.
Businesses can liberate their data and operations and appeal to mobile users at the same time. By switching to third party software, businesses will experience the benefits of a new system; without the cost of licensing and downtime. Third-party software programming will save you time, resources and money, maximising your ROI.
With Datagraphic’s multichannel communication platform, Aceni, you can upgrade your system with a cloud-based solution. With this solution, you’ll be able to automate your documents and securely communicate with customers across different channels, such as web, print, email and text, which legacy systems can’t do in isolation.
While you get to keep your legacy system, Aceni can maximise efficiency using the system’s data. It is a unique multichannel communication system that automates, controls and delivers your outbound customer documents so you can achieve digital transformation in weeks, not years.
Whilst legacy software are familiar, steady and efficient, it can also cause many problems:
- Lack of innovation and security
- Compatibility issues of older systems
- Clunky and difficult to use
- Excessive maintenance costs
- Don’t empower employees
All of these problems prevent businesses from streamlining processes, saving time, money and resources and maintaining a competitive edge, which can hinder business results, revenue and growth, which can be difficult to overcome in such a fast-evolving, digital landscape. It’s tempting to carry on using these outdated technologies, but the team at Datagraphic strongly advises that you at least consider upgrading legacy systems.
We hope you found this blog useful, but if you have any questions about the disadvantages of legacy systems or need further advice on our solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope to hear from you soon!