How to Update Your Legacy Business Systems and Keep Them Current
Running a long-term business is a bittersweet pill to swallow. On one hand, you should be proud of the success and progress you’ve obtained over the years. On the other, you have to always find new ways to improve your business.
One way you can keep your operations to the latest trend is by changing your legacy business systems. Initially, this may sound like a time-consuming and expensive process. But, in reality, updating your business systems is key to increasing your profits and promoting better organizational safety.
In this guide, we’re going to give you a complete rundown on how to update your legacy business system the right way in this digital age.
What are Legacy Business Systems?
A legacy business system is any software or application that’s outdated and no longer supported by the vendor. For example, a legacy business system can be an on-premise software application that’s used to manage your inventory.
Oftentimes, businesses hold onto legacy systems because they’re afraid of change. They think that updating their business systems will be too difficult and time-consuming. Or, they may not have the budget to invest in new technology.
However, running on legacy systems can be very costly for businesses. Outdated technology can lead to security risks and compliance issues. Additionally, you’ll miss out on features and functionalities that can help improve your overall operations.
What Are Some Examples of Legacy Systems?
The average business uses dozens of legacy systems. Here are some common examples:
- On-premise software applications
- File servers
- Proprietary hardware devices
- Voice communication software
Basically, a legacy system is a product you rely on to run a business. It’s usually a type of software or technology. These are just a few examples that should give you a gist of what a legacy system is.
Why Do Legacy Systems Even Exist?
In many cases, businesses are forced to keep using legacy systems. That’s because their business model is based on this type of technology.
For example, a business may have invested in an on-premise software application years ago. And now, they can’t switch to a cloud-based solution because it’s not compatible with their current infrastructure.
Additionally, some businesses don’t update their legacy systems because they’re afraid of the cost. Technology has a way of becoming outdated quickly. So, it’s understandable that some businesses would rather hold onto what they have instead of investing in something new.
Signs Your Legacy Systems are Outdated
Certain legacy systems will inform you they’re no longer relevant or compliant with your business structure. If that doesn’t happen, then you can rely on these signs to go ahead and make a change:
You’re Facing Some Security Concerns
One of the most common signs that it’s time to update your legacy business system is security concerns. Older systems are more vulnerable to cyberattacks because they don’t have the same level of protection as newer ones.
For example, an attacker may be able to exploit a known security flaw in an old version of your software. This would give them access to sensitive data, like customer information or financial records.
You’re Experiencing Downtime More Often
Another sign that you need to update your legacy business system is increased downtime. As technology ages, it becomes less reliable. So, you may start to experience more system failures and application crashes.
This can be extremely frustrating for employees and customers alike. Not to mention, it can lead to a loss in productivity and revenue.
You’re Missing Out on New Features and Functionalities
Another clear sign that you need to update your legacy business system is when you’re missing out on new features and functionalities.
As time goes on, legacy systems become increasingly outdated. They don’t have the same capabilities as newer ones. For example, an older software application may not be able to take advantage of the latest security protocols.
Additionally, legacy systems may not be able to integrate with newer technologies. This could limit your ability to automate certain processes or use data-driven decision-making.
Your Systems are Very Slow
If your legacy business systems are running slowly, it’s a sign that they’re not able to keep up with your current needs.
This is often due to the fact that legacy systems weren’t designed to handle large amounts of data. So, if your business has grown significantly since you first invested in a legacy system, it may no longer be able to meet your needs.
There is a Lack of Software Updates and Technical Support
When legacy systems become outdated, software vendors are less likely to release updates and provide Be Structured IT support services.
This can be a major problem because it means you won’t have access to the latest security patches or bug fixes. Additionally, if you experience any technical issues, you may not be able to get the help you need in a timely manner.
Your Company is Experiencing Communication Gaps
If your legacy business system is no longer able to keep up with your company’s communication needs, it’s a sign that it’s time for an update.
For example, if you’re using an outdated email server, you may not be able to send or receive messages from certain email addresses. Additionally, you may start to experience more frequent outages.
You’re Not Meeting Compliance Requirements
In some industries, companies are required to meet certain compliance standards. If your legacy business system is no longer compliant with these standards, it could put your company at risk.
For example, if you’re using an outdated software application, you may not be able to encrypt sensitive data properly. This could lead to a data breach.
Additionally, if you’re using an old version of a software application, it may not be able to generate the required reports. This could lead to hefty fines from regulatory agencies.
You’re Losing the Competition Battle
If you’re not able to keep up with your competitors, it’s a sign that your legacy business system needs to be updated.
Your competitors are likely using newer and more innovative technologies to run their businesses. This gives them a significant advantage over you. As a result, you may start to lose market share.
You’re Paying Higher Maintenance Costs
As legacy systems age, they become more expensive to maintain. This is because there are fewer software vendors who are willing to support older versions of their products.
Additionally, legacy systems often require specialized hardware that can be difficult and expensive to replace. So, if you’re paying higher maintenance costs, it’s a sign that you need to update your legacy business system.
Off-the-Shelf Software vs. Bespoke Software
Now that you know the signs that you need to update your legacy business system, you may be wondering whether you should invest in off-the-shelf software or bespoke software.
There are pros and cons to both options.
Off-the-shelf software is typically less expensive than bespoke software. It’s also easier to implement because it doesn’t require any customizations.
However, off-the-shelf software may not meet all of your specific needs. Additionally, you may have to purchase multiple off-the-shelf products in order to get the functionality you need.
Bespoke software is designed specifically for your company. Additionally, bespoke software is often easier to use because it’s designed with your company’s processes in mind.
However, bespoke software can be more expensive than off-the-shelf software. It can also take longer to implement because it requires customizations.
The decision of whether to invest in off-the-shelf software or bespoke software depends on your specific needs and budget.
If you’re not sure which option is right for you, we recommend talking to a legacy business system expert. They will be able to help you assess your needs and make the best decision for your business.
How Much Does it Cost to Update Legacy Systems?
The cost of updating legacy systems varies depending on the size and complexity of your business.
For example, if you’re a small business with a few legacy systems, you may be able to update them yourself. However, if you’re a large enterprise with multiple legacy systems, you’ll likely need to hire an outside firm to help you.
Additionally, the cost of updating legacy systems also depends on whether you choose to invest in off-the-shelf software or bespoke software.
As we mentioned before, off-the-shelf software is typically less expensive than bespoke software. However, it may not meet all of your needs. Overall, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars to complete a migration to new business systems.
Important Things to Consider When Updating Legacy Systems
Updating your company’s legacy systems is simpler than you think. Before you get started, here are some important things to consider:
Create an Inventory of All Your Data
Make sure to create an inventory of all your data before you start the process of updating your legacy business system. This will help you determine which data needs to be migrated and how it should be structured in the new system.
Identify Your Goals
It’s important to identify your goals for updating your legacy business system. This will help you choose the right solution for your company.
For example, if you’re looking to improve efficiency, you’ll want to choose a system that automates tasks and processes. If you’re looking to improve customer service, you’ll want to choose a system that provides self-service options and easy access to information.
Define Your Long-Term Needs
When updating your legacy business system, it’s important to think about your company’s long-term needs.
For example, if you’re planning on growing your business, you’ll want to choose a system that can scale easily. If you have plans to expand into new markets, you’ll want to choose a system that supports multiple languages.
Get Buy-In From Stakeholders
Updating your legacy business system is a major decision for any company. So, it’s important to get buy-in from all stakeholders before proceeding. This will help ensure that everyone is on board with the decision and that there are no surprises down the road.
Keep Security Risks in Mind
When updating your legacy business system, it’s important to make sure that your new systems have proven security countermeasures.
For example, if you’re migrating data to a new system, you’ll want to make sure that all data is encrypted. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a system that uses robust authentication and authorization controls.
Expect Reasonable Downtime
Any time you update your legacy business system, there will be some downtime. This is unavoidable. So, it’s important to plan for this and to have a contingency plan in place.
For example, you may want to schedule the update for a time when your business is typically slow. Or, you may want to have a team of people on standby to help address any issues that arise.
Make Sure the New System is Built for the Future
When you update your legacy business system, you’re investing in the future of your company. So, it’s important to make sure that the new system is built for the future.
For example, you’ll want to choose a system that uses open standards and that can easily integrate with other systems. Additionally, you’ll want to choose a system that is cloud-based or that uses hybrid architecture.
How to Migrate Your Legacy Systems to the Cloud
Migrating your legacy business systems to the cloud is a great way to improve efficiency and keep your operations up to date. When migrating to the cloud, there are two main options: public clouds and private clouds.
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party providers. They’re typically less expensive than private clouds, but they may not offer the same level of security and control.
Private clouds are owned and operated by businesses. They’re more expensive than public clouds, but they offer more security and control.
The best option for you will depend on your specific needs. But, in general, private clouds are a good choice for businesses that require high levels of security and control.
Learn More Helpful Business Tips
Many executives hold on to legacy business systems, believing there’s no harm in not making a change. As you can see, keeping certain legacy systems can hold your business back in more ways than one.
Nonetheless, updating your legacy systems is the only way you can improve your IT infrastructure. For more helpful business tips, make sure to check out our blog.