Over the years, a business and its key operations may become reliant on ageing hardware and software systems. Known as legacy systems, the time comes when these systems' operational value is outweighed by the challenges of keeping them running optimally. Many businesses face this situation, including large organisations.
Decision-makers can be reluctant to change legacy systems for many reasons. These include cost and disruption to operations, particularly when a system performs a function that is bespoke to the organisation. Yet the risks involved in continuing to use legacy systems are considerable. Look out for the following indicators, which are warning signals that the time has come to replace them.
Although a legacy system might still function, rapid technological developments in the external environment evolve. Changes in operating systems, coding practices, and new browsers will eventually cause a range of compatibility issues. Even if the legacy system seems relatively stable, it will begin to run more slowly and use more resources. This harms efficiency and productivity. The reality is that no system can go on forever and each will ultimately need replacing. It’s far better to have a plan in place to manage inevitable obsolescence, than deal with a sudden legacy system failure.
2) Lack Of Maintenance Expertise
The older the system, the more likely it is that support documentation is insufficient. While there may be pages of hard copy to wade through, crucial details may be missing due to many different and undocumented updates over time. Support and maintenance knowledge is likely to have been shared between fewer and fewer engineers as the system becomes outdated. This makes it more challenging to maintain the legacy system effectively. Any changes made to the source code to keep it running can have an unforeseen knock-on effect. This can lead to increased instability.
With fewer engineers available to look after legacy systems, the more costly the maintenance service becomes. With manufacturers no longer providing support or security updates, the more insecure a system becomes. This increases the risks of data loss or security breaches, which can have a severe impact on a business.
3) Integration Issues
Since legacy systems have been around for a long time, they will use older programming languages, different system architecture, and design. This makes it very difficult to integrate the legacy system with new systems without investing in bespoke coding. There is no guarantee that this will fully integrate the systems without bugs and other issues. Systems that can’t be integrated effectively do not lead to optimal business efficiency and productivity, both of which are critical in competitive marketplaces.
Time For A Rethink
Regularly encountering any one or more of these issues indicates it’s time to rethink any reliance on legacy systems. Ongoing dependence will result in a greater cost to the business. Be mindful that there is a tipping point where it's more cost-effective to replace the system altogether. To discuss your legacy systems, integration, replacement or other issues, please call 0333 900 9050.
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