Why You Should Focus on Improving Your Legacy System

focus on improvement

 

I wrote many times about what are legacy systems and the risks you are taking if you are ignoring your legacy system. It is clear for me that you should go ahead and replace your existing outdated software with a state-of-the-art web-based business solution. But…

 

Money doesn’t grow on trees

A few of you replied to me on social medias that, well, money doesn’t grow on trees and I must confess that you are right. I have to say that I understand that it is not all business owners who can simply write a check to a new vendor to take care of the assessment, gap analysis, planning, design, implementation and data migration of your new solution. Not only will you have to pay the new vendor but you will also need to take into account the price of training your staff.

So yes, I totally understand that you need to plan ahead and budget this huge item. Sometimes, it will just have to wait a few months or even a year or two. Then what should you do in the meantime? Close your eyes and wait for the best? Red flag alert! This is not a good idea. The risk of having the system unexpectedly go dead on you is a huge risk to your business.

Then what? I suggest you first try to improve your existing system by doing this quick four points analysis based on the four main issues related to legacy systems. You can then try to implement as many of the changes suggested as possible.

 

Maintenance, integration and compatibility

What is the current state of your actual system? Are your problems due to the outdated nature of the code or processes used to develop your system? Do you have any compatibility issues with other parts of the technologies you are using? How experienced is your IT team? Do you have one? Are the original persons in charge of taking care of the maintenance, integration and compatibility of your systems still on board? Did you since replace them with younger developers and programmers who don’t understand the code and processes then used?

Your solution may be to onboard seasoned programmers to help you better understand and maintain your current system. Of course, if the vendor who originally sold you the system is still around, it could be a great investment to get back in contact with them and see what they could do extend the life of your system at the lowest cost possible.

 

Security and accessibility

How much patching and bridging did you have to do to maintain your system? If your answer is “a lot”, you may want to quickly get a closer look to the security of your system. You may be more susceptible to security breaches and accessibility problems.

Is your system connected to the Web? If yes, was it designed to be connected? If your answer is no, security must become a priority. You may be susceptible to attacks and breaches.

Do your users need to type in command lines to access the system? If your answer is yes, at least make sure you have some documentation available for your users to refer to. You want to make sure all your users are comfortable enough with the system to use it. Remember that younger users are not familiar with the use of command lines since all the hardware and software they are currently using never used any of that.

 

Lack of support

First things first, is your vendor or developer still around and do you have access to them? If the answer is yes, you are quite lucky! Take advantage of your situation and contact them for a full analysis of the potential issues your system could be suffering. At least, you will know where you stand.

If your vendor or developer is not around anymore, things are a bit more complicated. You could always hire a company who specialize in managing legacy systems but beware of the cost that could represent. You don’t want to end up writing a huge check just to barely maintain a system that is doomed anytime soon anyways. Save this money to invest sooner in a new business solution.

Finally, remember that, when you finally have the budget to migrate your data into a new software, your new vendor will definitely offer you the option to take care of your data migration.  Chances are, they will have plenty of experience dealing with this.

 

Rampant cost

As I said before, your bottom-line and the potential return on your investment will always win and help you make the best decision. Simply remember that your temporary solution should not cost you more than the actual replacement business solution you want to invest in within a few months or years. Make sure you talk to your accountant to figure out what is your actual budget, present and future.

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Marie-Josee Porlier

Sales Director at Kohezion
Marie-Josée Porlier is the Sales Director and main blogger @ Kohezion. Ask her your questions about the cloud computing industry, online database software, database applications, legacy systems, business solutions and business productivity. She can be reached at mjporlier(at)kohezion(dot)com.
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