Legacy System: 7 Quick Tips

legacy system tips


There can be many problems with legacy systems or it can go smoothly for a long time if you take good care of it. If you don’t want to have it blowing in your face unexpectedly, I suggest you follow these 10 easy tips.


1. Maintenance is your #1 priority

If you want to keep your legacy system for as long as possible, you need to meticulously maintain it. Remember that maintenance don’t come cheap. You should understand that maintaining an outdated system can cost as much if not more then replacing it. But if your system is especially difficult to replace because of its complexity or your inability to take the system down even for a few minutes, you should hire the best technicians to make sure your system runs for as long as possible.

2. Train your staff and super-users

You should have at least a few super-users within your team. Your super-users are the one who will be able to train the new additions to your team since they understand the system the best. When it comes to your general users, can they use it properly? Do they understand the basics? Do they know who they should ask if they have questions? The answer to these three questions should be yes. If not, you could be heading for big problems.

3. Security first

First thing first, is your system currently secure? What do you need to improve to make it even more secure to avoid security breaches? You should be able to answer these questions and you should take action today to make security your #1 priority ex aequo with maintenance. A big part of security issues may come from the fact that your system is connected to the Internet. If your system was designed before the advent of Internet and it is now connected, this may cause big problems.

4. Have a short, medium and long-term plan

One day or another, you will have to let your legacy system go. I understand that you want to keep it but sticking your head is the sand will not be very helpful. What would you do if your system was to go dead tonight? What about in six months from now? Or in two years? You should have a solid contingency plan to help you keep your business afloat if your system goes down.

5. Have the budget talk with your accountant

Think about your short, medium and long-term plans and discuss all of them with your accountant. You need to know how much your legacy system is currently costing you and to calculate how much it will cost you in the future. You then have to make sure these plans can and will fit in your budget not only if the best case plan wins but also if the worst case scenario comes true.

6. Plan the unavoidable migration

As I said, at one point or another, you will have to find a new system and migrate your data into the new one. There are many important things to consider. Can you take your system down? For how long? When would be the best time to do the migration? If you are working with banking data, the migration will most likely be complicated. If you are only managing tasks and customers, you can probably work things out during a long weekend. If you end up figuring out that you can’t take your system down, double your efforts on maintenance and work on your contingency plan ASAP.

7. Know your perfect scenario for a replacement system

You must explore different alternatives to replace your legacy system. Would you go for COTS or have some custom development? Would you consider an hybrid solution such as customizing a COTS? Do you need to go installed or web-based? What features would you like to add to your next system that you don’t currently have? Do you like your current applications or do you need to redesign? These are all important questions that will help you make the best decision.


What is your next step in regards of your legacy system? Do you know where you stand?

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