If you’re asking yourself, “What are legacy systems anyway?”, then read on. The term refers to any equipment or technology you’re using that’s outdated or no longer current. It can mean computer hardware that’s no longer in production and is impossible to replace if it goes wrong. It can mean software that’s been superseded by newer packages. It can also mean systems that don’t comply with the latest standards for things like data security.
Legacy Systems Can Be Costly
The older a system gets, the more resources it takes up, in terms of both time and money. As systems age, their reliability tends to fall, meaning you suffer more downtime as problems arise. These can be increasingly difficult and expensive to fix, especially with specialist or niche technologies. Even keeping a legacy system running normally can require a lot more upkeep than newer equipment would, which again will drain your business’s resources.
Legacy Systems Can Serve Critical Functions
A key reason why many companies continue to use legacy systems is that they do things that are central to business operations. That means that switching over to a completely new system can itself be costly. Not only will the new equipment’s financial cost be considerable, but employees will take time to get to grips with it. That can lead to an initial dip in both productivity and revenue before new systems are fully understood.
Integration May Be Worth Considering
An alternative to the “big bang” approach, especially for business-critical systems, is to integrate them with bespoke software. This avoids the need to spend large amounts of time and money completely overhauling them, and can improve productivity quickly as they will remain more familiar to your team than a completely new setup. This approach is certainly possible in most cases, but there are practical factors to consider.
What Should You Think About Before Choosing Bespoke Software?
Carry out a full audit of the legacy systems in question, looking especially at which components are still supported, how much the systems cost to run and maintain, and what value they add for your business. A cost-benefit analysis should show whether integrating bespoke software is worthwhile; beyond a certain point, it may be better to bite the bullet and go for complete replacement.
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