We are in 2023 and we are still stuck with the same topic – companies are still using legacy systems to run their IT and the time has really come to do something about that.
What Is a Legacy System?
This term has become bent over the time and each group bent it to its wishes. Generally this term includes IT systems, programs and applications that have been developed for physical infrastructure decades ago in a way that is no longer used (it could be the programming language or a type of database).
You can imagine a company that has been on the mmarket for 25 years and since then the IT (like CRM or ERP) is run on the same server.
Advantages of Legacy Systems
It is true that although we can count many disadvantages, legacy systems also have undeniable advantages. This can be the period over which they have been developed and tweaked – a long period – which made the tools top notch.
And we can find an advantage also on the human level because the whole company has been built around the system throughout its history so all employees are used to its logic and way of working.
Why Should You Change It?
A company is used to the legacy system, it is on top of its game, so where is the problemm? In reality there are several problems and we will look at three of them – support, integration and efficiency.
Legacy systems have been developed in a way that way common for the time ten, twenty, thirty years ago. These approaches are no longer relevant and for many of the legacy systems there will be no one left to secure support in case something has to be done – it could be a problem or additional functionality.
Legacy systems also run on old or no longer supported operating systems. Drivers or hardware can also cause problems and in case of online solutions, problems can come in the firm of security as a whole. No longer supported technologies, aged encryption or even security holes without any patches are a nightmare for the tech team when it comes to legacy systems.
Imagine having the company fleet copmrised of Ford Model Ts and coming today to the Ford service for some repairs. This is a hyperbole but for legacy systems it works to depict the minimal level of support in any situation.
The world is developing, companies are developing… but legacy systems are not. Companies had to change their approach to many things during the years they function. But if they got stuck with legacy systems then today they can have big issues with integrating them into the rest of the IT that has been designed in a whole new era of IT and namely with a different philosophy regarding operations and user access.
Many companies have decided to use cloud services for their IT but legacy systems are quite wasted on them. They are made for physical devices and systems that have not aged well. Any connections and integrations with other modern IT systems is almost impossible. That is why companies are encounter the problem that digitalization of a company may not be easy when legacy systems are involved or it may not be cheap.
Another point is also the problem with legacy systems running on physical servers. They also have specific needs and also a life span (you can read more about this in our article about myths surrounding physical infrastructure).
Operational costs are no the smallest, especially when looking at the fact that it may not be the type of infrastructure that companies want to use in this cloud age.
What Do You Do with a Legacy System?
If your company has this system great-granddad, you have several options.
Maintain the status quo – You company can keep on using a legacy system and hope that it will keep on going for the years to follow. It is probable that you will encounter problems more often – those we have described above.
Move the whole legacy system to the cloud – With some legacy systems whose operation system is compatible with cloud drivers, it is possible to move the whole system as it is. It will no longer run on physical servers but in the cloud so basically you can have the cake and eat it too. To ensure your legacy system can be used that way, it is necessary to contact cloud experts.
Rewrite the legacy system – Another option is to adapt the code of the program in a way to create a new version of the original system. As with reconstructing a building – sometimes it is better to tear down the building and build a new one that to repair the original. Again you need to get in touch with experts.
Migrate – Other option is to leave the whole system of a legacy system and migrate the whole company to more modern tools. To which and what the new architecture will look like, it is again a question for professionals because each company has its own needs.
Good Bye, Legacy System
Efficiency is the foundation of companies functioning and it is appropriate to honestly ask the question if your legacy system is the engine driving efficiency or a break stopping it. It is true that a change is difficult – it takes time, effort and money. But if you go through the long-term view, what do the numbers tell you?