How to Not Leave a Legacy … In Your Software

We can all agree that in some form we’d like to leave a legacy…but I hope we can also agree we don’t want to leave a legacy in our software. A report from Flexera found that most products have a 5-year lifecycle, meaning that technology also becomes obsolete in that time. That being said, most large enterprises stay in their legacy systems largely due to resource constraints. In fact, the US government might be the biggest culprit with $80 billion dollars of the IT budget going to support legacy systems. Yet legacy software has many issues.  In fact, 62% of IT leaders say legacy systems are the biggest roadblock to multi-cloud success.

So what exactly are the issues and how can you approach updating a legacy system.  In this article, we outline the eight pitfalls of legacy systems and how you can get out of them.

Issues with Legacy Systems

1. Increased Security Risks

Legacy systems often represent a huge risk when it comes to security. What seemed secure 5 to 10 years ago is not reliable now. According to Symantec, legacy systems and other outdated systems are vulnerable to malware and breaches. Since they are older, they are less resistant to cyber-attacks and harmful software.  Legacy systems are often not supported as well. These older systems don’t receive patches and updates to fix vulnerabilities and to address security issues. With legacy systems, you could put your entire network at risk.


2. Poor Performance

Due to their older nature, legacy systems have slower operating speeds and often glitch. Legacy systems are also often unstable. This is often due to the fact that legacy systems are no longer supported and do not benefit from vendor updates, which fix bugs and stability issues. In fact, according to a Samanage survey, American businesses lose up to $1.8 trillion in wasted productivity due to outdated technology. It’s clear that with legacy software, the extra time it takes for teams to perform basic functions adds up to large losses in time and money.

3. Incompatibility with Mobile and New Technology

Many legacy systems are standalone, and were never designed to integrate with other pieces of software. In today’s world, it is essential for software to work well with other systems in order to run effectively. Legacy software reduces your organization’s flexibility and scalability, and limits the integrations you can perform. As a result, these older systems need to be complemented by other technology layers to meet their current needs. This results in complexity and more management. Outdated software is also often incompatible with mobile.

The coronavirus pandemic has further emphasized the importance of scalability and adaptability in tech, which legacy software doesn’t have the capacity for. If you want to take advantage of new technologies and all of the benefits they provide, you should seriously consider having your legacy systems modernized or rewritten.


4. Costly Maintenance, Support Costs, and Damage Control

Often companies maintain legacy systems because although they cannot be updated, they are mission critical. However, because of this, the slightest hiccup can be extremely painful.

For example, when Delta airlines’ old reservation management system crashed in 2016, its entire fleet was grounded – costing the company $150 million. In fact, supporting obsolete apps takes up the majority of federal IT spending. Imagine the ROI if only a fraction of this had been spent on infrastructure modernisation, redundancy and security.


5. Competitive Disadvantage

Legacy software can lead to loss of business to competitors, both internally and externally. Internally, older software makes it harder to hire and train new people. Glassdoor found that the average cost-per-hire is $4,000, and extensive training adds even more to that. Overall, legacy software makes the team less efficient overall. Externally, you may be perceived as slower or antiquated, which will give room to competitors to take over your business.


6. Limited Insight and Information

Modern technologies are ripe with information and insights, but legacy software was typically built at a time when big data wasn’t necessary. As a result, you may not get the key data or insights you need to run and optimize your business. As business practices continue to grow and innovate, it is essential to have a software that can keep up.


7. Single Point of Failure

If your business depends on an older piece of technology that few know how to use, update, or maintain, what do you do when something goes wrong? What if there is no one available to fix it? This failure can cause a ripple effect and can negatively impact your entire business.


8. Hidden Costs

Part of the reason legacy systems aren’t updated is that the real costs of these systems cannot always be estimated. As a Reuter’s survey found, compliance costs for financial legacy software, for instance, is a black box. For example, how do you calculate the inefficiencies of an outdated user experience? What is the opportunity cost you face against competitors if you can’t act quickly or access key data to make strategic decisions? How do you quantify loss of agility, or the inability to change and adapt to an evolving environment? These hidden costs can add up; however, research has found that updating legacy software can increase business revenues by up to 14%. All these intangible costs make the cost of updating software worth it.


How to Get Started

We can take a look at your application and recommend system updates that would improve performance. Contact us for a complimentary 30-minute meeting.