Making A Business Case For Modernizing Older Legacy Software Systems
Making the break from a legacy system can be a difficult decision. Even if you decide to outsource the development effort, designing and building the new software will require a commitment of financial and human resources over a period of months.
In this article, we lay out the positive benefits of modernizing your older, legacy application to help you if you want to put together a business case for modernization.
Create A Competitive Advantage
Can your software be expanded to give you an advantage over your competitors? Rebuilding your application opens the door to new features, functionality, and processes that leverage the capabilities of modern technology and third party platforms.
Specifically, can you leverage cloud infrastructure for better scalability and maintenance of your IT infrastructure, a mobile solution to allow your employees, customers, sales reps to perform their tasks on the go, expand your solution to cover new products or new markets, or provide a new service that no one else has currently?
Think through what it is your current system does, what others are doing in the market today, and how you can do it better or set the next trend in your industry.
Older systems tend to have poor user interfaces where the users are experiencing friction, needing to deal with workaround solutions to get their tasks completed and slow system response times.
A new system means the opportunity to give your users a more streamlined process that eliminates workarounds and automates steps that a human doesn’t need to perform. This will make them more efficient while giving them a more modern, and dare I say, a pretty system to work with.
Aesthetics do matter when it comes to people’s enjoyment of their tasks. By removing friction and frustration and creating a system that looks good, users will be more engaged and together with the system, provide more productive results.
Closer Alignment With Current Business Processes
A business will change over time. Legacy systems stay locked into the past. What is the distance between your current and future business processes and that of your legacy system? Is your system holding back the growth of your company or requiring additional solutions to bridge the gap?
Better Handling and Utilization of Data
Data has expanded exponentially in the last 5 years and will continue to do so. Do you currently collect more data than your application can handle or would you like to leverage real-time data analytics in your system? Modern programming languages, tools, and infrastructure
Modern programming languages, data platforms, tools, and infrastructure enable you to build real-time data analytics and data visualization into your product to bring about insights and make meaningful decisions.
It is good to ask yourself if your software was initially focused on functionality more than security, with security measures being implemented after the fact.
Information security can’t easily be added later. Authentication, authorization, user access, and data security need to be defined early in the process to be incorporated into the solution’s design.
Because legacy systems tend to be somewhat static in their development, hackers have a longer period of time to understand and exploit security holes.
Lower Maintenance Costs
As systems age, it is common to have fewer people who understand how the system was originally architected throughout. Documentation may be limited or not up to date and there are fewer resources available who want jobs in the technologies that were used. This makes maintaining the system hard and potentially expensive.
As mentioned before, technology evolves in leaps and bounds over time. How can you bridge the gap between what you need your system to do today with what is capable with newer technologies? You could try to marry your existing solution to a newer stop-gap software ‘bridge’ but how long will that combined solution last?
Reduced Business Continuity Risk
The biggest reason to consider upgrading your legacy system is business continuity. What would it mean to your organization if your existing system stopped functioning? How would you continue to process requests and serve customers?
As systems age, the risk of them failing increases and the challenge to replace them also increases. Even if you don’t decide to rebuild your legacy system, it is important to consider and make a disaster recovery and business continuity plan so that you are prepared if a situation does arise.
We want to help every software project begin on solid ground. In The 5 Pillars Of A Successful Software Project, we share the five essential ingredients of every software project.
You can grab a copy of the guide below and share it with your team!