What Are the Biggest Problems with Legacy Software?
Despite expensive and innovative digital transformation drives, many organizations still run and maintain legacy software. That’s because, over the years, such systems have become fundamental to the way the organization functions, and replacing them with modern alternatives isn’t always that straightforward.
Indeed, a December 2017 report from VMware and MIT Technology Review found that 62% of IT leaders cited the integration of legacy systems as their biggest multi-cloud challenge.
Nevertheless, modernizing legacy systems is something that many enterprises simply must do to increase their network security, enable new software features to be added, and boost their productivity.
Not sure if your legacy systems are causing your organization problems? Perhaps you’d like to know what challenges legacy systems pose for enterprise system integration? Or maybe you just want to know what your options are when you have a legacy system that needs rewriting, replacing, or modernizing?
[Related reading: The Importance Of Modernizing Legacy Systems]
Here are some of the problems with legacy software and the reasons why systems need to be replaced:
1. Increased security risk
First and foremost, legacy systems often represent a huge risk when it comes to security. That’s because they are inevitably old and, sometimes, are no longer being supported by the vendor or company that created them.
The problem with unsupported systems is that they do not receive updates and patches to address security vulnerabilities. As a result, you could end up compromising your entire network security simply because you are running a legacy system that is no longer supported.
2. Inefficient and unstable
In addition to being insecure, legacy systems are also often inefficient. That is to say they are not always conducive to boosting employee productivity. This is because they were designed and implemented at a time when business processes and practices were less contemporary.
Furthermore, legacy systems are often unstable. Again, this is often due to the fact they are no longer supported and do not benefit from vendor updates, which fix bugs and stability issues.
3. Incompatible with new technologies
Many legacy systems are standalone and were never designed to integrate with other pieces of software. While that might have been fine once, it drastically reduces your organization’s flexibility and scalability, as well as limiting the integrations you can perform.
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 so they can be integrated with the more modern software solutions your organization uses.
4. Company perception and new hire training
How does it look when you hire a new employee and then introduce them to your old legacy systems? While it might not seem like an important consideration, the perception of your organization by your new hires matters – especially if they’ve come from an organization that is similar to yours (which they probably have).
It’s also important to evaluate how much time and money you invest each year training new hires to use legacy systems. If you know you are going to update said systems in the near future, ask yourself: is your new hire training today ultimately a waste of time and resources?
5. Single point of failure
Following on nicely from our last point is the fact that legacy software solutions are (quite often) a two-pronged point of failure. Now, we say ‘two-pronged’ because they can become a single point of failure on both the user and IT side.
For example, if you’ve got a legacy system that is fundamental to the running of your business, but only one or two of your business users know how to use it – and only a couple of your IT team know how to support it – what happens when they are unavailable? Does your business just not perform those functions temporarily?
Moreover, would it not be a better use of your IT resources’ time to focus on the more modern systems you have implemented and not spend their days firefighting to keep legacy software ticking over?
6. Lack of information
Modern software is unparalleled when it comes to gaining deep data insights and supporting important business decisions with verifiable information. Legacy software, on the other hand, usually isn’t. That’s because it was built at a time when big data wasn’t necessarily a thing and capturing/processing it wasn’t the norm.
By modernizing legacy software, you can benefit from more powerful data insights and produce the reports that your business stakeholders demand.