Modernizing Legacy Systems to Move Forward in the Digital Transformation
by Daniel Newman | June 8, 2017
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Most of us can’t imagine using a flip phone in 2017 given the fact that smartphone technology has advanced so much in the past decade. But for some reason, many businesses are still content to utilize antiquated legacy systems every single day in their business environments. While they could be using new technology to harness customer data and work more efficiently, they’re choosing to stay boxed within the limitations of an aging tech infrastructure. Why? For many, it’s because of the time and expense involved in making the upgrade. For others, it’s simply too overwhelming to consider shifting their entire company into the digital age.

Gartner defines legacy systems as information systems that may be based on outdated technologies, but which remain critical to day-to-day operations. In actuality, many of us likely still deal with legacy systems in some way—if not at our own offices, then in our dealings with other clients and customers. Legacy systems separate us from sharing and connecting at our highest potential. They aren’t compatible. They slow us down. And it’s time we deal with them, either by replacing or modernizing our current systems. The following are my top three reasons that modernizing is worth the investment.

It Will Save You Money

I know: when we hear the words “upgrade” and “modernize,” it’s difficult not to think of dollar signs. But from my perspective, the cost of modernizing your legacy systems is far less than what you’ll lose by maintaining them, in terms of service costs, security issues, and overall inefficiencies. But it’s not just me saying this. More than 90 percent of IT managers said security issues and performance issues were inevitable if legacy applications weren’t modernized. And the longer you wait, the worse it gets. Companies are spending 60-80 percent of their IT budgets on maintaining old computing infrastructure. That’s money that could be spent better—on machine learning, analytics, big data, and artificial intelligence.

Your Company Will Work Smarter

In today’s world, technology is not just here to help humans with word processing and graphic design—far from it. New technology is about processing large amounts of data that will help you work smarter, and using machine learning and other tech to better serve your customers. It’s not just about saving money in overhead—it’s about making more money because of the insights gained. When you invest in upgrading legacy systems, you’re investing in compatibility with other advanced technologies; scalability that will allow your company to work efficiently; and mobility that will help you reach more customers and employees in even more creative and effective ways.

Reduce Support and Maintenance

Is it easier to find support for your old flip-phone, or the latest phone on the market? Forget support; it’s nearly impossible just to find a phone case when a newer smart phone model becomes available. The same is true for legacy technology. Just as the world progresses to new systems, IT support moves with it, making it difficult to maintain and repair the older systems you have in place. When you invest in modernizing your infrastructure, you’ll find support easier, faster, for less money, and with fewer disruptions to your enterprise.

At the end of the day, digital transformation is about culture, not just systems. You must be willing to adapt to a changing business environment if you are going to survive—and that means building a culture that embraces change. You don’t have to scratch your entire system and start over. Ditch the ones that aren’t working, and implement future-facing systems into the ones that are. What’s more, make sure that you enlist front-line users into the decision-making process to ensure proper buy-in once the new systems are rolled out. Their input will help you troubleshoot potential issues and increase the likelihood of mass adoption throughout your company.

Additional Resources on This Topic
Enterprise Mobility: The Evolution of the Future of Business
CIOs Leading the Digital Transformation Through Innovation

Photo Credit: martinlouis2212 Flickr via Compfight cc

This post was first published on FOW Media.

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Chief Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio