With the ever-evolving technology landscape, business owners are often faced with a difficult question: when is it time to replace that legacy system? Upgrading an existing framework can offer major improvements in efficiency and effectiveness but may come with its own set of challenges. Making this decision requires careful contemplation - while some systems clearly need updating, others might not yet merit such dramatic changes.
Organizations are increasingly invested in modernizing legacy applications, a trend that is only continuing to grow. According to the 2021 “IT Trends Study” from SIM and a survey from AWS, nearly three-quarters of top companies list this as one of their most important strategic objectives for 2021! Legacy modernization has become an essential part of staying competitive in today's digital market.
The Problem with Legacy Systems
It's a familiar story for many organizations: legacy systems and outdated software continue to slow operations despite the influx of digital technologies. NASA, large corporations, and even the Federal Government are all grappling with this issue — navigating through vendor lock-in, expensive replacements, or complicated data migration processes in their attempts to modernize their IT architectures. But time doesn't stand still; embracing newer solutions is essential if companies want to remain competitive on today's ever-changing tech landscape.
The difficulty in integrating these systems is two-fold. First, there’s a decreasing number of people who have knowledge of these legacy systems. IT professionals that understand the coding of these systems are retiring. Second, legacy systems typically cannot work with new software due to differences in functionality. For example, mobile features didn’t even exist when these systems were created and are impossible to implement.
Replacing vs. Maintaining legacy systems
In today's ever-changing tech landscape, businesses can often find themselves debating whether or not to upgrade their systems for increased value. While the potential rewards of new technologies are certainly enticing, sometimes the cost of replacing legacy systems is just too high; especially if margins are slim and demand has declined. In these situations, it may be wiser to stick with what’s already in place rather than risk taking on costly upgrades that might not pay off.
RELIABILITY & FAMILIARITY
Replacing a legacy system is going to create a lot of change in your business. Those who use the systems need to be trained on the new software, and this might impact other operations too. Along with that, a legacy system generally lasts so long due to its known reliability. Employees know what the system is capable of, and know the core functions well. All of this is thrown into the unknown. Employees need to learn the limits of the new software and understand how the new system can support the business.
Benefits of Replacing Legacy Systems
Revamping your workforce management system can be a daunting task. However, the cost of clinging to outdated legacy systems will end up being far higher than investing in new technology solutions for your organization. Ultimately, exchanging old processes and equipment is worth it - even if time-consuming and expensive upfront.
BUSINESS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
As a business grows and develops, it can outgrow the key functions of its legacy systems. Operations may need to be scaled, strategies and objectives change, and with that, systems need to improve. In these cases, the business value generated from an upgrade always exceeds the savings from maintaining older, legacy systems.
Automation is essential for businesses that are growing and scaling operations. Legacy systems often lack the ability and features needed to automate essential processes that can improve productivity and profitability. This is another area where the opportunities for upgrading outweigh the benefits of maintaining a legacy system.
ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENT
Depending on your industry, your systems might be a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent for your business. More often than not, employees want to work with the latest technologies and to work for forward-looking companies. Those who fail to replace legacy systems and embrace change will struggle to hire new talent.
There are far more benefits to replacing legacy systems than there are to maintaining them. However, as we mention above, there are cases where maintenance makes sense. Celayix helps companies make the change with their workforce management systems to improve operations and save money. Here are two examples of how legacy systems can impact an organization, and the improvements that come with replacing them.
NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM
Legacy systems are often more likely to crash. This is usually because they are phasing out, and receive very few if any, performance updates. Plus, with only a few people who understand how to troubleshoot these systems, a crash can mean a big interruption in business operations. At North Shore Community Action Programs in Massachusetts, the crash of their legacy workforce management software prompted the replacement and upgrade to an Advanced Workforce Management Solution. Their old system was cumbersome to operate, with data existing in multiple locations, and caused delays in payroll and billing by multiple days. With their new system, they reduced their payroll processing time by 75% and can receive payment from accounts receivable up to a month sooner than before.
ORDWAY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
At Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, they were using a custom legacy workforce management system, operating on a DOS file system. A custom legacy system like theirs served well for many years. However, it became extremely outdated and failed to completely serve their needs. Simple tasks like printing a schedule or switching screens proved time-consuming and required workarounds.
With new scheduling and time & attendance system, they are now able to perform workforce management tasks in less than half the time. Their new system also ensures that scheduling follows union rules such as seniority. Through the web portal, they can easily see employee availability and shifts in a calendar view. This improved staff morale, and they were able to save lots of paper too!