Modernizing Legacy Systems

How do you know when it’s time to buy a new car? From a purely economic standpoint, the answer is simple: when the cost of maintaining your old vehicle becomes prohibitive. The same holds true for your legacy IT system.

If your business has aging IT infrastructure, you probably spend 75% of your tech budget simply maintaining that old system. Instead of working on new user applications or answering data calls from clients, your IT staff spends its time patching up the network just to keep things running.

Meanwhile, user expectations are higher than they’ve ever been. Smart phones and tablets are not just a novelty anymore – they are the modern standard. Your clients and your employees expect all the information they need at their fingertips. They expect their data to arrive quickly and in a user-friendly package.

Does your legacy IT system deliver that? And if it doesn’t, how should you proceed?

Modernization instead of wholesale replacement

If your system is less than 10 years old, it can likely be modernized at a fraction of the cost of all-out replacement.

Back-end hardware (like servers, switches, and routers) can often be re-coded to operate more efficiently. Meanwhile, the front end of the system – the user interface – gets a complete makeover.

For the user, the result is a system that looks and feels brand new. For your bottom line, the result will be more palatable than wholesale replacement. And, your IT department won’t be confronted with an entirely new system to manage.

Consider the cost of inaction

A thorough analysis of your legacy system should focus primarily on the Total Cost of Ownership:

  • How much are you paying to operate and maintain your system?
  • If the system crashes regularly, how does the downtime affect your bottom line?
  • Many legacy systems were not designed as mobile platforms – is wider exposure to the Internet leaving your network unsecure?

Perhaps most importantly, you should consider the cost of not providing the speed and ease of access your clients and employees have come to expect.

Decide whether you need to modernize

What are your 10 most profitable accounts? Which segment of your business has been showing a drop in sales? Who are your top salespeople this month? What are your top five pending deals? What deals have been on the books for a while without moving forward?

Any decent executive can answer these types of questions. What matters is how fast and how accurately you can answer them. And that depends on the quality of your IT architecture. If you have to wait weeks for your staff to deliver a report – or if you find yourself taking a magnifying glass to a 500-page Excel spreadsheet – your legacy system needs an upgrade.

Keys to a successful IT modernization

Your data is your lifeblood, so modernization should be carefully analyzed and planned. A successfully modernized system should:

(1) Maintain any custom business solutions you have already developed and

(2) Provide an updated user interface, increase server speed, and improve data analysis capabilities.

The end result will increase revenue and productivity, reduce costs, and drive better business results.

Would you like to tap into the thinking at Mind Over Machines regarding your legacy system? Contact us for a complimentary consultation so that we can gain a better understanding of your technology needs. We will share our initial thoughts about a path forward.

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