In my experience, there’s almost always a system within an organisation that relies on outdated technology. It might be the OS your tech runs on, the programming language it’s written in, the libraries it employs, or the compliance and security standards it follows.
It could be located on the main platform that you use every day, or maybe it’s that little-known Access or FoxPro database that quietly hums in the corner without anybody knowing its importance.
Regardless, it’s there, lurking and ready to disrupt your business.
With roughly seven in 10 (69%) businesses believing that their organisation is being held back through the possession of such tech, it’s no surprise that the need to unshackle from legacy systems has grown significantly over the past few years.
The challenges of outdated technology
In today’s organisations, particularly those in regulated industries, having an awareness of the technology stack in use and staying ahead of any required updates is vitally important.
From my conversations with clients, a risk analysis of existing platforms will often highlight several key challenges that come with operating outdated or ‘legacy’ technology. These challenges include:
- Hardware limitations
- Difficulty in recruiting or retaining staff to maintain the systems
- Compatibility issues with modern software and hardware
- Inability to integrate with newer platforms.
In addition to these challenges, IT teams reportedly dedicate a shocking 39% of their time to upgrading outdated technology, while 28% of companies report that more than half of their IT team’s time is devoted to this task alone.
This is a substantial allocation of time that could be better utilised for fostering innovation and enhancing customer experiences – if only the organisation could break free from its legacy technology.
Reaping the benefits of modernisation
Implementing a modernisation strategy can provide a wealth of benefits – the most critical aspect being the confidence that security and compliance obligations are being met.
However, other advantages include improved performance, efficiency, resilience, greater scalability, and considerable cost savings, particularly when migrating to the cloud.
Here’s a multi-step process that I believe can help mitigate the risks of legacy technology in your business:
- Identify – Understand your systems landscape and pinpoint any outdated or at-risk software that should be upgraded to modern standards. Conduct the appropriate assessments to comprehend any security implications for your current platforms.
- Stabilise – Work with legacy systems experts to mitigate immediate risk, both from a security perspective and in terms of stability and resilience.
- Modernise – Design and architect a modern, cost-effective, resilient replacement for outdated technologies, or create a long-term plan to ensure the business risk of retaining the legacy system is minimised.
- Support – After stabilisation or modernisation, implement a support and maintenance program. This ensures continuous high levels of service from your platform while also avoiding the use of unsupported software in the future.
Successful client outcomes
I’ve seen many businesses successfully deliver these services, achieving impressive results. One client had software written in Visual Basic 6 (long out of support), with minimal ongoing updates, performing a critical business function. With the original source code no longer available, we worked to reverse engineer the implementation, modernise the existing codebase for resilience, transition from legacy hardware to virtualisation, and finally initiate a program to ensure the system is maintained moving forward.
Numerous customers have migrated spreadsheets or old database technologies to dedicated cloud-based applications. They have reduced operating costs, enhanced performance and features, and now possess an excellent platform for future development to drive innovation in their businesses.
Taking the first steps towards modernisation
If you would like to learn how the Davies team can help your business improve its software platforms and unshackle itself from the restraints of legacy tech, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion to understand how a discovery workshop might start your journey to modernisation.
Chief Technology Officer