Companies may explore solutions to update their mission-critical yet severely outdated systems for a variety of reasons. These could be the necessity to interface with a particular new technology, repair a component that is underperforming, satisfy new regulatory standards, or any number of other reasons.
Even though all of these reasons for updating your legacy system are legitimate and significant, it’s crucial to stand back and consider the larger picture before beginning any projects to upgrade or modernize your legacy system. At the end of the day, achieving business outcomes is more important than making particular fixes or including a few new features.
What Are The Real-World Reasons For Businesses To Modernize Legacy Systems?
There are numerous reasons why businesses need to modernize their systems. One could be the cost factor. Another could be lack of expertise within the team.
We have compiled a list of reasons and factors that we feel can influence a business’ decision to modernize their systems.
- – Legacy Skills Shortage
Employees with legacy skills are retiring, bringing with them years of expertise and critical information. Businesses are scrambling to find replacements for the decreasing mainframe workforce.
For years, there has been concern about the imminent retirement tsunami of legacy-skilled Baby Boomers, and requests for younger programmers to be trained in mainframe and other legacy skills – but this hasn’t happened.
IT executives are increasingly grappling with resourcing difficulties, either failing to locate personnel with the appropriate skills or paying more for those who do. This cost is only going to rise as developers with the appropriate abilities become progressively more scarce.
- – Lack of Interoperability
Many businesses are now implementing digital transformation strategies, new engagement platforms, and mobile, cloud-based applications for customers, business partners, and employees. There’s also a focus on IoT (Internet of Things), which refers to the proliferation of Cloud-connected gadgets that provide data back to a company. The challenge arises when these new digital apps and devices are expected to interact with legacy, mainframe-based systems of record.
The necessity for middleware to connect new Cloud platforms and old legacy applications has arisen as a result of the need for compatibility between the two. There are no easy or conventional techniques to integrate legacy programmes and data in some circumstances. At the very least, this problem adds to the complexity and cost of your IT environment. In the worst-case scenario, a lack of interoperability represents a major roadblock to digital transformation efforts.
The necessity for interoperability software layers to connect newer applications to older legacy systems adds expenditures that would not be necessary if the applications had a more homogeneous technical architecture.
- – Technical Debt
Many businesses have been left with old, out-of-date coding in order to enable specific vital functionality in critical legacy systems. This has not just the traditional redevelopment cost associated with technical debt, but also an ongoing operating cost because the coding can be so old and complex that programmers avoid it, making it a ‘no go zone.’
This slows down enhancements and has a substantial impact on an IT department’s capacity to respond to business and customer requirements. This has significant ramifications for an organization’s agility and capacity to respond quickly to market demands. While remediating old code may not be a cost you want to incur, delaying it would almost certainly lengthen and increase the cost of future development efforts.
- – Software Entropy
This may be summed up in two essential points – a utilized computer programme will be updated, and as it is adjusted, its complexity will increase unless one actively works against it.
For legacy applications, this is bad news.
Many have been changed multiple times by a variety of programmers over the years. As a result, many programmes have become ‘brittle,’ making it more difficult to improve them.
Any changes are therefore more likely to generate unanticipated mistakes or difficulties elsewhere in the application, adding to time and cost delays.
For organizations with legacy applications, the combined consequence of these four concerns is a rising total cost of ownership.
On top of that, legacy software and hardware have additional licensing and operational costs.
Many mainframe applications rely on outdated databases and utility software, which are disproportionately costly, and therefore have high operational expenses when compared to commodity software systems or the cloud.
Legacy applications and infrastructures are a drain on an organization’s resources, diverting expenditures that may be better spent on game-changing innovations.
However, with the correct strategy, application modernisation can provide the foundation for a business to prosper in the data-driven digital world, with specialized functionality and data that often differentiates an organization’s operations.
According to Forrester, “Real digital transformation needs fast, broad modernisation of old systems into new Cloud-based systems that are nimble, mobile, and capable of delivering disruptive, real-time intelligence,”
Modernizing applications can be difficult and disruptive, requiring specialized knowledge, approaches, and tools.
However, the issue remains: can your company afford to ignore the roadblocks that prevent these vital systems from becoming an intrinsic component of your company’s reaction to changing market demands? Let’s talk!