Legacy systems are often misconstrued. The word legacy suggests something that is old, which is accurate, but the assumption of inability that comes with that isn’t always just.
So let’s start at the top: what is the definition of a legacy system? Gartner, describes it as ‘An information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.’ These systems were likely top of the range when they were installed, the cream of the crop if you like. But as technology progressed and new versions released, they became outdated.
So if they’re outdated do I need to replace them?
Not necessarily – we hear your sigh of relief! These systems may be perfectly functional still despite upgraded or newer editions being available. It all comes down to knowing the impact a legacy system has on your business compared to a modern system.
We’ve seen legacy systems that are decades old but are absolutely critical in the daily running of the business. They don’t hinder any other systems and they do their job perfectly. So there really is no need to upgrade.
But that’s not always the case. Let’s look at an example. Your system is completely functional, it does its job well but that’s about all it does. Unfortunately, it doesn’t integrate well with any of the new tech you’ve had to install as part of your growth. This, in turn, has caused more work for your internal teams due to additional processes. It also means that your Marketing Manager can’t run the campaigns they wanted, as the system doesn’t support them. You’re now missing out on opportunities and increasing your processing time. You’ll agree that it’s time to say goodbye to your legacy system.
So you’ve got multiple systems and you know something needs to change, but you’re not sure what. Where should you begin?
Firstly, we would advise utilising Gartner’s TIME model – we’re huge fans at TQ. To make it work you need to be completely honest and have feedback from the different stakeholders. It will provide you with guidance on each area of your systems, clarity if you so wish.
Secondly, we would recommend reaching out to us at TQ. Legacy Systems play a crucial part in most businesses, and this is a particular area of focus for our team. We’ll help you evaluate your current assets, the pains they’re solving/causing and the cost of each system. With our analysis, we’ll provide you with a roadmap; detailing the next steps you should take and where to invest to ensure your business is sustainable and continues growing for years to come. This piece of work will quite literally change the game for you.
So there you have it. Not all legacy systems are bad, but they do need to be managed. Don’t rely on the old saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, because there’s a chance it could be awfully expensive.