7th November 2023

From Legacy to Agility

Almost every business manager has experienced the constant frustration of trying to run their departments whilst battling with a slow, outdated business system.

Whether you’re a manager who is always fighting the losing battle of getting the help you need, or you’re a director who always hears the groans and frustrations from your staff, you can feel powerless towards making any difference because of your limited technical knowledge or the arguments of “we’ve always had the same system so we don’t need to change it”, or “there’s nothing we can do about it, it’s all down to its age.”

It's no surprise that many business leaders feel at the brink, with an overwhelming feeling to rip out and replace the system with something new, especially when terms such as digital transformation are always branded about.

Digital Transformation is a restructuring of technology and digital processes that almost every large business tries to achieve. In this digital-first economy, it is vital for businesses to have all their systems up to speed with the latest technology, so they stay ahead of their competitors.

You might see digital transformation as a buzzword used by many without meaning, but it is the opposite of that. It presents a great opportunity to reimagine your existing systems and future-proof them to really move the business forward.


How Many Old Systems Are Still in Use Today?

Outdated (unsupported) systems are also referred to as legacy systems. The term ‘legacy system’ is used interchangeably between IT professionals, business leaders and everyone in between, causing some confusion around what exactly a legacy system is.

Gartner refers to a legacy system as an “information system that may be based on outdated technologies but is critical to day-to-day operations.” Simply put, it’s an old computer system that is vital for the business to perform their operations, despite no longer being considered as modern.

On average, 31% of an organisation’s technology is made up of legacy systems, despite the documented drawbacks of relying on legacy systems for day-to-day running.


Why Do Businesses Want to Move On?

According to one survey of 1,420 IT decision-makers, 72% said at least one out of four applications were undergoing active modernisation, and 24% said more than half of all their applications were being modernised.

There are numerous reasons why your business may feel ready to move on from your legacy system. However, it’s important to note you can still achieve business growth and digital transformation through the optimisation of your current system.

For the past 15 years, we’ve worked with several businesses to modernise their existing systems and use them as a catalyst for digital transformation.

Here are some of the common challenges businesses face with their legacy systems and why they come to PSP for help:

  • The needs of the system have changed since it was built and cannot adapt to meet new business demand
  • Very limited (or poor) support and maintenance
  • Shortage of developers with legacy knowledge makes it difficult to hire staff with the right skills
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Poor system performance damages business efficiency
  • Difficult to integrate with other applications and software


Stop Seeing How It Holds You Back; Start Visioning Where It Can Take You

If you’re thinking the solution is to rip it out and start again, there are some reasons why we suggest you should reconsider. The first step is to stop asking “Where is this system holding us back?” and start asking “What can this system achieve?”

We’re proud of the versatility of our development team and their ability to take older systems and give them a complete makeover. Here are some of the ways you can leverage your legacy system to make it achieve what you want.


1. Add New Functionality

A common problem with legacy systems is that they were designed to deliver a specific function. Even though they’ve never had any problems in delivering this specific function, they can’t perform new roles as and when they are required to. This means you are left with a system that doesn’t execute all the tasks you need it to.


2. Explore Cloud Migration

Cloud computing provides an effective way to modernise your old IT systems. Moving your existing systems to the cloud can provide enhanced scalability and flexibility due to the ease of integrating third-party apps with cloud apps. It could also open up your business to other sophisticated cloud and web services.


3. Embrace An Agile Approach

Modernising an entire legacy can be a daunting task, not to mention cause disruption to a business if not done correctly. Consider breaking down the system into smaller components that can be modernised independently. This allows for a more agile and cost-effective approach as you can focus on the parts of the system that have higher priority.


4. Add New Functionality

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) work as a bridge between your internal systems and newer technologies. They are a cost-effective way to add new functionality and expose your system to more modern applications, the cloud and mobile platforms; opening up your business and users to a new world of possibilities.

At PSP, we have extensive experience in integrating third-party applications into on-premise systems to add new functionality and modules to client systems.


5. Focus on User Experience and Engagement

Digital transformation should not just be about technology. It should integrate your People, Systems and Process (PSP). Your people are the users – whether that’s staff, customers, or suppliers – and you can take advantage of modernisation tools to improve the usability of your applications. This includes streamlining workflows, introducing self-service capabilities, or utilising automation and AI.


6. Improved Data

Running your business through multiple disparate systems can lead to siloed department data. Through modernisation efforts, you can make these separate systems “talk to each other” and pass data between them. This can then be extracted into a data warehouse, giving you access to real-time data across your business. This allows for improved data analysis and more data-informed decisions.


7. Improve Performance

There are many reasons why you’d modernise your outdated system: reduced costs, more reliability, increased agility, and improved system performance.

It might be that your system does all the tasks it should and you’re happy with the support you receive, however, its performance and sluggish speed are what lets it down. We are skilled in executing business systems audits where we take a thorough look at the code, architecture and technology stack to find where your system is slowing you down. This allows us to identify the most cost-effective and practical solutions that will improve how your system performs, without having to make too many major changes.


8. Continous Improvement

For your organisation to stay one step ahead in the face of modernisation, you should regularly review your technology and the latest technology trends to ensure your systems remain relevant. Continually seek feedback from users, keep staff well-trained and continuously seek opportunities for innovation. With technology constantly evolving, a system that was classed as modern last year could today be classed as outdated.


Real-Life Examples

For the past 15 years, we have enjoyed supporting and improving client systems. As well as developing new bespoke systems, our developers have specialised in old tech and helped businesses bring their older or unsupported systems up to the latest frameworks and releases.

Here are two examples of how we’ve taken a client’s existing unsupported application and transformed it into something that completely streamlined their operations and increased their business efficiency:

(Note: client names are kept anonymous and images used are of our VISION CRM for illustrative purposes)

Membership Management Platform

Working for a chartered institute, we took their old membership platform and revived it by adding new functionality and modules.

As part of the work, we integrated the system with third-party applications and their website, significantly improving their member experience and streamlining their core business functions.

Through our work, their once unagile internal system became the central hub for several of their key business functions, such as their events management, exam management, procurement and finance, among many others. It brought disparate parts of the organisation together to remove duplication of work and increase collaboration between departments.

The fully integrated management system was developed from the core functionality of the existing system and showed how an older system can be extended to deliver a successful digital transformation project.


ERP System

Another client, a UK-based manufacturer, approached PSP when they needed support for their ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. Their existing system was built on a now-unsupported platform, resulting in limitations in functionality and keeping up with a larger customer base. We assigned them a dedicated developer who worked with them two days per week to develop their system and integrate it with their e-commerce website. The project gave them a fully integrated sales order process where their product inventory and sales order processing were significantly improved.


Start Modernising Your Slow Tech Today

Are you increasingly frustrated with your out-of-date business system slowing your company down? A more cost-effective alternative to scrapping and replacing the system is to enhance it.

At PSP, we are experienced in taking over unsupported or underperforming systems and taking them one step further into the future.

Speak to one of our IT professionals about your legacy system and we can tell you how we can help.

Email: letstalk@psp-it.co.uk or phone: 01775 722377.

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