27th July 2023

Legacy System: Stick or Twist? Key Considerations

Legacy System: Stick or Twist? Key Considerations

Legacy technology still plays an important role in the operations of businesses today. In fact, 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. Research suggests one of the biggest barriers to upgrading (or moving away from) legacy systems is the associated costs involved.

The term ‘legacy’ doesn’t always refer to age either, it can also mean a system that can’t be easily adapted to perform new roles to keep up with new demands from the organisation.

Deciding whether to stick or twist can be a tough decision, especially when faced with IT budget challenges limiting development, despite negative system feedback from staff and (potentially) customers.


Which One's Right For Me?

Deciding the best approach between keeping or upgrading depends on various important factors, including your business needs, budget constraints and wider business objectives.

Speaking to a third-party vendor like PSP will give you impartial and practical advice on deciding your next steps.


Reasons to Maintain

There are times when an older system still fits the brief and performs the jobs you need it to. Legacy system support could be the most effective approach in any of the following instances:

  1. Are there cost limitations? Cost is a big factor when deciding to commit to an IT project. Upgrading your legacy system will come with an upfront cost, whereas the costs of maintenance can be spread over a period of time. If budget constraints are an issue, maintenance could be a more budget-friendly option.
  2. Does your system’s functionality hit the brief? If your system still meets essential business requirements and doesn’t hinder day-to-day operations, maintenance could be your main preference.
  3. Will it have a big impact? Consider how much of an impact an upgrade will have on your business or customers. If upgrading only offers minimal benefits, then weigh up the cost of modernisation against the ROI.
  4. Is your legacy system still compliant? If your industry requires you to meet certain regulatory and legal standards, you must ensure your current system meets those requirements. If it does, then a move away may not be at the top of your agenda right now. If not though, an upgrade should be your number one priority.
  5. What are your short-term and long-term goals? If your business is in the process of transition, a practical short-term approach could be to pay for maintenance while the organisation outlines its future vision. Likewise, if the long-term vision is to remain with the existing software, it would be wise to consider investing in modernising the system so it can adapt to fresh challenges and growth.


Reasons to Upgrade

Have you considered legacy system modernisation? There are many longer-term benefits however, the benefits must outweigh the cost. Here are some instances where upgrading your legacy system is an effective solution:

  1. Is system performance affecting efficiency? One of the most common challenges businesses face with a legacy system is its inability to meet current performance requirements. Whether that’s because they’re new requirements that the system wasn’t initially built to do, or because of increased user loads due to hiring more staff or a large growth in customers.
  2. Is security up to date? Older technology can be vulnerable to security threats, particularly when security updates are no longer available. While your security status stays the same, threat actors are getting more and more sophisticated. If your data is at risk, you must take action now.
  3. Is scalability a barrier? As your business expands, your system must be able to accommodate the new user and workloads in order to operate at the required capacity. An upgrade to the system will improve this scalability and ensure your system can cope with future growth.
  4. Can you integrate newer technologies? In our experience, unsupported legacy software can be difficult to integrate with modern software and tools. Modernisation can improve the ability to integrate internal and third-party applications with your system.
  5. Do you receive negative feedback from dissatisfied users? Outdated interfaces and poor user experience can lead to unhappy users and low productivity.


Modernisation Options

Modernisation is the best approach when you’re not ready to completely scrap and replace what’s in place already. It’s the best of both worlds: you can keep what’s already yours but transform it into something more modern.

A key benefit of legacy system modernisation is that you are in control of how far you want to go. At PSP, we provide a range of modernisation services that are tailored to your budget and requirements:

  • Add Functionality: We can extend the capabilities of your system so it can perform more advanced roles to suit your business need. One of the ways we achieve this is through bolt-on applications.
  • User Experience and User Interface (UI/UX): We can make some minor changes to the back end to tighten its performance and give it a brand-new, modern interface to impress your users.
  • Improve performance: If your business applications are slow and cost you a lot of money in repairs, we can perform a legacy audit and patch up the parts that are slowing your business down.
  • Data Integration: If your department data is stored in silos, we can bring your disparate data together under one data warehouse to give you real-time, accurate business data.


Support Options

If your legacy currently fits the brief and you see no reason to upgrade (or there is no budget to upgrade right now), then third-party maintenance for your end-of-life systems is a pragmatic route to go down for many reasons.

A main issue with relying on legacy systems is ensuring you have enough resources on-hand with knowledge of your system. We’ve spoken to many businesses whose legacy developer suddenly left and they needed to hire a legacy developer urgently. They came to PSP after soon discovering how small the talent pool for legacy developers really is.

As an experienced legacy system support provider, the two most important parts of our service to the clients are:

  1. At least two developers and customer support staff are fully trained in their system, so there is always someone on hand for you to speak to about your system.
  2. Issues, bugs and maintenance tasks are completed within the agreed SLA times.

We pride ourselves on having decade-long partnerships with some of our clients, which are achieved through our dedication to providing a reliable and value-for-money service which goes above and beyond.


Your New Legacy System Partner


psp it design and development


PSP is a Microsoft Gold Partner that specialises in taking over old systems, extracting all of their functionality and utilising the full extent of their capabilities.

We provide agile legacy system support for companies who want to ensure the reliable running of their critical systems, as well as application modernisation for businesses who are ready to upgrade their software or looking to move it onto the cloud.

Book a legacy system consultation. Email: letstalk@psp-it.co.uk or phone 01775 722377.

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