On average, 31% of an organisation’s technology is made up of outdated IT systems, applications or software. To give them their official name: legacy systems.
The term ‘legacy system’ is used interchangeably between IT professionals, business leaders and everyone in between, causing some confusion around what exactly classes as one.
Gartner refers to a legacy system as “an information system that may be based on outdated technologies but is critical to day-to-day operations.” To put it simply, it’s an old computer software or piece of IT that is no longer considered modern, yet it is deep-rooted in the business and key for their operations.
Alongside everyday problems such as slow performance, system errors, data loss and high costs, there are also hidden dangers to relying on outdated technology. Here are some of them and the huge impact they could be having on your company:
1. Running Costs
Research estimates that organisations spend anywhere between 60-80% on keeping their older IT systems running. IT leaders are under pressure to optimise their IT budgets, which means businesses must be smart with their IT investments and allocate enough resources to IT that will grow the business. With 80% of the budget taken up for ‘leaving the lights on’, a business can’t expect its IT to lead to much innovation using just 20% of its IT budget.
As well as costs associated with technical support, it’s also worth considering the higher energy consumption of old IT systems compared to newer ones. Research by Berkely Lab and Northwestern University, funded by Google, found that cloud computing can save businesses a staggering 85% in energy costs per year.
Migrating to the cloud or outsourcing your IT support could bring down your maintenance costs substantially. Want to find out how? Contact PSP
2. Wasted Use of IT's Time
When calculating the financial impact of old IT in your business, also consider how long your IT teams spend on patching and maintaining legacy systems. One survey found that developers spend 42% of their time repairing company legacy systems. That’s 104 days per year for each full-time developer.
This figure shouldn’t just be taken at face value, either. The survey emphasised the point that developers don’t want to be spending too much time fixing older applications. They want to be working with modern languages and frameworks, something that is proved by the legacy skills shortage. If your developers are spending a large chunk of their time working on your old IT, they could become unmotivated and seek employment elsewhere.
Outsourcing your maintenance for older IT systems will free up valuable time for your IT teams where they can focus on newer technologies that will grow the business.
3. Loss of Productivity
Can all your members of staff still work without access to the IT system? Even if the system drops out for a couple of minutes, the productivity impact that has on your teams is huge. Productivity and morale are two important factors in sustaining a successful workplace, however, both are negatively affected because of unreliable IT.
You may see loss of productivity and low morale as an indirect result of your outdated IT systems, but they still result in big financial losses for your business.
Want a managed contract where your bugs are patched, and issues are fixed in line with contracted SLAs? Contact PSP today and see how we can help.
4. Legacy Skills Shortage: How Quickly Can You Find a New Developer?
In recent years, the IT industry has experienced a legacy skills shortage. The UK government’s attempts to upgrade their old systems stalled due to tech skills shortages. We recently explored the reasons why there is a skills shortage for developers with knowledge of end-of-life systems. Some of the reasons included older developers retiring, education and training being more focused on modern technologies, and an eagerness amongst developers to work with newer coding languages and frameworks.
What would happen if your developer left unexpectedly? Are you confident you could quickly bring in the resources to keep your systems performing? At PSP, at least 2 developers are trained on every client system, meaning there is always someone on hand to help you when you need it. To find out more, let’s talk.
5. Reputational Damage
Customers and clients are more tech-savvy than ever, meaning slow and cumbersome IT systems impact your ability to meet changing customer expectations and technological advancements. Security vulnerabilities, performance issues and limited capabilities can result in data breaches, system downtime and a frustrated customer experience. All of these can chip away at the trust people have in your brand.
Are you happy with your IT system but just want to speed up its performance or modernise its look and feel? Read more about legacy system modernisation and how it can revolutionise your business.
6. Slow Processes
Inefficiency can eat up as much as 30% of your company’s revenue every year. While this includes both IT-related and non-IT-related functions, it shows just how much slow processes or non-value-added tasks are costing your business.
It may be seen as an extra 10 minutes here and there; however, these costs soon add up, which is why automating these tasks improves your bottom line.
Typically, older systems don’t allow for much process automation, meaning manual work takes longer and wastes money. It’s important to remember that these inefficiencies are seen across all levels of the business, including the senior level. So, freeing up time for your staff to focus on other tasks is vital for ensuring their achieving maximum efficiency.
PSP stands for People, Systems and Processes. By focusing on these three vital components of your business, we design and build robust systems that improve your processes to enhance the performance of your people. Click here to find out more about PSP.
7. Hard To Adopt New Technologies
It is estimated that 90% of businesses are held back in terms of growth and enhanced efficiency due to old technology.
When a system was built several years ago, it was specially designed to carry out a particular job. It might even still perform that role just as well now as it did back then.
The problem lies with the fact it can’t perform any other tasks than the one it was originally intended for. This is a problem when your business grows and you require more capabilities from your computer system.
Are you happy with the performance of your IT system but want it to perform new functions? A cost-effective way to achieve this is through integrating third-party applications into your IT system; also known as bolt-ons. Click here to find out more.
It’s hard to put a figure or statistic on the number of older systems attacked versus newer ones, however it is common knowledge that attackers see old technology as a vulnerability and a preferred route into a business compared to the cloud.
With attackers changing their methods and techniques, a system built to defend against the threats of yesteryear might not be fully equipped to deal with modern cyber techniques.
The NCSC (National Cybersecurity Centre) recommends businesses should move away from legacy systems. Or at the very least, develop risk mitigation strategies to prevent the risk to older IT systems.
Want a cyber security audit of your digital infrastructure but don’t know where to start? Speak to one of our cyber security specialists to see how you can build an easy-to-follow strategy for bolstering your company’s cyber defences.
If your company relies on a legacy system and you want to do something about it, there are three main areas you could follow:
If it's not broken, don’t fix it. If you’re satisfied with the functionality, performance and security of the system, there might not be any reason to update or replace it. Your system must be reliably supported. That way, if there are any snags or a developer moves on, you know it will be up and running in next to no time.
Perhaps you want to move the system to the cloud or add some new features, or you might just want to improve the look and feel of your system. Modernising your existing IT systems and applications is a cost-effective way to update your company’s technology and extract more value out of your legacy systems.
If options 1 and 2 don’t work for you, and you have the budget for it, it could be time to replace your system with a brand new one. PSP is experienced in supporting your existing IT system while developing a brand-new, bespoke system alongside it that is fully tailored to your business and built for scaling.
Overall, the decision of whether to keep your existing IT (despite its age), modernising it, or completely replacing it, is a tough choice. Especially when you don’t have all the technical advice to hand.
PSP always remains impartial when helping businesses reach a decision. Our Business Systems Analysts will review all aspects of your system and compare that to your current business objectives, company spending and more. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision about where you want to take your company’s IT.
Want to find out more? Talk to one of our IT experts for some friendly and impartial advice about your end-of-life applications.
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