Automobiles offer a great metaphor to describe business IT. All things being equal, they're reliable and efficient when they're brand new. As you rack up the miles, they'll hold up pretty well with the usual maintenance and parts replacements. When parts for your particular model become obsolete and unattainable, you might still rig moderately successful repairs with common household items. But once the heap reaches a certain point, it ceases to provide economical service and extracts money from your budget that should rightfully go towards a new car.
So it goes, too, with legacy technology systems. While your enterprise may face a lengthy and somewhat costly process to replace legacy systems with modern, flexible IT, inaction can no longer remain an option. As mentioned in a recent article in the Deloitte University Press, "Start-ups and companies without strong ties to legacy systems will find themselves increasingly able to innovate in service delivery, unhindered by decades of technical debt and legacy decisions." In short, the young'uns will enjoy an increasing opportunity to outrun your business. Vigorous competition demands new technology.
As painful as it may be to make the transition, what can you expect to gain from 21st-century technology?
Old systems harbor few mysteries for cyber criminals. Applications built on platforms dating back to the the 90's and earlier, if not protected like Fort Knox, sit around waiting for an attack with little more than a dead bolt and barking dog for protection. Cloud-based applications enjoy far superior security and could make the financial case to update from legacy systems on its merits alone.
In many companies, data gets collected and stored separately in HR, financial and operational systems. Although each department's information intimately relates to that of the others, often these silos can't communicate. Sometimes new applications can stitch together systems or their data with a modicum of success. However, as more and more digital resources get diverted to add-ons and wrap-arounds joining disparate applications, sooner or later, the tires on your legacy system could blow under the extreme weight. Not to mention, newer systems will have sensible, user-friendly features that, among other workflow benefits, compile data reports for easy analysis and action.
Speed of Productivity
Weighty systems are slow systems. Glacial computers make work frustrating for employees who are used to speed on their own personal devices. Highly technical work, such as engineering and drafting, ought to have responsive computers lest it become swifter to return to manual processes.
Avoidance of IT Failure
Like a car, old, overburdened hardware and software tend to break down over time. IT departments in constant reactionary mode have no time to innovate towards revenue generation and business goal advances.
Closure of the Black Hole in the Supply Chain
As more business partners phase out their own legacy technology, new methods of interaction are sure to arise that will become blind to your legacy systems. Ordering, shipping, receiving, invoicing and bill payments can be made dramatically more efficient, especially as customers and providers join the modern tech bonanza. At some point, legacy systems will lose their ability to digitally traverse the supply chain.
Having secure mobile access to your applications can revolutionize the way your business earns money. Once, you had to be on-site to gather the necessary information to go forward with your work. Or, you had to have a phone and pay someone to be onsite to convey essential information while you were in the field. With mobile connectivity, your information is ready to go via your mobile devices. No matter your location, if you have a computer and an internet connection your information lives no further than your screen.
Agile and streamlined IT programs and applications developed with future innovations already roughed in have proven their business value already. By replacing your legacy technology systems as soon as possible, you position your enterprise for growth and exciting new possibilities.