5 Dos and Don’ts of Updating a Legacy System


Whether you’ve decided it’s time to update your legacy system -- or you’re just entertaining the possibility -- it can be stressful to think about all the pieces that go into a successful launch. Will it actually help my company become more efficient? Will the investment be worth it? Sometimes the most difficult part is just knowing where to begin. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 5 dos and don'ts for updating your legacy system so you can stop stressing and start planning.

Don’t lose your data

Think of it like this: when you decide to get rid of your old computer in favor of a new model, you’re thinking about how you will move files from the old to the new. You might even use a flash drive as a way of backing up precious files. Updating a company-wide system is no different: how are you protecting vital information during the transition? Maybe cloud storage is your company's chosen method -- or you went the external hard drive route. It’s not about what method you have, the important thing is you have one.

Break it up

It makes sense: you want to be an industry leader instead of a follower -- and this makes it desirable to push through a new system all at once. DON’T. Updating your system in bite-sized pieces helps employees adjust to such a large change and reduces the possibility of workflow halting bugs. Say it with me: “only move onto the next phase of implementation when the phase before is complete.”

Plan the transition

You’ve heard it again and again -- before starting any project you should have a plan. What’s your timeline? What happens in each phase? How do you measure success? All these questions are things you need answers to for successfully updating a legacy system. Once you have a plan, make sure you share it with everyone on your team so no one is left in the dark about their piece of the system upgrade puzzle.

Employ beta testing

Most of us can attest to this: sometimes when you’re doing a project it takes 5 hours instead of four, or a piece of information that should make the whole thing come together is nowhere to be found. It’s rare to complete a project without any hiccups along the way, and upgrading a legacy system is no different. Instead of going live to your whole company with the updated version, consider only having a small group try it out. This way all the speed bumps are taken care of before the system update “grand-opening.”

Keep your employees up-to-date

For your updated system to be effective, your team needs to how to use it forwards, backwards, upside down, and sideways. Waiting until an employee says “with the old system I did it like this, what do I do now?” is a symptom of a reactive approach you should avoid. Having a workshop where everyone is free to ask questions can expedite the learning process.

Perform cost-benefit analysis

No matter how much money your current system costs just to keep it running, thinking of the investment required for an update is enough to drive many people away. Think of it like this: every time your water heater breaks down you could have a repairman come and conclude you need this part or that part -- but this eventually adds up to a new unit many times over. Instead, it makes sense to invest in a new water heater and watch it pay for itself over time. Always do a cost-benefit analysis -- the optimized workflow of an updated system could lead to huge savings for your company in the long run.

The bottom-line

Updating a legacy system is cumbersome. It involves deciding who should do what, creating a timeline, calculating your potential ROI -- and the list goes on. You need someone who knows where you should begin and can guide you through the process. You need an expert IT team.

With most IT vendors claiming to offer the same thing, it can be difficult to separate the real deal from those who claim to be tech savvy but can’t deliver. Take our quiz to find out how your company’s IT stacks up.

If you’re done looking and ready for an IT team built on expertise to step in, contact us to learn how MotherG can help you reach your tech operating potential.


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