Based on many discussions at trade shows, client meetings and external events during Q1 & Q2 of 2018, we can see that a lot of IT initiatives are still driven by the need for an agile infrastructure to be able to support old and new, and to enable digital services to meet both short and long term business strategies.

Legacy modernization is a constant attempt for companies to improve their services and to provide the quickest access to information. Organizations are challenged to cope with new applications, to constantly adapt their legacy software to keep up with the latest trends within the business field, and to be able to provide agile business services as efficiently as possible. The purpose is to improve customer service and compete with the same enterprises.

Legacy IT Strategies aren’t Prepared for Change

A strategy that includes legacy systems is a “stop and start” strategy. It deals with change in big chunks, followed by long periods of static, unchanging business. That was the mainstream way to run a business throughout the industrial age, and companies have incorporated it into their DNA: Have a short period of adaptation to make any necessary changes, then stop until another wave of necessary changes come along.

But that’s not how the world works anymore. Intermittent changes leave us with legacy systems that last until the next phase of change, weighing the company down in a nonsensical model. Fortunately, there is another option, which people are currently calling “lean IT.” Like other lean models, the goal is to make continuous improvements and positive changes to IT systems instead of getting stuck in waiting mode. It’s particularly well-suited to digital and data-oriented changes. Even better, it discourages the myopic views that lead to legacy systems being necessary in the first place.

Legacy systems threaten security and make it much worse off

If you’ve worked in data security or software updating before, this should make a lot of sense. Security is based largely on that lean IT concept we mentioned above: Continuous changes made to meet the latest threats. Legacy systems by their nature struggle with this because of their age. Certain vulnerabilities may not be as easy to fix due to the large, inflexible nature of older systems. Even if there is a fix, the patch is typically greatly delayed, because it is much more difficult for developers to create a legacy fix – and far lower on the priority list. As a result, after a period of safety, legacy systems quickly enter a phase where they are a danger to the company.

When is the best time to start planning for upgrades? Why go through the upgrade process when your old software is still working? The below reasons will help clarify why modernizing your software is a solid business decision.

  • Many legacy systems are band-aided together and guarantee business silos: Organizations reap the biggest returns when they are able to reuse data and avoid redoing or completely recreating work that’s already been done. Without adequate interfaces linking systems and applications, both internally and externally, reusability is greatly limited, if possible at all.
  • Maintenance and staffing costs can be higher: It’s not just overtime costs that drive up the expense of maintaining legacy applications—it’s also finding, attracting and paying the staff that cares for them. Even maintaining the original code or customized script can be a major cost, as the original programmers have long since left the organization and finding others with the right skill sets can be difficult.
  • Compliance and regulatory concerns abound: Built before a time enamored with lawsuits and corporate oversight, legacy applications were not designed to live up to today’s stringent compliance, regulative and industry initiatives like GDPR, PCI, PSD2, AML, and MiFID II.
  • Limited functionality limits innovation and growth: Today’s society demands instant and easy access to as much information in an efficient manner. In order to effectively compete, business requires accurate information in real-time and immediate availability from multiple sources. Most legacy applications simply cannot meet such high expectations, resulting in a poor impact on both employees, customers and business partners.
  • Legacy systems, in combination with new applications and new technology initiatives, lack the ability to manage large files and data, and at the same time provide digital services through APIs, in a secure and scalable manner. This can impact security, ROI and overall customer trust and satisfaction.

Of course, legacy application modernization doesn’t just happen. The best results occur when companies embrace a holistic approach that’s future-oriented and considers enterprise goals. SEEBURGER can be your partner in the journey to digital transformation,

Learn more in our SEEBURGER Legacy Modernization Infographic