The Legacy Systems Dilemma

Recently we did a webinar about the entire purchasing process. The process was originally developed as a proof-of-concept for a corporate A/P process. One of the requirements was that it needed to read-write to an AS400 that served as their finance system. Accordingly, this got me thinking about legacy systems.

One issue that far too many business leaders encounter is sticking with legacy applications purely out of a sense of comfort. They think to themselves, “Why do I need to invest in new tech? This application has worked for years, and there is no need to make a change right now ”

However, while those legacy applications may be serving their purpose… they may not be getting them done particularly well, and it could be costing most organizations far more than they realize.

By far, one of the biggest problems with legacy technology is that security vulnerabilities can be exploited.

Software updates are built to do more than just adding new features or UI changes. Vendors offer software updates to patch reported bugs, exploits, and other security vulnerabilities after they’re discovered before they can be hacked. If the vendor stops creating updates and focuses their attention on an entire re-architecture, when additional exploits are discovered in the prior release they may be left unchecked. That means there is essentially a backdoor into your business’ network that could potentially compromise your data.

Another problem with legacy applications is the cost to keep them running. If your software has reached end-of-life, that means that you are responsible for keeping it running. This involves hiring people with the right type of expensive expertise to keep an eye on your infrastructure. If you task your existing IT team with legacy upkeep, they will be unable to devote time to your modern, business-critical systems.

Also, legacy technology usually lacks compatibility with other IT solutions. By remaining tethered to these legacy systems, you’re likely creating data silos across your business where critical information is essentially trapped in one platform. Workaround solutions exist, like using the Laserfiche connector to read/write to the legacy system or run a parallel process in Laserfiche. These two strategies have become our SOP for using legacy w/ Laserfiche.

Finally (and alas, unfortunately), legacy applications are problematic for most enterprises simply because they’re trapped in stasis for all time. They’re not morphing and gaining new functionality as needed for the market. This makes it not only more difficult to scale your enterprise as needed, but it makes it nearly impossible for you to innovate.

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