Company websites are often the top priority when it comes to modernizing a brand, leaving the legacy systems that support those websites behind. A legacy system is a backend interface or application that plays a critical role in day-to-day business operations. It’s often built on outdated technology with little to no consideration of user experience
. They can be a custom homegrown system or a system of multiple applications.
Legacy systems pose several problems ranging from operational inefficiency to even security vulnerabilities. While your backend could get by with a repair here and there, it might make more financial sense to replace the system altogether and rebuild on a more secure and growth-driven platform instead. If you’re on the fence on whether or not your legacy system is truly in need of modernization right now, read on below.
6 Signs You Need to Modernize
1. Your development team spends more time fixing than developing
Every day seems to come with a new issue. The save function is no longer working, data goes missing, or an invoice was never sent. Your programmers should be spending more time developing new functions for your expanding business—not fixing repeat issues or those that could have been prevented with a better infrastructure.
2. Fixing one area of the application breaks another
You know there’s a problem with the underlying technology when resolving one area of the system causes the failure of a different area. Sometimes, it’s not always clear-cut that those two events are even related to each other either. Perhaps one of the applications was updated at the time or maybe hosting was the root of the issue. You start to become weary of making any fixes at all.
3. Difficult, or impossible, to implement new features
As your business grows, your strategy or offerings may change with it as well. You may want to add new functions, but are often limited by what the current technology can accommodate. At this point, you begin making compromises for what can be technically achieved while still making progress with your goals. Your legacy system is holding you back from expanding your business.
4. Special training is required
Your employees don’t understand how the system truly works. They might be wondering what an input field is asking them to enter or where to go to complete a task. Their misconceptions and lack of knowledge may cause them to make grave mistakes, costing you time and money to correct.
5. The system frequently crashes or shuts down
It’s not uncommon for the backend interface or business application to crash. Your development team have looked into it, but can’t pinpoint the root of the issue. Fortunately, the system does end up rebooting and your employees can resume their work. While the system always gets back up and running, those few seconds or minutes can greatly hinder your business and not to mention your customers’ perception of your company.
6. Workarounds are often the solution
Your employees are turning to workarounds to perform their jobs. They have stopped emailing your IT team for support because they know their priorities fall low on the list. Out of necessity, they have found ways to make the legacy system work for them—even if it’s a temporary solution. Sure, they get the job done, but these quick wins run the risk of being lost after an update or cause an issue with the code. Worst is that these employees might be teaching their coworkers these workarounds too, further spreading a nonviable solution.
There are a number of problems with legacy systems, but at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide what is best for your company. Modernizing your backend interface or business application is a major undertaking—costly at that. However, when done right, rebuilding your system for sustainable growth can also save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run.