The Curse of Legacy Software – How Do You Move Forward?

Claromentis has come of age; 2016 marks our 18th birthday, and before we celebrate the occasion with plenty of vodka and a bad hangover, it is a perfect time to reflect on the challenges that companies of our age have faced.

Just like for humans, turning 18 is a milestone for any company, making the leap from adolescence to adulthood. For software companies such as ourselves, reaching the 18 year mark is a remarkable achievement considering the rapid rate that technology advances. If software companies cannot keep up with the technological advancements of the industry or their competitors, then they can very quickly lag behind and get lost, risking becoming obsolete.

However, the other side of the coin is that businesses who use the commercial software do not necessarily progress in line with the latest technology it has to offer. This becomes a very real issue for software companies who are required to utilise and champion new tech to stay competitive, and are accustomed to releasing regular updates to stay relevant. A disparity is created between software companies and the businesses who use the product, where the business is relying on old infrastructure that the software simply does not support anymore.

You only have to look around in the urban landscape to spot machines that are still using legacy software to function; ATMs will be using, at best, Windows XP, last updated in 2008 with support decommissioned 2 years ago. Large corporations such as banks will still be relying on legacy software that will only run on IE6, preventing the entire business from upgrading their infrastructure and benefit from new technologies that could enhance their processes.

So how can software companies and their customers work through their difficulties like mature adults, and move forward productively? Like most things in the adult world, there is no easy or quick fix; but there are ways to handle the challenges presented by legacy software in a better way:

Remember that changes can’t happen overnight – you need a plan

Software companies and their customers can work together to draw up a plan and try to assess the risks and considerations of the technological road map.

Understand that compromises are inevitable

The sign of a true grown-up; being open to compromise. It may be that the only way forward is for the old and the new to sit together side-by-side.

Prioritise and understand the pros and cons

Assess what your priorities are; is that lingering legacy software vital to your company? If not, move onto something better. Make a pros and cons list of each reasonable solution.

You’re not the only one – ask for help

There are hundreds of companies out there who will be faced with the same conundrum. Seek advice and help from IT consultants who have dealt with similar issues in the past, and discover how they were able to move forward.

How have you moved on from the curse of legacy software? Let us know in the comments below!

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