In this 2-part series, we explore some hidden costs and risks associated with running older IT systems, also called “legacy” systems.
Part 1 of 2: What are the hidden costs of older systems?
Many businesses today are still using the same software systems they were using 10 or more years ago. They seem reliable, they already have all of your data, and you paid for them long ago, right? Unfortunately, having 10 years of good luck does not guarantee this system will work forever. In fact, the older a system gets, the more vulnerable it is and the more costly it becomes to maintain, especially when things start to break (and they will). Let’s explore some of the potential costs of maintaining these systems, and the risks you assume by not upgrading to modern technology.
First, running older systems means fewer people are familiar with them. You may find it challenging to replace IT staff and/or key players on your team who are already familiar with your business, since they already “know the system.” This can lead you to accept poorer performance from these employees, since they are more difficult to replace. When something does break, you will face much slower development times since the legacy development tools offer far fewer automated resources to developers than the newer tools have. Also, as time goes on, there are increasingly fewer developers who specialize in a particular legacy system. This can result in more costly maintenance and longer repair times when you need to fix a bug or add features. Finding developers to support legacy systems is hard, especially if you are trying to move fast and get a competitive quote. When you do find them, they will charge more per hour, and they will need to spend significantly more hours working on your legacy system than they would on a similar up-to-date system.
When something breaks, such as a report, part of your order processing system, or your ability to pull customer records, you may need to wait days for a fix, and you may struggle to find multiple options to get competitive pricing. This can lead to poor customer service, frustration and attrition of your staff, and the high cost of errors which may result, such as time, materials, and potential legal actions. Even when it’s working fine, your employees will find that older system is harder to learn and more difficult to navigate.
Up next in Part 2 of 2: