9 tips for overcoming the challenges of legacy systems modernisation

9 tips for overcoming the challenges of legacy systems modernisation

If you have successfully identified the systems that are holding your business back, you will understand why you need to modernise your legacy technology; and how this will positively impact your business. But, as every successful business leader would do, you need to do your risk assessment to identify any potential roadblocks or challenges modernisation can bring to your business. To help you de-risk modernisation, we have created a list of common challenges that businesses face and advice on overcoming them. 

#1 Calculate direct and indirect cost savings 

You and your team might understand really well why you should modernise legacy tech. But, in order for your board to approve the investment, they need to see numbers. Modernising your legacy systems will significantly reduce maintenance and support costs. There are also indirect cost savings that you should quantify and report. For example, how much you will save by becoming more efficient and productive. Or the savings automation will bring to the business. Also, don't forget the financial benefits of using modernised solutions that provide data intelligence that can impact decision making. Making smarter, faster and more accurate decisions can give you a competitive advantage. Your board will undoubtedly be very interested in knowing that. 

#2 Communicate the benefits effectively 

Besides financial benefits, your board also needs to understand your investment's long-term opportunities. Effectively communicating the opportunities modernisation will open, from business growth and greater efficiency, to attracting and retaining top talent, is key to securing board approval. Sustainable growth is something most board members will value and, by reporting on the opportunities, you will justify the short-term costs of modernising your systems.

#3 Get your team on board

Even if you get the green light from your board, you might deal with internal resistance to change. In several organisations, people who have been using a specific system and process for many years are reluctant to change and want to maintain the status quo. To tackle this:

  • Explain why you need to modernise and how this will enhance their day-to-day activities.
  • Reassure your employees that their jobs are secure.
  • Ensure top-level execs and managers are the first to embrace the modernised solutions and processes to set a good example. 
  • Implement change in stages and not in one go to reduce stress. 
  • Ask your employees to participate in the process. Get their feedback before, during and after your systems have been modernised. 

#4 Get your people involved to achieve better results

In many cases, businesses replace one hard-to-use technology with another one. They spend money on a system that will not be well received, bringing the opposite results. To avoid this, before modernising your tech, we suggest doing an audit to assess what works, what needs improvement, what your employees need and what your customers expect. An audit will provide you with the direction to choose the right technology and process to achieve your business goals. 

We offer audits to businesses that want to modernise their legacy systems and accelerate digital transformation. Get started here or if you have any questions, reach out via the form below for a free consultation. 

#5 Plan and prioritise 

Modernising legacy systems can be a long and complicated process. Before you start, make sure you work with your modernisation partners and internal stakeholders to roadmap the process, prioritise what is more urgent and will provide the most value, and establish a clear timescale for each milestone.

Learn more advice on how to ensure digital project success. 

#6 Future-proof your data

Before starting the modernisation process, make sure you protect, maintain and prepare your data for migration to the new system or the cloud. Also, it's essential to think about the future, your business will scale, and technology will continue to advance. Your new data architecture should be built for scale, and be flexible and agile - meaning that it can easily change and adapt to new tech evolutions.

#7 Test and ensure quality 

Quality assurance is another challenge many businesses face. It is critical to test the modernised system and ensure it fulfils all the requirements and is fit for purpose. Your modernisation partners need to plan all the test scenarios before the quality assurance phase and make sure they cover all aspects and use cases. You should also involve a sample of "real users" and conduct a user acceptance test to evaluate usability, functionality and experience.  

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Legacy Systems Survival Guide

#8 Ensure business continuity 

Legacy systems are often an integral part of the business operation. It is essential to achieve a smooth transition from the legacy to modernised tech to ensure undistracted business operation. Before moving to the new system, you should provide training to all employees that will use the system, make sure you answer their questions and provide them with detailed documentation. You can also record a training course for both existing and future employees. 

#9 Augment your internal team with the right external capability

To modernise a legacy system, you need to understand how it works. And, the hard truth is that there are not enough developers who specialise in old programming languages and outdated technologies. Legacy modernisation also requires a team of UI/UX experts, data architects, project managers and test analysts. This adds to the cost of modernising your legacy systems and can make it prohibitive. However, you can find success in simply augmenting your internal team with external modernisation experts that can bring their knowledge, experience and ways of working to your internal team. They will help you get the most out of your investment, accelerate the process and ensure quality.

How we can help

  • Legacy systems audit: We can help you assess the state of your legacy technology to uncover efficiency problems, understand how you manage your data, reveal security vulnerabilities and identify opportunities to lower costs. We will then help you choose the right modernisation approach and create a legacy system modernisation strategy built around your needs. 
  • Legacy systems integrations: We can help you integrate your legacy systems with your ERP, CRM and other cloud applications. We connect your data from your on-premises system to the cloud enabling you to increase performance, access buried data and eliminate financial inefficiencies.
  • Custom front-end experiences for legacy systems: We find that in many cases, the back-end of the legacy technology works fine, but the interface is very outdated and becomes hard-to-use. We can create a new interface to your legacy component, making it easily accessible to other software components via an API. This does not change the code of your legacy technology, allowing you to leverage the existing application features and extend its value.
  • Re-platforming legacy systems: We can take your legacy system's components to a new platform with similar characteristics and features. We make minimal code changes to adapt to the new platform without fundamentally changing the structure or the system's features and function. By re-platforming to new software, you take advantage of reduced infrastructure costs, better functionality with minimal effort, and continue to receive value from your legacy investment.
  • Updating, maintaining and supporting legacy systems: We can help you update and improve the configuration of the legacy technology to solve technical problems. We can then maintain the updated and more efficient solution at a lower cost allowing you to avoid system failures, security breaches and maintenance cost escalations. 

Start your journey towards modernisation today