Hidden costs of legacy software

Holding onto legacy software may seem like a cheap and easy approach. You don’t need to change anything, just support the existing infrastructure, and hope for the best. However, deciding against a modernization approach and maintaining aging systems comes with significant costs that you might not be aware of.

Infrastructure issues

Legacy systems often require a specific technical environment, including hardware. The cost of ownership of such software solutions is very high due to operational and administrative expenses. On average, cloud solutions allow you to save about 65 percent of your IT infrastructure costs over the first 3 years. And the more servers your systems require, the bigger your cloud benefit is.

Furthermore, with your apps in the cloud, you can use only the computing power you need at the moment, unlike with high-priced hardware, which, in case of downtime, is a complete waste.

Another issue that roots from outdated software and problems in its configuration is security. Legacy systems are vulnerable to malware and breaches, and they are less resistant to cyber-attacks. What was secure a decade ago, might not be reliable now.

Legacy software updates and changes

Due to the outdated technology stack or overcomplicated inner architecture (often expressed in a “spaghetti code” and a technical debt), legacy systems can be hard or even impossible to change or expand to greater capabilities. Thus, any change or update to the legacy software requires time and effort, neither of which come cheap.

Staff training

Legacy software is typically not user-friendly and difficult to work with. Training your new employees to work with old-school software seems unreasonable since it makes the staffing process harder and more expensive. Outdated software with unoptimized, awkward interfaces can significantly slow down your operations. At the same time, modern business systems have powerful informational architecture, rich navigation options, and strictly defined visual elements and style.

Integration problems

No matter how old your software is. It has to be able to integrate well with other tools and applications that you use to run your business more efficiently and effectively. The problem is that old-fashioned systems have a monolithic structure. As a result, they require an excessive amount of custom-code to make them work with new technologies, modules, and tools. Therefore, you need a system that is capable of handling integrations in a manner that does not break your processes.

If you are hog-tied by your decade-old legacy systems, it will blow up in your face someday. Your competitors might have already integrated those new tools and have been taking advantage of their benefits. That means you will continue to lose your customers and revenue, putting your business’s existence at risk. 

Modern technologies, though, are integration-ready by default. Why reinvent the wheel, when you can use an existing, tried and true solution?

Missed business opportunities

It is almost impossible to calculate the true cost of managing your business processes with legacy software. Why? Because there is something called lost opportunity cost, which is usually involved with most legacy applications.

Your software must be able to keep up with changes in your business model, processes, or simply the scale of operations. Having the systems which lack this ability and no longer solve your business problems, you will end up adapting your business to your software while it should be the other way round.

Furthermore, if you want your business to evolve and grow, you will require a better throughput capacity and a completely new multi-tenant architecture to manage all your operations.

Lack of agility and efficiency

Time is money. Actually, time is more than money. Your business success depends on how fast you can respond to the market challenges and how long it takes you to adopt new technologies. In this respect, legacy systems hold back innovation, which results in significant losses. On top of that, being less efficient, outdated software influences employee productivity in a negative way.

You see, there are plenty of obstacles that get in the way of your business success if you run legacy software. Yet, there are even more: Employee satisfaction. Customer loyalty. Your brand image, which, by the way, is not “nothing” as Sprite’s slogan claims, but “everything”. Just ask Starbucks.