Part 1 of 2
Legacy System Spreading Your IT Department too Thin? It Might be Time to Upgrade.
You’re hanging on to an old legacy system, maybe it’s an old ERP or WMS that someone internally built and is a lot of work to maintain. The thought of creating something better becomes daunting because you can hardly keep up with what you have. Your IT staff isn’t overly excited about the legacy system either. After all, they are innovators and eager to work on new technology. You know you could make some great gains by implementing a new system, but the thought of it is overwhelming. You might be thinking that maybe it’s best to hold off and limp by with the legacy system you’ve got for just one more year.
While this approach may be tempting, your business stability could be at risk. Doing things the way they’ve always been done drastically limits you when it comes to technology. With a stagnant mindset, you miss out on new innovations, opportunities and can lose your competitive edge. Hanging on to old technology perpetuates that mindset and the work to maintain it is often time-consuming for your IT staff, who may already be spread thin. Everyone is so busy maintaining what you have that there is no time for innovation and improvement.
Are you ready for a new mindset? Think modernly about your processes and organizations. Start by asking yourself:
- How do you run your business today?
- Could you do things more efficiently?
- What could you do if you weren’t constrained by your legacy system?
7 Signs That Your Legacy System is Past Its Prime
How do you spot problems associated with dated technology before they devolve to a crisis? Here are a few signs:
1. The system you have is more than ten years old.
Technology changes quickly, and in addition to the opportunities you miss for efficiency, your technology stack is no longer sufficient to support what your customers want to do.
2. Vendors no longer provide you with support because your technology is too old.
Tech companies move on to better, faster, newer versions and at some point stop supporting the outdated offerings.
3. Employees don’t want to touch anything because they’re afraid it will break.
It the system breaks, it might open a can of worms and create a much bigger problem to fix.
4. You have too much disparate technology, with too many things that are really far apart.
For example, say you’re using both Oracle and SQL databases. If you have just one technology, you can focus on making what you have work better.
5. You’re buying hardware from eBay.
If you turn to eBay and resale sites for replacement parts, your technology is too old. Although, you’re in good company. NASA turned to buying old computer hardware from eBay to keep their space shuttles flying . If an organization that can put people on the moon can make these mistakes – anyone can. There are lots of reasons to emulate NASA. Hanging on to old technology isn’t one of them.
6. The software isn’t compatible with other software and hardware.
The old systems don’t play well with the new systems and integrations aren’t smooth. How soon will a third party render your system obsolete?
7. Employees are unable to take vacation because your system is too old.
Only one guy in your group really knows the system well and he has the power to hold you hostage. What if he takes vacation, retires or wins the lottery and the system goes down? Who is going to fix it? If losing one or two people from your organization would put your business at risk, you need a new plan.
Do You Have a Dinosaur?
After reading the signs and evaluating your current system, do you have a dinosaur? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. A client had built their own WMS and it was incredibly time consuming to maintain and support. They had 60 people on staff to manage this highly customized system. We helped the company replace their system with an off-the-shelf WMS and they were able to reduce the IT staff assigned to the WMS to ten people. Since the software was off-the-shelf rather than a highly customized solution, they could leverage an outside organization for support to fill in the gaps.
We can help you fill in the gaps too. Check out part two of this series, “Your Legacy System is a Dinosaur!”