On average, the life cycle of a software system is approximately five years, which means that when a system has been in place for six, your business is in danger. Of course, if you conduct proper maintenance an application may perform well for longer, but you’ll have to be ready to act fast when the system inevitably crashes at the worst possible moment. This is especially true when we talk about businesses with a long-established market whose dependence on the software is enormous and whose software was created years ago, drawing near to or even past its end-of-life date.
There are many compelling reasons that prevent companies from replacing an outdated system or modernizing it, such as the inability to disrupt business processes and the general complexity of modernization. However, let’s be honest with ourselves — legacy software issues can’t be ignored, as doing so is a one-way ticket to catastrophe.
Company stakeholders can moderate such situations or even prevent them from occurring in the first place. The only thing that needs to be done is to keep a finger on the pulse of the company’s software at all times. In this article we are going to reveal the threats inherent in using outdated technologies and show you five signs that indicate the need to plan software modernization or replacement immediately in order to save your business from unexpected crashes that can cause major damage.
Signs That Show It’s Time for Software Modernization
1. The maintenance costs surpass the benefits of the software
Research by Spiceworks highlights the fact that IT budgets are growing year over year, while some organizations spend a shocking 70 to 90 percent of their IT budget on operating and maintaining outdated software. Therefore, while spending for support of end-of-life software is increasing, the software’s business value is decreasing, and there will come a time when costs surpass the system’s value. If you have crossed this line, you’re throwing money down the drain. That means it’s necessary to make a choice: to continue investing in outdated legacy software, or to gain additional business strengths by investing in horizontal and vertical expansion, personnel training, R&D and so on.
2. Functionality gaps
Is your business the same today as it was 20 years ago? We are 99 percent sure it has changed, but the software often stays the same. If this is the case for your business, it’s likely that just a few crucial features are still topical for you, while the majority are no longer needed. Along with this, you may require additional features and use SaaS, so software costs are higher than they should be. As a result, functionality gaps negatively impact costs, productivity and the overall user experience.
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3. Performance issues
Usually, most companies can survive having five minutes of downtime per year, which means that they must deal with any outage immediately so that their customers stay unaware. Disruptions and outages are often unexpected, and they tend to result in the loss of customers. A survey conducted by Acronis indicated that system downtime costs affected businesses US$366,363 each year. If you have faced such issues at least once, add this amount to the maintenance costs you incur for running your outdated software.
4. Zero mobility
Today, the variety of gadgets available to us is impressive. While 10 years ago people mostly used personal computers or laptops, today they’d rather trust a tablet, a smartphone or even a smartwatch to use any needed applications. Nonetheless, many legacy software systems can be accessed only through the mainframes within offices. It’s highly secure, but at the same time it’s highly inconvenient. Such systems make remote work impossible, not to mention using mobile and tablet features. Therefore, a lack of mobility means losing many opportunities, and you cannot afford to ignore the significant impact of mobile, both today and in the future.
5. Security threats
According to an Accenture Security Report, legacy software is one of the biggest threats to cyber security today. The problem is that software with old encryption algorithms can’t receive security patches, which exposes businesses’ data to multiple risks. Furthermore, old systems lack the ability to produce complicated safe passwords possible through modern technology, as the way they are generated has considerably changed. Nobody wants to discover their system was hacked, so security is one of the strongest reasons that companies switch to modern technologies. Otherwise, regulatory compliance is another key issue that forces some industry representatives to modernize their software.
Find out more about cloud computing in our post Cloud Migration Strategy Must-Do’s: Preparation, Migration, and Maintenance
The Bottom Line
Outdated software poses a major threat to any company that uses it. However, while for one business it can be a low, controlled risk, for another it can be a disaster, causing large-scale damages and loss of reputation. Being in the first group means being aware of your software system’s current state and carefully planning its modernization process to avoid downtimes and their negative effects.
Gartner predicts that by 2023, 90 percent of enterprise applications in use today will still be in use. We can’t even imagine how many companies use old systems, and most of them are doing OK. Perhaps they’re not so modern and efficient, but the systems work well enough. Despite this, we must understand that legacy software performs become less efficient over time, with every new operation.
We have outlined the main reasons companies continue using the same outdated software and revealed five signs that show when it’s necessary to modernize immediately. Of course, you may come across roadblocks or burdens that prevent you from replacing or modernizing your business system, but it’s imperative to understand that this issue can’t simply resolve itself. You need to act. Take some inspiration from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who maybe felt fear deeply in their souls but never allowed it to stop them.