A legacy application or legacy system is an application or technology that was built on old or obsolete technology. Back in the day, legacy application automatically meant “green screen” application or MS DOS application, but today that’s far from the case. Any company that has been around for more than 10 years probably uses some kind of legacy technology or application. And where there is a legacy application, there is almost certainly legacy data — but we’ll save that for another blog post.
Legacy applications can become maintenance liabilities while others become work horses and assets for your business. So how do you know when it’s time to do something about your legacy application? Here are some reasons why you might start thinking about making a change:
· Maintenance costs have become a disproportionate percentage of your business expenses
· The application no longer supports your day-to-day business processes
· Connectivity – number of users or multiple locations, accessing your data
· Missing functionality – accessibility from the internet, security features ecommerce, etc.
· Integration with back office and accounting software
· Ease of use
· Application is running in an obsolete or unsupported environment
Once you’ve determined that some kind of a change needs to be made, the question is whether to renovate or replace. Sometimes this decision is easy to make. High maintenance costs or an inability to effectively run your business make it easy to choose to replace a legacy application. But what if your application works well but is lacking some connectivity or doesn’t play well with your back office or the outside world? Then, a renovation may make more sense.
While replacement is sometimes the best option, choosing to renovate is a great way to extend the ROI of an application. Don’t assume you have to toss it out and start over, that may not be the case. There are many ways to renovate including fronting the application with web browser connectivity, web services access, or a SaaS solution; all of which can dramatically change your business productivity.
Creating a web browser front-end for your application can allow you to host your application remotely and access your legacy application from multiple locations. Tying in web services can allow for fast and economical credit card processing as well as access to other business services. The best part is that all of these can sit on top of your existing application, allowing you to extend the investment from your past while moving your business into the future.
As a business owner, only you can decide whether renovate or replace makes sense. No matter which option you choose, the same technologies can be used to deliver a great new application or to update and extend your current application. Our best advice is to make sure you choose a company that has the technical expertise and know-how to evaluate your current application, propose innovative solutions, and help you make the right decision.