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May 19, 2020
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For your enterprise, you’ve likely discussed when and how to update your legacy software and technology and bring everything up to today’s standards. Chances are, you have probably done your research and talked to the right people to determine the feasibility of a transformation or modernization effort.
While there are several aspects of this kind of
transformation to consider, there are five common challenges to pay attention
to when planning a legacy modernization:
If you have a legacy system, you almost certainly have
legacy users. Over many years, they learned the technology and the system
inside and out, figured out shortcuts, and established their own procedures to
make the system work for them and for your customers. This investment of time
and effort can cause resistance to change. Some may also be wary of a larger
dependence on a new system or worried that it will be too complicated for them.
A good way to combat this is to get input from users as
part of your decision-making process. Someone who works with the system daily
may not understand the coding, but they definitely know what works and what
does not. Leverage this experience to help build the new system and avoid introducing
changes that needlessly cause user or customer frustration. Knowing that their experience
and input was valuable will help ease acceptance and transition to the new
Decades ago, you had a much narrower field of software
and hardware vendors to choose from. Over time, the marketplace has become
flooded with vendors and start-ups that preach the greatest and best stack. New
platforms, apps, and software solutions are being introduced and released on a
regular basis. There are also many providers who offer virtually identical
platforms and programs. As a result, trying to figure out which system is the
best for your company can be daunting.
Again, using your human resources as well as data and
technical information will help you narrow down the number of choices. You want
the overhaul to be beneficial to your bottom line and the growth expectations you
have for the business. While these are important in making the correct choices,
you should also conduct a thorough analysis of other factors including
manpower, financial constraints, and technical capabilities.
Legacy modernization is in its stride due to the
tremendous growth in the global marketplace. Because e-commerce is now so
widespread, systems that were once straightforward may now be more complex due
of new regulatory requirements. However, e-commerce also provides a wealth of
customer data that you rely on to understand your market and plan for the
For example, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018.
California has a Consumer Privacy Act that will go into effect in January 2020.
These, and others like HIPAA and FERPA, address how user information is
acquired, used, and stored. Simply put, older systems do not have the
capability to meet the requirements of all new standards and regulations.
The fear with regulations is that as data-privacy
rules become more stringent and widespread, this could seriously hamper your growth
and innovation. On the other hand, regulations can curtail the unethical
business practices that diminish customer trust and affect commerce.
Regardless, to compete (and even exist) in the global
market, your new systems must meet these evolving regulatory changes and keep
customer data private and secure.
Once you have made the decision to overhaul your
legacy systems, you need to create a clear and detailed plan to both rollout the new system and decommission the old
system. There are many questions to consider, including:
If you have managed to “get along” with a legacy
system, the number of new options could be overwhelming. You need to keep the
project in check and ensure that whatever you implement is going to meet
For example, including 12 different options for
customer service may seem great, but what if your client base only uses seven? You
are wasting your money and efficiency and taking up valuable space that could
support other plugins or options. Be
realistic about what your company and your customers need. Just because the
legacy system had a specific feature, doesn’t mean that the new system should
There are other issues to take into consideration,
such as the return on investment, as well as trying to foresee any unknown
problems. But if you start by addressing these common challenges, you will have
a good foundation for overhauling your legacy software.
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