Technology progresses at a rapid pace, offering new novelties that perform tasks with greater speed with quick user adaptability. Businesses that continue to use obsolete computing software tools find themselves engaged with issues like high maintenance cost, data silos, difficulty adding new features and greater security risks.

Obsolete computing software and hardware are known as “legacy systems”. While such old systems satisfy the need it was originally intended for, they do not facilitate the scaling that becomes necessary when a company’s demands multiply. Businesses mature and flourish from the changing economy, new regulations, market conditions and internal restructuring, rendering existing software tools redundant. The technology used in legacy systems remains incompatible with modern state-of-the-art capabilities and services like “cloud computing” and “data integration”.

Legacy systems continue to be used because they serve a useful purpose for long periods, even though newer and more capable technology exists. It’s an investment, the cost of which is probably not yet recovered, but continues to perform essential tasks. So companies hesitate to change such legacy systems. IT managers must therefore carefully asses and plan the migration in order to minimize risks.

Despite the plentiful reasons to preserve a legacy system, there are potential risks in maintaining them. With its outdated technology, a legacy system is incompatible with new add-ons essential to a business. The vendor may even discontinue the product, leaving it deprived of product updates, support, and scalability. Operating with old security protocols, security breaches become common, making regulatory compliance hard. Legacy systems work at a slow pace over time, affecting productivity.

Eventually, legacy systems become obsolete. Businesses that want to keep ahead will decide to replace legacy systems and implement newer technologies. When it’s finally the time to change, following a set of key guidelines will help to ensure a smooth transition.

Cost factor
A decision to change to a modern system should be carefully evaluated. Among the several factors to consider, cost is one of them. Maintaining a legacy system can be expensive, but one should remember that the cost of replacing it can also be high. Meticulous planning and forecasting potential problems are the pre-requisites before taking the final decision. For instance, the compatibility of certain business processes with the new system should be studied to avoid unforeseeable outcomes.

Safe data migration
Data is everything today. Businesses must ensure that the data available in the legacy system can be extracted and migrated safely to the new system. If required, the existing data must be altered to match the new formats. It must be cleaned to take care of quality issues like duplication, incomplete and improperly formatted data. Before exporting the data to the new system, a trial should be done with a limited set of data.

User comfort
When preparing a migration, users of the new system should be taken into confidence, and they must feel involved and willing to embrace the change. If they show reluctance, their opinion should be taken into consideration to implement a solution with which they feel comfortable.

Technical specifications
The technical specifications of the legacy system should be available to ensure that the new system can perform the original tasks with no loss of data and functionalities. If the legacy system uses an outdated programming language, it is important to find qualified professionals familiar with those languages to lead the migration.

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Facts and figures stated in the blog are gathered from reliable sources on the internet.