fbpx

Is legacy software keeping you from disrupting your industry?

January 24, 2019

Is legacy software keeping you from disrupting your industry?

It’s a truism that software mirrors the structure of an organization. What is less obvious is that after you get your software, your organization begins to mirror it. Whatever limitations your legacy software may have will become limitations on what your company can do.

So, if you want to break out, develop new markets and new opportunities, you need to break out of the limitations of your legacy software.

Of course, that can be easier said than done. Once you’re comfortable with your current software, it can be hard to see what you might do differently. So here are some suggestions.

The High Operational Costs of Legacy Software

The business of business systems has changed radically over the last five years. If your current software platform is that old, it’s a good bet operating it is costing more than it should.

The reason is that in the last five years, company software platforms have moved to The Cloud. So, there’s a popular buzzword, but what does it mean?

Someone has said that “the cloud” really means “someone else’s computers” — and that’s pretty much true. When you move your operations to the cloud, you’re taking advantage of giant server farms run by the world’s experts in running computers economically and efficiently. Whether you choose Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or any of the smaller vendors, you’re pushing the costs of maintaining the platform onto someone else.

Legacy software is hard to scale like a bike, it works until you need more.
Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Legacy Software Can Be Hard to Scale

If your business is growing, the capacity of your legacy system either is a problem now, or it’s going to be a problem. The ability of a legacy system to grow economically — its scalability — can also be a problem. Just a few years ago, most software depended on some architectural choices like the use of a single relational database, a so-called “three tier” architecture, especially for web apps, and complicated custom user interfaces.

All of these architectural choices would be questionable today, at least for a growing business. Ten years ago, this might have been built on servers your company leases from a hosting service; five years ago, you might choose to lease a virtual server from Amazon; but today, you can build your system around software as a service (SaaS) platforms. This means, practically, that instead of buying computer services by the truckload, or by the ton, you buy the service by the pound. And the scalable “by-the-pound” option can cut your costs by a factor of 10 to 100.

Legacy Software? Or Security and Privacy?

Another area in which the business environment — the whole business ecosystem — has changed is in security and privacy concerns. Major data breaches were once an embarrassment and potentially expensive. Now, with the new restrictions from the EU’s GDPR regulations and more and more discussion of legislation in the US, the business risk of a major data breach is much greater.

Your legacy software was probably not built with those new requirements in mind. Is it exposing you to dangers its designers didn’t foresee?

Today’s cloud providers have some of the largest teams of security experts protecting your data and systems. Few companies can afford the security expertise Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure have working to protect these systems. The Cloud is very likely to be the safest place for your data.

Legacy Software In A World Gone Mobile

One of the biggest changes in the last five years has been the rise of mobile as the place where most people access the Internet. Now, more than half of all people use mobile devices exclusively as their platform for the Internet. If your legacy software doesn’t present an attractive, usable, appealing interface whether you’re using a desktop browser, a laptop, a tablet, or a phone, your customers are likely to find a company that does.

Do You Want to Disrupt Your Industry?

It’s certainly more comfortable not to. Disruption means change, and change is hard. Disrupting your industry means finding new ways to think, new things to do and new value to add. Disruption means trouble.

But one of the few truths in life is that unless something changes, everything will stay the same.

If you want your business to grow, a little disruption is a good thing. And rethinking your legacy software is one important way of doing so.

Contact us and let us help you make a little trouble for your competition.

Charlie Martin
Consulting Software Engineer

Charlie Martin is a consulting software engineer and writer in Erie, Colorado, with interests in systems architecture, cloud computing, distributed systems in general and innovative applications of blockchains in particular. He is available for consulting through Flint Hills Group.

Charlie-Martin-Flint-Hills-Group-Software-Developer
Charlie-Martin-Flint-Hills-Group-Software-Developer

Charlie Martin
Consulting Software Engineer

Charlie Martin is a consulting software engineer and writer in Erie, Colorado, with interests in systems architecture, cloud computing, distributed systems in general and innovative applications of blockchains in particular. He is available for consulting through Flint Hills Group.

2019-01-24T20:09:38+00:00