With regards to technology, one of the major mistakes that far too many business leaders make involves clinging to legacy applications purely out of a sense of familiarity. They think to themselves, “Why do I need to invest in something new? This has gotten the job done for years, I see no need to make any type of change right now.”
But while those legacy applications may be getting the job done… they may not be getting them done particularly well, and it could be costing most businesses far more than they realize.
The Most Common Business Challenges of Legacy Technology
By far, one of the biggest problems with legacy technology is that they almost always result in the types of security vulnerabilities that most businesses simply cannot afford to deal with.
A lot of people don’t realize that software updates are about more than just adding new features or tweaking the graphical user interface. Vendors offer software updates to patch bugs, exploits and other security vulnerabilities quickly after they’re discovered, before they can be taken advantage of by someone who knows what they’re doing. If a vendor stops providing updates and focuses their attention on a modern solution, that means that when additional exploits are discovered (and make no mistake about it, they will be) they will be left unchecked. That means there is essentially a backdoor into your business’ network that could potentially compromise every last kilobyte of critical data you’re creating on a daily basis.
In 2018, Shawn McCarthy, the research director for IDC Government Insights, said spending on legacy systems had risen by 13 percent over the last five years alone. This increase means agencies need more now than ever to ease themselves of the burden of antiquated IT systems.
Another major issue with legacy applications ultimately comes down to cost. In the event that a piece of software is no longer supported by the vendor, that means that it is up to you and you alone to keep it running as effectively as you can. Normally, that involves hiring people with the right type of expertise to keep a constant eye on your infrastructure — a move that is costly to say the least. Even if you hand over these duties to your existing IT people, every minute that they spend simply making sure that everything stays up and running is a minute that they’re not making money for your business.
One of the biggest examples of this cost issue has to do with how legacy technology usually lacks compatibility with other IT solutions. By remaining tethered to these legacy systems, you’re likely creating data silos across your business where critical information is essentially trapped in one platform, unable to get into the hands of the people who need it to make critical decisions. Workaround solutions exist, sure — but they’re usually just as costly (not to mention frustrating) to implement.
Likewise, legacy applications are problematic for most enterprises simply because they’re trapped in stasis for all time. They’re not evolving and gaining new functionality as the industry around you does the same. This makes it not only more difficult to scale your business as needed, but it makes it nearly impossible to innovate as well.
A report from Dell says:
“In the last 10 years, roughly 701 percent of all applications used by Fortune 5000 companies run in legacy environments built 20, 30, even 40 years ago, according to one analyst group. Another top tier analyst firm estimates that a typical corporation spends between 60 percent and 80 percent of its IT budget simply to maintain existing mainframe systems and applications.”
The Solution: Modern Day Information Management
The good news is that all of these issues with legacy applications can be solved with the right information management platform like M-Files. This type of solution will almost instantly eliminate the need for specialist skills to “make do” with your legacy apps by providing a common platform for storing and accessing ALL legacy data across your business.
M-Files, for example, is designed to act as a way to bring all of your various data repositories together — regardless of what is being stored where and why. It brings together information from network shares, cloud storage and other sources into a system that anyone can access at any time. At that point, it doesn’t actually matter where the data is — so long as you know WHAT it is that you’re looking for, you’ll be more than capable of finding it.
But the best part of all is that this type of solution can be presented in a way that maintains familiarity for users — meaning that they don’t have to worry about how difficult it will be to learn a new system just to keep working in the way they’ve always preferred to. From their point of view, nothing really “changes” beyond the fact that it’s now easier and faster to find the information they need when they need it the most.
This brings with it the added benefit of allowing your information management platform to act as a useful source of historical data, all of which can be mined for critical business insights using the analytical engine of your choosing. This can help you uncover trends and patterns that otherwise would have gone undiscovered, finally allow your data to push your business forward rather than allowing it to hold you back.
Of course, the benefits of moving away from those legacy applications and towards a more modern solution like an intelligent information management platform aren’t exclusively internal. By allowing your information management solution like M-Files to integrate with your front office systems so that current and historical data can be accessed quickly, you’re allowing your people to respond far faster to customer issues as well. This brings with it perhaps the most important benefit of all: you get to create a more seamless (not to mention higher quality) experience for your customers by improving the quality of work that you’re able to do for them across the board.