Legacy system upgrades are the perfect opportunity to leapfrog your competition
By Asad Syed Abbas
Manager Software Services
Green Enterprise Solutions.
Buzzwords and jargon make up almost all conversations around ICT, articles and columns are crammed full of them. However, sometimes a phrase comes along that is worthy of our attention. ‘Legacy Systems’ is one of these phrases used in the Technology domain. Legacy systems, devices, or technology are outdated, often unsupported, and no longer in production. They need replacement, refurbishment, or upgrading. They are not up to the tasks and requirements of the present day.
Examples of ‘legacy systems’ are Microsoft’s Windows 7, which was realised in 2009 and stopped being supported in 2020. Another example is Adobe Flash or even MS-DOS, it’s technology that is no longer supported as their Tech is seen as obsolete. Lotus Notes was a popular software suite for email, messaging, and collaboration. Which has now been largely replaced by tools like Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint, some organisations still use Lotus Notes for specific applications.
Continuing to use them as lots of companies, organisations, and governments still do, can lead to high costs incurred to maintain and use these systems. The patching and the ‘holding together on a wind and prayer’ of these technologies can pose serious security risks. It may mean your organisation isn’t compliant with present-day laws and data storage rules and regulations.
There are several ways to remedy these challenges, including rebuilding, replacing, or ‘re-architecting systems’. This sounds expensive, however, less expensive than having to endure ‘downtime’ or data and security breaches, which could mean business critical failures and huge fines. There’s no need to paint nightmare scenarios, anyone familiar with technology will realise legacy systems are a hurdle for any company. If you look at your mobile phone, you replace it every couple of years, as you want the latest technology and applications to run on the phone.
Upgrading legacy systems creates major upsides, some of which are not always considered. For example, replacing or upgrading outdated file-sharing systems with limited storage, no version control, and difficulty in collaboration can be hugely beneficial. Transitioning to a cloud-based collaboration platform like Microsoft SharePoint or Google Drive, enabling secure file storage, version tracing, and real-time collaboration gives an organisation the edge it needs.
By replacing these systems or the technology before your competitors do, you are ‘leapfrogging technology’ if you will. Through implementing new technology, organisations can move forward rapidly by adopting modem systems without going through intermediary steps. Leapfrogging occurs when a nation bypasses traditional stages of development to either jump directly to the latest technologies, stage skipping, or explore an alternative path of technological development involving emerging technologists with new benefits and new opportunities, path creating. With these huge potential within the Namibian context, our nation can become an ICT powerhouse, provided our Tech is up to spec and date. It also keeps an organisation compliant with international rules and regulations, making it an attractive business partner.
It’s not necessary to always throw out everything, sometimes, rebuilding the technological infrastructure is a good start. However, replacing needs to be seriously considered when you realise that there are organisations out there relying on ’90s technology and use the excuse, ‘Well, it hasn’t failed us yet’. Engaging experts who can do a full 360 degrees analysis of an organisation’s technology, network, and devices can save a lot of headaches. It is the perfect way to create an agile business that delivers, fast reliable, first-in-class service and products to its clientèle.
Legacy system modernisation is not a once-off, it is a continuous and essential long-term process for the company. Getting left behind is never good, and in business and for organisation, it can be fatal.