Upgrading legacy systems isn’t just challenging, it can also be quite complex.
We won't break down every factor that goes into the process in this short article, but adopting the following principles can help inform some of the decisions you’ll face along the way.
The environment around you today will influence your decisions, but in a few years you'll probably need to adapt your processes and technology once again to suit the new landscape.
While SaaS platforms provide API’s, webhooks, and other integration tools to make it easier than ever before to migrate systems, you should ensure your choices are well-informed by doing your research.
Even though your business relies on technology, upgrading your legacy systems shouldn’t be a technology-led process.
Focus on identifying the problems you’re trying to solve, as well as the outcomes you want to achieve - look for tools that will help you achieve those outcomes.
With these principles in mind, you can then start the process of upgrading your legacy systems in three stages.
It’s impossible to understand the impact of any changes you might make without a good audit of the systems in place, how they're performing, how they work together, and what the people that use them think of them.
To achieve this, you need to do a technology audit.
You need to consider the business processes that the technology supports and the integrations that are in place to ensure that any changes don’t have unexpected, and unfortunate, consequences.
Look at support tickets and speak to users to identify legacy system pain-points.
Track the flow of data and dependencies between different tech stacks to identify the root cause of the problem.
You might find, for example, that issues in your call centre’s case management system might be helped by improving the integration and data capture from upstream systems such as your company’s website.
While a total transformation and replacement of systems can be the optimal way to solve legacy issues, it’s not always financially or logistically viable - or even necessary.
You could consider the incremental replacement of technology over time or retro-fitting API integration tiers so that legacy systems can be swapped out further down the line.
If any of these introduce too much risk or expense, then you could simply maintain the status quo. When you’re in a position to move forward, at least you’ll have the information you need about your systems and from where your problems stem.
Technology changes so quickly. It’s hard to balance the limitations of being stuck on an old technology stack against the risk of early adoption - especially when it might appear that the safest bet is the solution that’s most popular in your sector.
Don’t just buy into something for the sake of it without doing your due diligence, and don’t get suckered into thinking that a new shiny piece of technology alone will solve your problems.
We have over twenty years' experience helping organisations to navigate this uncertain world, by helping them understand the technology that’s in the business now, what value it provides and where improvement can be made to help transform ways of working and the customer experience.
Whether it's a solution for customer data management, marketing automation, ecommerce, content distribution, data cleansing, or a new digital experience platform, we have the knowledge and the technology expertise to help you make a difference.