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emerging technology

When To Say Goodbye To Your Legacy Software

Chris Powers
February 23rd, 2021
9 MINUTE READ

Nobody likes breakups. They’re messy, complicated, and nearly always take time to process, understand, and eventually accept. And that’s just when they’re between two people.

Ending things with your legacy software may not be as heartbreaking, but it can be just as much of a disaster. Its related headaches are no longer confined to just you but instead multiplied across your entire organization.

Here at Codal, we understand completely why few companies are leaping at the chance to ditch their legacy software for greener pastures. Why would you? Sure, maybe it’s not the best option on the market, but your trusty platform has been there for years, and everyone knows how to use it, right? Sure, you could probably do better, but isn’t it safer to stick with what you know, and not rock the boat?

Maybe. Maybe not. But what we do know is that eventually, no matter your industry, your company will have to upgrade its tech stack if it wants to thrive in a rapidly modernizing industry landscape. So instead of fighting the inevitable, Codal’s here to help you take a long, hard look at your software, learn when it’s time to make the switch, and find out how to make the transition as seamless as possible.

What is legacy software?

Legacy software refers to any outdated software solutions still in use by an organization. While these solutions may still satisfy the needs of a business or solve challenges, they do not allow for growth or scalability. Legacy technologies have reached their peak performance. There’s nothing else that they can accomplish. There are no opportunities to improve efficiency. While they may still perform key functions, their potential beyond those functions is non-existent.

Legacy solutions no longer receive support and maintenance from their service providers. But in many organizations, these technologies have become an essential part of day-to-day operations, making them difficult to replace. Additionally, these legacy solutions are often built using outdated coding languages, making them difficult to integrate with contemporary solutions.

These days, enterprise technology advances at a significant pace. As new, cutting-edge solutions enter the market, older technologies are rendered obsolete. A recent study found that companies in the retail space spend 58% of their IT budgets on maintaining legacy systems. And with the pace of innovation in enterprise technology, this means that many companies are dealing with issues stemming from legacy systems and solutions. These issues can often be debilitating and impede an organization’s ability to improve processes and scale functionality. 

Recently, the eCommerce space experienced significant change when a key piece of software reached its end of life (EOL). All 1.x instances of Adobe’s popular Magento eCommerce platform ceased receiving updates and support on June 30, 2020. While eCommerce sites that were running on Magento 1 after that date did not shut down, the lack of support exposed these sites to significant risks and potentially jeopardized their ability to conduct business online.

Magento 2 is built on a completely different architecture, so upgrading isn’t so simple. And seeking out a new eCommerce provider means a full replatforming, something that is no small feat, especially for startup brands and smaller merchants. Because of this, many eCommerce businesses elected to continue to operate using the unsupported Magento 1 platform. While this may seem reasonable in the short term, it poses significant challenges to long-term organizational success.

The risks of running legacy software

Because legacy solutions are essential to an organization’s tech stack, there is often resistance and hesitation to adopting new technologies. But continuing to run on these solutions can result in numerous problems for organizations. Over time, these problems start to stack up and eventually outweigh the convenience of continuing to use legacy software.

Security

Data breaches and other security compromises can be debilitating to your organization. Because legacy software solutions are no longer supported by the manufacturer, they lack essential security patches. The security measures included when the software was initially launched may have been acceptable back then. But now, with cybercriminals using more sophisticated ways to exploit gaps in security, they aren’t going to cut it. Additionally, legacy solutions frequently lack the backup and disaster recovery functionalities of contemporary offerings, making it very difficult to ensure your data remains safe and secure.

Running on legacy software poses immense challenges for businesses that are required to meet regulatory guidelines or compliance standards, like Payment Card Industry (PCI) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Failure to meet these standards as a result of outdated internal systems can be catastrophic. Simply put, as technology advances, so do the security risks associated with legacy software. 

Lack of compatibility 

Because they were built using now out-of-date codebases and technologies, legacy software solutions are rarely compatible with new offerings. The age of digital transformation means companies require speed, convenience, and scalability. Cloud and software as a service (SaaS) solutions offer these, allowing for companies to build dynamic systems on demand. 

To have a truly impactful architecture, it’s essential that businesses integrate all software, tools, and applications. This allows a business to run its tech stack efficiently. New technologies are unable to integrate seamlessly with legacy software, meaning achieving a holistic tech stack is impossible. 

Increasing operational costs

Legacy systems represent massive cost centers for businesses. This is because they require significant resources to maintain. Newer technologies like cloud and microservices offerings are designed for continuous improvement, with updates being continuously pushed and support being easily accessible. Legacy systems use outdated code, meaning they are expensive to update and manage after support from the manufacturer ends. It’s costly to enlist outside development companies and time-consuming to train internal employees on legacy code.

In the case of Magento 1.x, Adobe ceased providing official updates. To implement things like security patches, merchants still running on the legacy eCommerce platform must solicit the work of outside developers. This is a costly and time-consuming approach compared to simply implementing a Magento-supported update. And as more and more businesses transition off of the outdated platform, developers that can provide Magento 1 services will be harder to find.

Lack of talent

As legacy software becomes increasingly outdated, it gets more and more difficult to find qualified developers with the technical expertise to support the software. Experts move on or retire, and their knowledge doesn’t always get passed down. As legacy software ages, the pool of developers to support it diminishes-and the costs associated with hiring a qualified developer rise.

Choosing to maintain legacy software can also hinder your ability to bring in new engineering talent in-house. The brightest, most competent developers want to work with cutting-edge technology, not dusty, clunky software from a bygone era. You could be surrendering a competitive edge in the war for talent by continuing to run on outdated legacy software.

When to say goodbye to your legacy software

Compiled by the account managers and business analysts that serve on the front lines of our software design and development company, here are Codal’s surefire signs it’s time to pull the plug on your legacy software.

It’s constantly mooching off you

Nobody likes a significant other that never foots the bill, so why would you put up with outdated software that’s putting the same strain on your wallet? Older, monolithic technologies are not only wasting your money by being less efficient but also can be a money sink for training new employees. Sure, Carol is a whiz when it comes to your CRM from 2004, but she’s retiring to Montauk soon, and it’s going to be costly to train her replacement.

Not only will you waste time training New Carol on the old software, but it’s likely that the New Carol already knows how to use a more modern, improved version of that system. You’re not just burning time by training new employees with old tech-it’s possible you don’t need training at all. And that’s just the start of the pointless expenses that old legacy tech produces. We haven’t even touched on one of the biggest red flags, both in our relationships with people and platforms.

It’s too hard to maintain

When your old software breaks, who are you going to call? Wait-you’re calling? You know nearly all modern software solutions have much faster, more robust support channels, right? Why waste time on hold at a call center when you could resolve the issue with many more efficient resources available to you?

The fact is, repair and maintenance of an outdated system are never easy, and sometimes downright impossible. So you have two options: you can begin a labor-intensive, time-consuming search for someone who knows their way around this dinosaur tech, or you could shunt it to your IT department. Neither are attractive, and both could require you to break the piggy bank to implement.

It doesn’t get along with your friends

Your digital infrastructure is only as strong as its weakest link, and if your CRM is top-of-the-line, your ERP is state-of-the-art, and your CMS is old enough to legally drink, guess which one is dragging down the team?

Legacy tech does not integrate well with better, more robust software solutions, which means more inconveniences, more workarounds, and more headaches for you and your team. When you’re running outdated tech, you’re sandbagging your modern software as well, and you’re not optimizing your processes to their full potential.

It’s untrustworthy

Whether your company handles the private data of millions or dozens, chances are your office’s platforms are storing some sort of sensitive information. The Cyberthreat Defense Report recently outlined that over 80% of its respondents experienced a network breach in 2020. How well do you think your forgotten software system can withstand a cyberattack in 2021?

I think we both know the answer to that. Modernized systems already have the necessary defensive counter-measures and security needed to ward off attacks like these. Don’t risk the data of your users, your employees, or yourself, just because upgrading your software sounds like a hassle. Legacy software modernization will ultimately help you sleep at night.

It’s just a tool

I’m talking about the difference between a tool and a bona fide solution, the difference between a piece of technology that helps you get it done versus a tech that does it for you. It’s likely your old software is the former when it could be so much more. This should make modernization all the more enticing.

Wrapping up 

Saying goodbye to your legacy technology can be daunting, even scary. But if you’re unsure about the migration, not sure what the right successor is, or just want the entire transition out of your hands and into those of a professional-I’ve got good news. Breaking up is hard to do, but Codal can make the switch much, much easier.

Codal can migrate your company from its legacy tech to modernized, improved solutions, without throwing a wrench in your operations. We usher in transition without a hitch, where your business doesn’t lose a step. Software modernization represents a chance to rebuild smarter and stronger. Codal will make sure you’re using your new software solutions in the most efficient way possible. 

Want to learn more about Codal’s legacy software migrations? Get in touch today.

Chris Powers
AUTHOR

Chris Powers

Chris is a Content Marketing Specialist at Codal. With a background in journalism and marketing, Chris has written about a variety of tech topics, including open source, fintech, and cybersecurity. Chris loves taking on new challenges with just a pen, paper, and his brain.

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