Signs Your Legacy IT Systems Are Impeding Business Growth
An IT system must be defined and measured by the critical to day-to-day capabilities it provides your business. When clients that are still using legacy IT systems come to us, we invariably discover the performance of their infrastructure could be vastly improved by trading in old technologies and modernising their IT infrastructure.
If your business currently relies on a legacy IT system, you need to consider whether it is the most cost-effective and efficient solution. Does it enable you to meet the demands of your customers, the market and compliance? Does it empower your employees to consistently meet their targets?
I hesitate before telling my granny how to suck eggs…..but innovation drives businesses forward. It always has and always will.
In the age of technology, the most up-to-date systems give employees access to tools that enable them to do their best work. And that’s good for business.
Companies that ignore innovation are eventually left behind. As a case in point, think about the number of huge multi-national brands that failed to convert to digital technologies. Ultimately they failed. If you walk down your High Street today, you won’t find the same shops that were thriving 10 to 15 years ago.
Here’s one for the Gen Z readers: Woolworths, Blockbuster, BHS, Staples, Maplin, and Toys’r’Us – just a few of the big high street names that bit the dust during the digital revolution. For the maturer reader, here’s some nostalgia.
The moral to this tale is that legacy systems can hinder growth and expansion in a variety of ways. If you notice any of the signs below, the likelihood is that your old technologies will hold you back – if they’re not already.
Legacy IT Systems and their Software Issues
“Some of the most common roadblocks to growth are old and unsupported systems and manual processes that hold businesses back from maximising success and fueling future expansion.” ~ Deloitte
Most businesses today rely on a toolbox of software to keep operations running smoothly and productivity ticking over nicely. However, the older software gets the less efficient it becomes unless it is updated with regular updates and improvements.
At some point, businesses that rely on old software won’t be able to receive regular updates. Software becomes outdated when software companies decide to stop supporting old programs.
Microsoft, for example, publishes a gamut of products they are planning to retire. To persuade customers to adopt Windows 11, Windows 10 will not be supported from 2025.
Upgrading operating systems, of course, is an easy fix. Problematic upgrades generally surface when companies invest in “custom-made” software they are reluctant to let go of.
Eventually, you have to recognise that software that worked for your business five years ago, may not be the best solution in 2022. Moreover, old software may be having a negative impact on the efficiency of your IT system without you knowing.
For example, if your legacy software doesn’t integrate into your cloud setup, users need to switch between applications. Application hopping slows productivity down. It is estimated that employees lose five hours a week by hopping back and forth between tools.
Another potential problem that could have serious ramifications is a lack of support from software companies. If your vendor is no longer providing support, the software will not be kept in good working order. And the company won’t provide assistance to fix the issues.
Loss of Productivity
I touched on the amount of hours employees forfeit by flicking between applications in the section above. However, old technology is more likely to cause a significant loss of productivity in a variety of ways.
Legacy systems can cause your business’ devices to run slowly, experience glitches, and crash on a regular basis. When software and hardware are not maintained, the number of system failures increases resulting in more downtime.
According to Epson, IT system failures cost the average UK business around 65 employee hours a day. The company also reports that 75% of UK businesses said relying on reactive maintenance was hampering their ability to operate efficiently and compete in the market.
System failures are an annoying problem that can potentially have a knock-on effect – and not only on your profit margins. Employees are defined by meeting targets, and if their computer is slow or unavailable, their stress levels increase which makes them less effective and more likely to take time off work through illness or leave altogether.
When old systems do go wrong, there’s not always a simple fix. Fixing legacy IT tools have a high technical threshold which may require specialist knowledge to fix. That could mean some IT issues take longer to resolve.
Remote Working Issues
Employees from the younger generations want flexible working hours. Surveys reveal that millennials hope to define a work-life balance by eradicating long commutes to work.
They are deadly serious about this. According to a survey compiled by Deloitte, Gen Z prioritises flexibility and millennials are threatening their bosses with a resignation letter if they are not allowed to work remotely and have a long commute.
As a number of businesses discovered in during lockdown, businesses that are unprepared for remote working will face challenges. The lockdown was a glimpse into the future for a lot of businesses – which resulted in a cloud adoption surge.
Whilst the threat of Covid appears to have subsided, there is no telling whether it will rear up again during the winter months. And if it does, the government may enforce another business shutdown. Will your business survive another three-month lockdown?
Hopefully, Covid won’t create any more chaos, but when it comes to damage limitation and contingency planning, you should be covering all the bases. Lockdowns aside, there are more advantages to integrating cloud computing into your overall IT infrastructure.
Flexibility is among the key benefits that the cloud offers. Without access to the cloud, you not only run the risk of falling behind competitors that have installed modern technologies, but you also run the risk of losing your best staff.
Legacy IT Systems are a Security Risk
Cloud technologies also improve the security defences of your IT network. With threat actors using progressively sophisticated techniques, legacy systems become more vulnerable – especially software that is not supported by software companies.
A computer system is only protected against hackers at the time it is created. Software companies, therefore, consistently release security patches to ensure your IT network is secured.
Without security patches, hackers will exploit outdated software and find their way onto your business network. This is true even if you are using a hybrid system that integrates cloud servers. It is the outdated software that puts you at risk.
Not only that but cybercriminals are informed of legacy software that features security flaws. Ironically, the free information is handed to them by cybersecurity firms and industry magazines that publish a report every time a vulnerability is discovered.
It may also be the case that certain legacy applications rely on legacy hardware such as mainframe computers, databases or operating systems to run. Each of these legacy technologies can develop a security vulnerability that leaves a gateway to your network wide open.
If you do depend on legacy technologies to run your business, the very least you can do is to perform a security audit that evaluates the risk of suffering a data breach. If an audit reveals vulnerabilities that can be exploited, you seriously need to think about adopting modern solutions.
Whilst many areas of compliance have grey areas, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is very clear when it comes to outdated or obsolete software programs: Unsupported and unpatched software should be treated as “untrusted”.
The ICO will find organisations that are deemed to violate compliance. Under the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), encrypted communication channels must be used on IT networks that transfer personal data.
The guidelines read:
“Over time, vulnerabilities may be discovered in encryption algorithms that can eventually make them insecure. You should regularly assess whether your encryption method remains appropriate.”
In layman’s terms, this means that companies that do not maintain encryption algorithms which prevent software from developing vulnerabilities, the company is deemed to be in breach of GDPR. Unsupported software does not enable you to maintain encryption algorithms. As a result, the ICO will issue you a fine.
Loss of Customers
Technology influences the way consumers behave – and innovation fosters expectations. Client-facing businesses have no option other than to keep up with the demands of consumers and supply chains – otherwise, you’ll be filing for administration like all those high-street brands that failed to adapt to the digital revolution.
Old technology can have an adverse effect on the way you interact with customers. Subsequently, your customer service suffers. If your competitors have made modernised their systems with user-friendly omnichannel solutions, you are likely to experience a drop-off in customers.
The performance of your IT network should be measured by how efficient your IT network is to deliver the quality of customer service your customers expect. Can you do this quickly and conveniently? What range of services can you provide compared to your competitors.
For example, have you installed live chat on your website? If so, is it manned by a member of staff or does it run on artificial intelligence? How quickly can you respond to customers and how soon are issues resolved?
Higher Maintenance Costs
The number one reason business owners procrastinate when it comes to making a decision about updating an IT system is cost. Whilst it’s true that upgrading your technologies to modern solutions involves an initial outlay, the cost of running a modern system is lower than traditional systems.
The amount businesses pay for onsite servers, licensing, support, maintenance and labour each year is estimated to cost more than cloud-based solutions. This, of course, will depend on the nature of your business and subsequent business needs.
The latest technologies are designed to be more cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and less time-consuming. Remote monitoring, for example, performs 24/7 analysis that dramatically reduces the risk of IT infrastructure encountering issues and causing interruptions.
That means fewer maintenance costs and man-hours are wasted fixing outdated systems that may be causing more problems than solutions. Moreover, you can invest the money you save in other areas of your business.
You may also want to evaluate the amount of power you use to run your existing IT infrastructure. With energy prices soaring in the current climate, the running costs of old technologies could be limiting your spending on growth opportunities.
IT Support Specialists in London
It would be far easier if companies could simply have a spring clean to clear out the old and bring in the new. Unfortunately, the complex nature of IT infrastructure is not so simple.
Whilst cloud computing is not new, businesses have been reluctant to adopt cloud solutions in full. A survey of 900+ IT professionals conducted by Hornet security revealed that 67% of IT professionals expect to remain with a hybrid infrastructure.
Only 29% of respondents confirmed they are using a hybrid model as a stepping stone to a full cloud environment. The roadblocks preventing other businesses from full cloud adoption were due to legacy systems – for the reasons stated above.
As cloud technologies, advance and software companies phase out legacy software, adopting an innovative IT infrastructure that supports business growth becomes a mission-critical exercise.
Having said that, adopting new technologies requires IT expertise. Whilst cloud technologies should be a short learning curve for experienced in-house IT technicians, it is recommended that you reach out to cloud specialists like our award-winning IT support team in London.
The IT professionals at Micro Pro are on-hand to offer advice and assistance covering all aspects of your IT infrastructure. We can perform an analysis on your existing set-up and create a strategy that will improve performance, efficiency and cybersecurity.
If you’re ready to trade in the legacy system and modernise your IT infrastructure, get in touch today. Our experts are happy to help and have your interests at heart. But don’t take our word for it – take a look at what our customers say about us on Trustist.