Is your software past its useful date? 5 Steps to Assessing Your Legacy Systems.

Is it time for your legacy software to be updated or replaced? Assess your legacy software to improve the efficiency and longevity of your systems.

October 27th, 2020 • Custom Software Development Resources: Articles

Five steps to legacy system nirvana? It can be done. Check out our tips!

Conventional wisdom says that changing a legacy system can be complicated and costly. But what about the opportunity cost when you outgrow your systems and start losing profits? You need to know if your system is reaching its end of life—before it gets there. Here’s our guide…

Step 1 - Complete a Post-it Note Analysis

Identify the top three issues and the top three benefits of your system. Write them down on sticky notes. And keep in mind the following factors:

  • Stability and Reliability – Does the system stay live consistently or does your team experience downtime too frequently?
  • Maintainability – Is the system easy to maintain? Can maintenance be done internally? Is the company that built the software still thriving? Is it offering support as your partner, or are they just another vendor? and willing to help?
  • Compatibility - Are you able to integrate new software to continually improve your system? Is it easy or difficult to connect with other systems?
  • Outdated Function – Does the software still do everything you need it to do? Is your team creating and using “hidden” manual workarounds?

Step 2 - Estimate the Severity

Legacy system drag has real business costs—both direct and indirect. You need to put numbers on both. Follow this assessment:

  • If the current system is often experiencing downtime, what opportunities are missed during that downtime?
  • If the system provider no longer supports the technology, are there other vendors that can?
  • How much time is being wasted?
  • How much money is associated with that lost time or lost opportunity?
  • How deeply is poor user experience contributing to staffing or customer attrition rates?

Step 3 - Identify a Task Force

Put together a team of internal and external users and stakeholders who would benefit most from legacy system optimization—or have the most to lose from not taking action. Start by identifying user types, then choose a representative from each group. Involve customers and/or partners and vendors where needed—you can do that with a quick, simple email survey to assess ask what’s working, and what’s not.

Step 4 - Complete a Deeper Assessment (SWOT)

Complete a SWOT analysis. Each user type representative can work through a SWOT analysis for the parts of the system they use most. Below are a few questions from each category to aid in your system analysis.

  • Strengths – What is currently working well in your system? What do you like about the workflow that makes tasks easier? Does the system process things quickly?
  • Weaknesses – Are there times when you need to enter data into two or more different systems that don’t sync with one another? Does the current workflow leave too much room for human error by needing too many manual entries? Is there a lack of support from your current vendor?
  • Opportunities – Can you process more orders? Can you improve the customer experience? Can you save money by consolidating or integrating existing workflows?
  • Threats – Will you fall behind the competition? Does your system get in the way of exceptional customer service? Are employee onboarding and retention stressed by software or organizational shortcomings?

Step 5 - Compare Your Options to Make Informed Decisions

Now that you’ve outlined the issues, complied a team, and identified areas that require priority attention, you’re ready to weigh your options for action.

What are the options?

  • Hire a consultant for a deeper analysis
  • Make updates to the current system with your incumbent provider
  • Implement integrated solutions to keep current functionality and improve productivity
  • Start devising a plan to replace your system with a brand-new solution
    • Review both off-the-shelf and custom solutions

 Questions to consider when determining the right decision for your company…

  • Do you have or know a trustworthy development partner who understands the software?
  • What is the cost difference between making updates and buying new? Consider integrations to mitigate costs and risks!
  • Is the plan for updating going to tackle a symptom of an outdated system or the root cause?
  • Do you need to hire a consultant or get a business analysis to get a deeper assessment?

Buildable has helped several hundred companies assess their software needs. We can help you, too.

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