how to replace legacy software

Signs That Your Legacy System Badly Needs A Complete Overhaul

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

We are now adopting new technologies at lightening speed to become more efficient and more agile. But this creates a situation where there is increasing discrepancy between the IT infrastructure required by emerging business needs and what’s already been there for generations.

Legacy software code rewriting is usually not the best solution as it comes with its own risks (and you will also find it impossible to negate subtle changes in behavior). The re-written code will have its own share of bugs regardless of what language it’s written in to reimplement old functionality. This is the primary reason why those who hate dealing with bugs are highly skeptical about rewriting code.

That being said, there are some old systems that can't be saved with code re-writing but that require a complete overhaul. Most of industrial proprietary control systems that are currently used by enterprises are known for being extremely outdated and vulnerable to a security breach.

As a result, patching them won’t be enough, as such systems need a new model of functions, relationships, and roles between them. Then you need to deliberately validate the data from outside before you let it inside to affect the system.

But as you can see, it’s the architectures that need to be reimagined. It’s really not worth spending all that money and time to reimplement the same algorithms and designs in a new language.

But what about common systems used by businesses? Let’s take a look.

What drives digitization?

According to Gartner, 70% of IT budgets are dedicated to operational expenses and maintaining existing IT systems (or basically running the business). This approach lacks innovation to create new business services and as a result, there won’t be any differentiation from the competition.

As a result, modernization of legacy systems is necessary to remain competitive. Furthermore, as systems age, they become more brittle and the cost of maintaining and running them will increase significantly.

Legacy IT infrastructure will also struggle to support new technology. As a result, businesses will find it difficult to accommodate Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives, big data, and real-time analytics without a complete overhaul.

Signs that your business software needs a complete overhaul

One of the first signs that you need an upgrade is when your vendor no longer supports third-party software utilized by your organization. This is a clear indicator that your processes need to be transferred to another system.

If you fail to update your system, you can open yourself to ransomware attacks like WannaCry that took advantage of the legacy operating systems.

Another indicator is slow systems that have multiple glitches and crash often. This will have a significant impact on productivity and your bottom line.

Furthermore, incompatibility with modern software systems and lack of flexibility are all clear indicators of legacy systems that need to be overhauled, completely.

Although there are significant risks to running legacy systems, businesses shouldn’t jump on the digitization bandwagon at the first sign of a minor disruption. Instead, companies need to have a concrete implementation strategy that’s backed up by thorough migration planning to ensure business continuity.

What software developers think about replacement of legacy systems

We've asked fellow software developers on Quora what they think are the signs that a software system badly needs a major overhaul. Here's a compilation of their most thought-provoking replies.

Read Bob Kerns' answer to What are signs that your legacy software badly needs replacement / upgrade? on Quora

Read David Owens' answer to What are signs that your legacy software badly needs replacement / upgrade? on Quora

Read Jay Kreusch's answer to What are signs that your legacy software badly needs replacement / upgrade? on Quora

And what's your take on this? Please share your opinion in the comments below or send us a tweet to @Digi_117!