Signs that it’s time to replace your legacy ICT

Technology has transformed the way most organisations operate.

While private sector businesses were among the early adopters of cloud technologies, their public sector counterparts often lagged behind.

However, cloud-first has evolved into a top priority in the public sector over the past few years. Many organisations are starting to place increased focus on digital transformation to improve their service delivery quality, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Budgetary pressures, new legislation and Government directives have placed more onus on public sector organisations to modernise their legacy systems, strengthen their cybersecurity, and develop cloud strategies.

It means that standards across the public sector are gradually changing, with many organisations adopting new technologies to reach new levels of efficiency and collaboration.

Therefore, it’s vital for public sector organisations to implement an ICT lifecycle process that continually monitors and reviews all aspects of their technology and infrastructure to ensure it’s futureproof, supports the aims of digital transformation, and underpins their strategic objectives.

Whatever stage of the technology journey your organisation is on, it always pays to take stock of where you are and whether your technology is helping you to get to your destination.

Here are some of the most common signs that it might be time to replace or upgrade your legacy ICT.

Your current system struggles to support your operations or service delivery

Your ICT must offer the features and functionality that directly support your service delivery to efficiently run your daily functions and operations.

Suppose your legacy system struggles with limitations in bandwidth capacity, suffers performance issues or can’t cope with the workloads you require. In that case, it may be time to either update your existing system to a more recent version or look for alternatives that will deliver more value.

In this scenario, you have two choices – either make the change, or keep your legacy ICT as is, but accept the risks of running an outdated system.

Your users expect better technology

Your people hold the keys to the success of any technology project.

In a modern office setting, your users expect access to the latest technologies, software and applications, that they are familiar with and make their roles easier.

Technology that is outdated, clunky or difficult to use is bound to fail. Instead, your users want access to intuitive, quick and simple to use tools that facilitate better collaboration and team working. Your organisation, in turn, will benefit from a happier team, increased efficiency and productivity, all of which can directly impact your financial performance.

For many workers, their expectation of how ICT ought to function in the workplace is set by their experience at home. Think about how easy it is to order from Amazon, keep up to date with friends and family on Facebook, or order a takeaway from JustEat.

If you aren’t providing a similar experience at work, but their friends are getting this where they work, it will lead to dissatisfaction among your team or, worse, staff leaving to work in a more tech-savvy environment.

Your existing ICT is slow and cumbersome

One of the key aims of digital transformation is to streamline your operations and facilitate better ways of working. So, the technology you invest in should help your users carry out their work in a way that saves them time and makes them more productive.

If your current system lacks speed, crashes all the time or takes too long to perform standard tasks, it will slow your organisation down and massively impact your service delivery.

Trying to align a legacy system with new technologies and workflows simply doesn’t work. It’s a sticking plaster approach at best, as older technology was not designed to support more modern ways of working.

So, if your legacy IT system is creaky and outdated, replacing it rather than trying to breathe new life into it is the best way forward.

It doesn’t meet your security standards

As technology has evolved, so have cyber-criminals’ methods to hack systems, disseminate malicious software, and steal data.

Your system security and operational stability are critical, particularly in light of more stringent data protection legislation (GDPR), which can have a massive impact on your organisation’s finances and reputation if breached.

Older IT systems are a significant source of security vulnerabilities. Without processes in place to identify and remediate, your legacy assets could be more exposed than you realise. However, a legacy system that’s tightly integrated and difficult to replace has a lot of staying power, meaning your organisation’s Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) will be asked to accept more and more security risks on the basis of it being too difficult to upgrade or replace. Historical spend may also be used as a reason to justify keeping outdated legacy ICT.

But, look at it this way, you’d never keep food that’s gone way past its use-by date and is no longer edible on the basis of how much you originally paid for it. The same logic should apply to old ICT systems.

Like with some of our other reasons, if you’re consistently spending a large part of your organisation’s IT budget maintaining obsolete legacy systems and applications, it’s time to think about upgrading.

Your system is unsupported, or help is hard to come by

These days, most organisations in the public or private sectors depend on always-on connectivity to maintain 24/7 service delivery and operations.

If communications grind to a halt, downtime can be highly disruptive and something you’ll want to resolve as quickly as possible.

Some outdated legacy systems no longer receive vendor support, or if they do, it can often be harder to diagnose and remedy issues with older technology.

However, even with newer technology, relying entirely on the vendor is a bad move. While getting robust SLAs to support all your technology is vital, having the proper internal support framework and processes to ensure you can get business-critical systems back up and running after a failure is also essential.

The goal, whatever your ICT environment looks like, is to maintain business continuity. In practice, this means not hosting business critical systems on underlying platforms that are no longer supported by the vendor. The vendor has a perfect get-out should anything go wrong – they no longer support the platform – and you’ll be stuck.

Also, you shouldn’t use software systems beyond the time their vendor supports them, unless you are in the process of migrating to a new system. Again, if something goes wrong, you’ll be stuck.

And finally, don’t be tempted to buy third party support for a proprietary system. In the end, the software developer owns the source code and is really the only person that can help, so if they no longer support the product, then how can a third-party really help? Again, if something goes wrong that relates to an underlying bug in the software, or the software needs updated to reflect the new reality, there is nothing the third-party can do.

It’s not scalable or flexible

As technology, innovation and data use continue to evolve, your needs as an organisation change with them. If your ICT infrastructure isn’t flexible or scalable enough to support this, it can hamper your progress and prevent your organisation from meeting its strategic objectives.

As your organisation grows and your service user demands change, can your existing ICT system scale or adapt quickly to meet your operational needs? And do your vendors provide regular system improvements, upgrades and updates to keep your ICT agile?

If the answer is no, it might be time to replace your legacy ICT with technology that’s better suited to your needs.

If you enjoyed this blog and want to learn more about how we can help your organisation make the switch from its legacy technology to develop an effective cloud-based system, give us a call on 01332 322588. And if you would like to stay up to date with the latest news, views and insight on everything going on in the ICT and technology sector, subscribe to our FREE email newsletter.

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