In the era of cloud computing and technology innovations we dreamt up in very recent decades, it’s hard to think that there are those among us who have yet to transition to go fully digital. Legacy systems sure feel like an inheritance we appreciated at first but now know that there’s something better out there, but we can’t quite get rid of the big bulky thing we were given… It’s an unfortunate situation because we know that most businesses would not be operating on their legacy systems if they had a choice and money wasn’t an issue. Because we can’t just ignore the pink elephant (or dinosaur?) in the room, we’ve gathered some tips that might help ease the pain of dealing with a legacy system while the rest of the world is off on its cloud, literally.
- Make an escape plan: what we mean is, get your strategy together and get the team on board. No one really has to be sold on why legacy systems are not the crème of the crop anymore, and it’s all a matter of putting together a plan for transitioning. The most important thing in your legacy system is your data, which most likely has been collecting there for years. Don’t rush into things because losing data can be a very bad consequence of a flawed transition, and you may not be able to recover it. Make sure there are backups, and that the new system you’re transitioning to holds the data in the same categories you have it and use it currently. By taking the time to prepare for your implementation instead of rushing into something that may not be the right solution for you and you may not have the permission or resources to do, you ensure a smooth transition and hopefully you can have a good cushion for the investment that you will eventually make on the new technology.
- Carte blanche: when you’re leaving a legacy system behind, there’s a world of opportunities for you to decide on, including custom-made solutions. Whatever route you decide to go, follow the advice from the third point made on this piece from CIO, which is actually something we’ve been saying all along as well: do not go into a digital transformation project thinking you can get by with just automating existing processes. Review your systems and operations and see how you can improve on your own backend. You don’t have to keep doing the same processes in the same manner just because it’s what you’ve been doing. Legacy systems keep people tied down because they think they’re just going to be doing the same thing, just with more tech, but that shouldn’t be the case. If you go about digitalization the right way, you can and will vastly improve your offering because you will have an opportunity to review everything you do and start anew. This is a priceless opportunity to enter a new level of operational excellence for you, your employees, and your customers.
- Fine-tune your focus: point seven on the same article from the point above is also a key point in our strategy. Even though our product is software and technology is our medium, that’s never been what the focus is about. Our priority has and will always be how your customers interact with you, and how that ultimately translates in your business relationships and facets: how your employees can contribute the most to their roles and feel useful at the company, how your vendors and partner network can communicate best for optimal business outcomes, and last but definitely not least, how your customers interact with you through technology. Digitization is not about shiny, new technology; it’s about improving people’s lives. You can’t go into a digital transformation project and come out victoriously if your number one focus isn’t the people who will be interacting with this solution. Legacy systems are not made for the people of today, and that’s why it’s time to make a change, but don’t forget that people must be able to tell the difference in a positive way, so that they can continue giving the best of themselves (in the case of the employees/vendors) and doing business with you (in the case of customers and partners).
You don’t have to rush out of your legacy system, and it’s better not to so that when you do make the change, it’s life changing in the best way possible for all people involved. If you feel like you’re living among dinosaurs, then take the steps to get out of that mindset and situation, but without rushing into the next step. Digital transformations take time, and especially if you do it the right way. Strategy and people should be at the top of your priorities when deciding what to do every step of the way, and we can help you with that. Our team is specialized in strategizing for the best business outcomes and can help you decide in what direction to move towards. Contact us for more information on how Lagash can help you phase out of legacy systems and move to the next stage of business innovation.