Legacy System Upgrades: Moving Forward
Does this sound familiar?
- My business is growing rapidly, but my old software systems are slowing us down.
- I’m really worried that my key admin or tech person may leave and they are the only one that knows how to use our software system.
- I know that our old technology will break or no longer be supported on new servers, and then we’re in big trouble.
- I’m afraid to make changes to our software for fear we’ll break the whole thing. When I fix one thing I break two others.
- I have broken features that aren’t being addressed simply because it’s too complicated to fix.
We can help. We have been upgrading legacy software code for decades and understand the business productivity needs of our clients.
The decision of whether or not to upgrade enterprise software is challenging. Upgrades can be costly and are sometimes hard to justify while the software is still functioning. But it is important to look at your overall operational costs, not just the historical expenditure.
- There are risk factors: what happens to your business if the software fails.
- There are productivity factors: newer software is often faster to use and easier to maintain, and much more capable of being enhanced.
- There are opportunities as well: new software can open whole new markets or business areas.
When is the best time to start planning for software upgrades? Why go through the upgrade process when your old software is still working? Here are a few points we will walk you through when we discuss your particular situation:
- Improved Functionality: New software has amazing features to improve efficiency that legacy systems do not. Modern systems utilize virtual and cloud computing, big data processing tools, and can be accessed and manipulated remotely via mobile devices.
- Improved Performance: Legacy software is often stranded on old hardware and operating systems that are sometimes past end of life. Upgraded software can run on the latest technology and take advantage of improvements in hardware and networking systems.
- Newer software = better user experience: Modern software is becoming more intuitive while containing increased functionality. Modern systems are more focused on user interface and usability than legacy systems, making them accessible to a larger user base and requiring less training and support.
- Ability to Migrate: The longer one waits to modernize legacy software the more difficult it can be to find a solution that will match the current system. Finding the correct time to modernize is a challenge, which grows exponentially based on the number of users and how essential the software is to everyday business operations. Often it comes down to balancing the cost to upgrade a system against the cost of maintaining the legacy system.
- Changing business practices: The organization may be moving towards business functions that were unforeseen when the original software was developed. If the original legacy system is not scalable, then it may be difficult to upgrade or extend it for the changing needs. In addition, a firm often has vendors or partners to which the software must integrate, and maintaining these data links becomes harder for older systems.
- Shareability: Modern software is designed to take advantage of the Internet and foster interactions between devices seamlessly. Legacy software may have been built with the focus of keeping functions in-house. So the ability to access and share data across multiple devices and platforms can be a huge incentive to replacing an older piece of software.
- Security: The longer a piece of software has been around, the more time hackers have had to find security holes – to the software itself, but more often to the framework within which it was developed. Some older legacy software was focused more on functionality than security. Modern software is built securely from the ground up, utilizing the latest features that are designed to protect data while still allowing access to those who need it.
Upgrading your legacy software becomes more necessary as time progresses and technology changes. Let us help you find the optimal time to engage on such a legacy software upgrade project, and assist you with all the details such a project entails.
Some businesses come to us with a clear project idea. Some customers rely on Spot to help them scope a business improvement or product development project. Whatever the case, the Define phase is where we put all the ideas on the table and agree on a “minimum viable product”. This is a project scope that achieves the greatest possible bang for your buck.
The deliverables of this stage are documented concepts and requirements for work we consider “in scope” and ideas to consider later, budget permitting. Finally, we provide you with a quotation for the work scoped.
Once we have the go ahead to proceed, the Details phase is where we design the software. This includes mock-ups of all screens, identifying workflows and processes in more detail, planning project resources and timeliness and identifying any risks. We’re big on risk management, so if any of your requirements include technical or user acceptance risks, we’ll take the opportunity at this point to build a “proof of concept” before we progress to the Build phase.
The deliverables of this phase are detailed screen designs and workflows for you to sign off, any questions/risks conclusively addressed, a project team selected and a timeline established.
The Build phase is where the developers create and test the software against the agreed designs. From this point you’ll see your software come together very quickly.
The deliverables of this phase are regular progress updates and published online “beta versions” of your software for you to test out and provide feedback. We have a Customer Portal where we can collaborate online or we can run regular demonstration sessions face-to-face depending on your availability and preferences.
The Accept phase is where we do final testing and then hand the software over to you for “user acceptance testing” (or “UAT”). We guide you through the whole process but it really isn’t tricky. This is just where you verify that the software has delivered on the agreed requirements, functionality, look and feel and business outcomes. If anything doesn’t meet our strict quality standards, we’ll address it with no additional costs to you.
The deliverables of this phase are software and handover documentation awaiting your acceptance.
Once you have accepted the software, then we have agreed that you can start using it in a live environment within your business. We’ll host the application either at your business (if you have the gear and want it on premise) or we can host it in the cloud.
The deliverables of this phase are deployed software and all the assistance you need to configure users, get everyone up to speed on using it and turn off/archive any legacy systems we are replacing.
Once the system is live, we provide all the support you could need to get the maximum possible benefit from your new software investment. We have a range of support packages to suit your needs. Many businesses opt for custom software because it is infinitely changeable to suit your changing business needs. We are always happy to make changes and enhancements to your software either as part of a premium support package or as small quoted enhancement projects as required.
The deliverables of this phase are great business outcomes and happy and well supported users!