4 signs it’s time for new software and what to do with old systems
With growing volumes of data, higher user numbers, increased networking, faster markets and new data protection regulations, those that continue to use outdated software systems are under more and more pressure to implement change. ‘We’ve always done it this way’ is no longer a good enough reason to keep muddling through with antiquated software, writes Sebastian Schuon of Alasco.
Why consider changing software?
Anyone who evaluates existing IT systems for efficiency will tell you that, most of the time, it’s best to start afresh. Here are four important questions to ask when deciding whether to replace outdated software with a more powerful, modern solution.
- Productivity – can my levels of productivity improve?
Nine out of 10 IT decision-makers say that outdated systems prevent them from using modern, labour-saving technologies that are necessary to drive efficiency and growth.
- Security – is my existing software secure?
Is your existing software up to modern security standards? The most common answer is “No.” This makes outdated systems and the companies that use them vulnerable to cyber-attacks resulting in data compromises and breaches.
- Compliance – is my data compliant with GDPR?
Data protection regulations like GDPR are becoming increasingly complex and pose a key IT challenge. Almost half of all companies state that poor data protection could make them vulnerable to legal disputes. Implementing change to meet new requirements with an outdated system is often more difficult and time-consuming.
- Flexibility – can my software integrate with other systems?
Optimising or linking outdated software with other systems is usually difficult, if not impossible. Are they API (application programming interface)-ready? Not a chance. During the pandemic, the majority of existing systems adapted poorly to remote work, leaving 43% of the workforce without remote access to documents and data.
What software should you choose?
Finding the right software is vital. Here are the five most important criteria to consider:
- Development speed
New software solutions should be able to connect with other systems (e.g., your accounting system and your invoicing software) to ensure the easy flow of data, reduce manual work and prevent errors. APIs enable this connection and determine how systems interact with each other.
What is the cost?
No system changeover is free, however many companies don’t realise that continuing to use and maintain older systems is likely to be costing them more.
On average, companies spend 60-85% of their IT budget on maintaining old software infrastructure that no longer meets their business needs. This means that the costs of the changeover are usually recouped much sooner than expected.
Take your chance to spring clean
Updating your old system gives you a unique opportunity to clean up your data. Experience shows that at least one-third of a company’s stored data is redundant, obsolete or trivial, generating no value and only costs for your business.
During the switch, this redundant data can be screened out and relevant information can be processed, sorted and (if necessary) enriched at the same time. Automation will drastically simplify and speed up this process, especially if you’re handling extensive data volumes.
Change management is key
Introducing new software is not only a technical challenge but an organisational one. There’s always a bit of corporate culture attached to established systems. So the changeover is often more of a cultural shift, and it’s not uncommon for some employees to feel sceptical about a change to fundamental workflows.
Of course, no system migration can be planned and calculated down to the last detail. So the decision also hangs on one last factor: the courage and creative will of company management.