Upgrading Your Legacy System 

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8 Things to Remember When Upgrading or Migrating Your Legacy System

Do you have a legacy system or legacy systems in place that are slowing your organization’s processes and impeding growth? 

If you do, you’re not alone. Legacy software systems plague many businesses, and legacy system modernization is costly both in regard to time and financial resources.  

Regardless, the benefits of upgrading or migrating your legacy enterprise systems far outweigh the initial sticker shock.  

To help guide you through this often-complex process of upgrading legacy systems, we highlighted a handful of things you must remember to ask and enact before your implementation kicks off.  

1. Direct Replacement or Upgrade? 

Is the goal of the project to simply replace the existing system like-for-like, or make a true upgrade? 

Keeping the same flows, functionality and interface of your system can make the transition a bit easier internally, but making a true upgrade in order to gain a competitive advantage can yield greater benefits in the long run.  

You can get that competitive advantage if you take a more customer-centric approach. In other words, your system can be more than a generic tool, it can be a tool handmade for the specific needs of you and your clients. An upgrade or migration is an opportunity to go from fitting your processes to the abilities of a tool to having a tool custom fit to your desired outcomes. 

Pros and Cons of a Complete Upgrade 

Determining if an upgrade or like-for-like replacement depends on your organization’s needs. However, it’s often thought an upgrade rather than trying to replicate your system can deliver more benefits. But it doesn’t come without its challenges.  

Upgrading your legacy systems can be challenging, costly, and time-consuming. It can also be jarring for consumers and staff to interact with new updates. On the other hand, a like-for-like model can offer users a familiar experience and a smoother transition. 

An upgrade or migration is a must for a customer-centric approach. According to LinkedIn, to support this approach the IT architecture’s goal must be to decouple customer experience from data processing. Rather than making it a one-size-fits-all solution, each touchpoint can be tailored to the consumer. 

Though an upgrade is complex, its benefits far outweigh the costs as described in point #2 below. 

2. Future-Proof Your System 

If you are going to spend the resources in upgrading or building a new system, you should ensure that the system can keep up with ongoing technological advancements. Otherwise, your system may be outdated as soon as the project is complete. 

Adaptability is also key to future-proofing your legacy systems. By ensuring your system is adaptable to changing processes, system demands, or company growth, you can better avoid falling into tech debt because you don’t need to invest in entirely new solutions. Rather, you can make changes and additions to your existing IT. 

Digital transformation is not a destination, but a never-ending journey. As technology evolves and your business grows, you don’t want your legacy IT systems to hold you back. 

5. Include Your Team in the Conversation Early  

Ideally upgrading or migrating from a legacy enterprise system means easier processes for your team, as well as a reduction of the amount of actual interaction they have with the system. However, with any change comes a learning curve, so your employees must know that they are in for a large shift in their day-to-day processes.  

While the upgrade will ultimately make their lives easier, the immediate impact may do the opposite.  

Work With a Subject Matter Expert (SME) 

In addition to including your team in conversations, you should also bring in a subject matter expert. This can be an expert in your industry or an expert in your industry. Their knowledge can help with the conversion from old to new and make the transition easier for everyone involved. 

As the experts at TechTarget emphasize, an SME can also help support the escalation of legacy issues and have the most insight into optimizing processes. With their help, you can ensure your new legacy system includes all the aspects needed to improve workflows and more. 

6. Protect Your Data  

When implementing a new system rather than upgrading your current legacy system, you want to be very mindful of your data. You need to migrate all of your historic data to your new system and you need to ensure that there is data consistency between both systems or you risk losing all of your existing data.  

Data Conversion and Compliance 

Also, consider how you will convert your data. If you’re keeping your data the same, you need to ensure your new legacy system can properly house it. This can be easier in some cases, but can also mean you’re limiting your IT. 

On the other hand, converting your historic data can ensure it’s even more secure and easy to organize. However, you also want to make sure you have the resource to do data mapping. This added step, though time-consuming, ensures your data is better structured and easily accessible by those who need it. 

You must also keep in mind how you will adhere to regulatory compliance on data retention once your information is converted and/or migrated. Have a data retention policy in place that outlines your organization’s protocol for retaining information. This will help ensure your data is in line with laws and regulations related to your industry and overall data retention. 

7. Marathon, Not a Sprint 

A successful legacy migration takes time–and it’s not a process you want to rush. Long before you start seeking a technology partner, you must establish a realistic timeline for project completion. This includes taking into account time researching and demoing solutions, as well as the actual time frame associated with user training and implementation.  

With a solid plan in place, you can ensure your migration occurs smoothly and within your timeline, all while keeping your team content and your data secure. 

8. Post-Migration Preparation 

Issues aren’t magically resolved once implementation is over. Regardless of how diligently the implementation or migration was conducted, there is still a chance that your new system does not work. You need a workback plan in place that can help you identify the issue and mitigate its repetition in other legacy system upgrades.  

Upgrading Legacy Systems with SCAD Software 

Whether you’re looking to build a new system or upgrade an existing legacy one, SCAD Software has a dedicated team of professionals fluent in the nuances of legacy systems.  

To learn more about how we can help you meet today’s and tomorrow’s IT needs, contact us today.  

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