Legacy Systems

Legacy Systems are old software or hardware that is no longer supported by the supplier.

Running ‘legacy systems’ for more than a year or two after their last upgrade can be a dangerous game for a business to play. It could leave a business open to outside threats such as hackers. If anything does go wrong there won’t be support from the original supplier. If features stop working, or data gets scrambled, the supplier might not be able to help you. Their objective is to get you onto their latest platform, and to some extent that is the right thing to do. There is a good reason that the hardware or software has been replaced. It’s old, uses old technology, or simply was no longer fit for purpose.

Businesses often find that they feel the need to continue using a legacy system because the data within the system is still relevant. It may still be needed for quality assurance, governance or for legislative compliance, for example.

When considering purchasing a new system, ensure that you investigate fully the various methods of transferring your old data. Protect your archives and ensure that you can retrieve data from your old system. Make sure it is in a format that can be imported or converted by the new system. Always ensure that your data is backed up and can be restored. Test this before migrating to the new system, just in case.

Just because systems are no longer supported does not mean that you cannot extract data from the systems or continue to use the system. However, be aware that this could lead to larger issues and more complicated issues further down the line.

My recommendation is to hold a workshop with your team and suppliers, and produce a plan for before, during and after migration to a new system.