The Need to Modernize Aging Business Systems and Applications

Written byPaul Bowden

March 6, 2012

Why Modernize?

Sooner than later, the computers we are using today will become obsolete, and eventually will be replaced or retired from use. Technology moves forward at a remarkable pace, so that most of the hardware and software we see in the market today can become nearly useless in less than half a decade since their introduction. The problem is that new versions of software and operating systems place ever-increasing demands on the hardware, and new software is often incompatible with older software.

How does this reality affect your business?

It is a reminder that on the fast-moving platform of business and commerce today, there’s a need to be more vigilant to newer developments and to find ways to easily adapt or modernize accordingly. Modernization is the only chance your business has to remain competitive in an ever-changing business climate and meet its challenges head-on.

Consider this scenario: you expect an increase in demand for one of your products, but your current system may not be able to handle the surge and provide the right leverage to an influx of traffic and sales that you expect, or you may have to meet new regulatory requirements or support entirely new business initiatives. What would you do?

You should think of ways and plan the means to have the right resources and augment the technologies that you will need to be able to prepare for a surge in demand. However, genuinely new software such as an ERP package will cost a lot of money, and you would like to save on cost, wouldn’t you? This is where modernization can come in handy.

Modernization vs. other Options

Today, most software applications get a makeover. Anti-virus programs download a daily dose of updates from their developers to respond to the ever-growing number of malwares and Trojan viruses in the wild. Even operating systems and web browsers pick up patches, and fix flaws and bugs that crop up on their customers’ computers.

How about your critical business applications, how often do you get an upgrade or a good fix?

It is alarming that most businesses seldom get an upgrade or a boost in technology, primarily because of the attending cost that comes with it. Also, some computer applications do not easily allow an upgrade, and sometimes the programmers cannot be found to work with the older technology.

Obsolete company software has strict coding features in their design that often limits them from communicating with newer technologies and programs. Some aging business systems today, used by a number of top government agencies and corporate institutions, that are operating for mission-critical competencies may no longer be able to easily communicate with a number of the latest on-line modes of data interaction.

So what are your options?

Certainly, buying new software may sound appealing, but how about all the data you have stored since the inception of your business, what will happen to it? Will you be able to easily migrate from software to software, without the risk of losing some data? The new package will have strict data editing rules that your existing data probably won’t pass. And, what about customizing that package to fit your needs? What about retraining all your staff to use the new software correctly, because it certainly won’t work the way your existing software works.

The risk of data corruption is very high, and the tendency for bugs and design flaws to migrate or get integrated into the new system is another possibility.

The Most Practical Solution to an Aging Technology

You should give modernization of your aging applications more than a little thought. If you do the analysis, you will realize that it is the most cost-effective approach to getting the same functionality on a modern platform, with fresh, properly structured and commented code, and having a more technically and technologically sound approach to keeping the automation you have had for processing your vital business data all those years supporting your modern users with their browser-based access. And, you can add functionality from open source frameworks, and reduce your cost by accessing the pools of modern programmers trained in today’s technologies and avoiding never-ending (and often increasing) license payments to vendors with proprietary packages. Wouldn’t it be good to control your own destiny?

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