used with permission from Tektonika (HP)
Conceptual hand writing text caption inspiration showing Legacy Systems. Business concept for Upgrade SOA Application Written on sticky note, computer main board background.

“I’m in favor of progress. It’s change I don’t like.” — Mark Twain

Any CIO or IT manager thinking about upgrading legacy equipment would agree. Many who were forced to shelve upgrade plans during the 2008 economic downturn now face a vastly different digital world where they must embrace change or lose ground to competitors.

It’s a tough decision to say the least. Business hardware and software carry a hefty price tag. Plus, companies must rebuild the legacy equipment infrastructure without undermining everyday operations. In a recent Forbes article, one Nationwide executive aptly compared the task with changing tires on a moving car.

Sticking with legacy systems is tempting, but hidden costs rooted in productivity, collaboration, and security can mount up under the radar. In an article from Federal News Network, Shawn McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights, says 10 years ago, federal spending on legacy operations and maintenance (O&M) amounted to two-thirds of the budget, with the remaining third going toward development, modernization, and enhancement. In 2018, O&M had crept up to nearly 80 percent.

Nix the legacy systems chewing up productivity

Computer downtime, manual tasks, and employee morale affect a company’s productivity. According to the Samanage State of Workplace Survey, productivity-based losses cost US businesses $1.8 trillion annually.

Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) took a deep dive into computer downtime and discovered that a single hour of downtime could cost some corporations upward of $1 million. Across 47 vertical markets, 81 percent of companies put the figure at $300,000 an hour. Regardless of which bucket your business fits in, downtime sucks revenue.

Check out this legacy system failure: “In April 2018, the IRS website crashed on the last day of filing,” reports Spiria. “The problem was that the Individual Master File, the system that stores taxpayers’ tax data, stopped responding to queries. This system, made up of 20 million lines of assembler code, was developed when John F. Kennedy was President.” Are you willing to trust old iron with your mission-critical applications?

The fight for talent is another productivity trigger. Savvy employees are keen to use cool, new tech, such as chatbots, mobility devices, and influencer marketing campaigns. Techies love edgy hardware that can push productivity and move companies forward—and their own success along with them.

According to the Samanage survey, about 25 percent (with millennials comprising the largest group) believe their company’s technology impedes productivity. Their frustration shows up in the fact that millennials job hop more than any other generation, as Forbes reports.

Collaborate as a team with speedier tech

Gone are the days when email spelled the height of collaboration. FinancesOnlinehighlights that today’s collaboration software allows groups to share, negotiate, coordinate, solve problems, and even compete for the purpose of completing a task. What’s more, collaboration tools drill down to specific tasks: multipurpose, project and resource management, team and workflow management, etc. Businesses on board with apps, such as Wrike, Slack, Nutcache, Yammer, or Chanty, can crank out high-quality team projects quickly and effectively.

But it’s more than just pushing through projects. “Generally speaking, employees want to be appreciated for their hard work,” points out SAP SuccessFactors. “Business productivity software can bridge the gaps in communication and convey to each member of your team that they are valued.”

Prepare for the cyber war

In 2018, the global average cost of a data breach went up 6.4 percent to $3.86 million, according to a study by Ponemon Institute. That is a staggering price to pay for any business, regardless of size—but the worst part is avoiding a breach requires a lot of time, work, and effort if you’re dealing with older business equipment.

Manual device maintenance and security patching can eat up your IT team’s hours quickly. On top of that, manufacturers may no longer support the old hardware and software you’re using, which makes your legacy systems that much more vulnerable to attack. In other words, the potential cost here is two-fold:

  • Your older equipment will continue to rack up costs (upward of $200,000 by some estimates) due to manual security maintenance needs.
  • The older your equipment gets, the higher your chances of falling victim to a data breach that may bring insurmountable costs with it.

That said, the situation isn’t hopeless—quite the opposite. First, keep a close eye on the age of your business hardware. When the efficiency benefits start declining and the security support diminishes, it’s time you upgraded.

Today, innovative hardware, like printers that come with embedded device security features, can automatically recover and minimize damage from attempted breaches. This means your IT team doesn’t have to drop everything to manually address a security issue, saving you time and money without sacrificing security.

Build a business case for transformation

In building a business case, consider productivity, collaboration, and security. Real costs cannot always be estimated, insists Spiria: “How do you quantify loss of agility, or the inability to change and adapt to an evolving environment? How do you value lack of competitiveness?”

You can ease your transformation journey by working with a digital transformation partner. Experts will help manage change and work with you to create a progressive, state-of-the-art IT center.