Legacy modernization – risk-to-benefit ratio

Legacy systems can be interpreted as systems that once gave you profitability but they have reached their maturity point and cannot support you anymore with growing your company. They generally rely heavily on soft- and hardware that is owned, operated and supported by the owner – in most cases, that will be your company. The point of their modernization is to make them more efficient and responsive to the newest technology, assuming that sooner or later you might want to switch to that. 

The basic idea is switching to a more user-friendly and economically reasonable yet similar infrastructure. The goal – to improve performance, optimize processes and introduce innovation to your company. 


The biggest benefit of a complete, massive transformation is the one-and-for-all type reduction of possible risks, leaks and technical issues. One has to remember that legacy infrastructures are by definition quite old which means that some of the specialists who created them are reaching retirement age. That means, there is a possibility that at some point you will not be able to find an employee who can run those systems effectively. And that creates an environment for risks. 

In that scenario the costs of performing a revolution for you may look high, but:

-> you can hire a team of developers who will prepare the new software for you and deal with all the data transfers,

-> you don’t waste time of understanding how your legacy system was originally created, there is no time used for finding the old documentation and dealing with obsolete solutions which were transformed so many times by now, they are currently as close to their original as a Frankenstein’s monster resembles a human being,

-> you can introduce all your new ideas and concepts without trying to figure out how to incorporate them into existing system,

-> you can train all your workers at once on how your new system will be operating, without wasting time on explaining them one unit at one opportunity and later another one, when a different part of your legacy system is updated,

-> some aspects of your business are just more visible than others – it might be a great idea to present a new image of your company to potential clients, especially if you are in a process of introducing new products, services or brand,

-> you have a perfect opportunity to get rid of some of your physical infrastructure and switch to cloud, which will save you a lot of space, effort and responsibilities.

The only drawback of that approach is a drastic change that might be confusing at first. In order to minimize it, make sure you choose the best business partner, who will help you with the transition. 


An evolutionary approach is a great alternative if you don’t want or don’t need drastic changes. 

The list of benefits for you is just as impressive as with the revolution concept:

-> you don’t have to invest in everything at once: you can start with the aspects you would like to improve or the ones that look the most risky to you,

-> maybe some of the aspects of your business are working great with the legacy system, because you still hire good specialists who know how to navigate them, 

-> you can deal only with hardware or only with software, depending on what your current needs are,

-> you have a possibility of a “test drive” with your potential business partner, which means checking if you have a good business connection on a small project, before jumping into bigger changes,

-> you can evaluate the financial profits for your company, 

-> the risk of business disruption is lower, because not all aspects are being dealt with at the same time.

The drawback of this solution is using more time altogether, since not everything is made at once. But on the other hand – you have more time to get used to changes and you don’t have to replace everything you own right now. 

Whichever version you choose you have to balance risks and benefits. And there is no one-fits-all approach. This is exactly why you have to find someone, who will handle the technology aspects for you, and let you do what you do best. When picking up a partner for you, remember to stick to somebody, who will help you define the essentials, create a plan of action and decide which parts of your legacy systems you can send on a well-deserved retirement. 

Author: Leszek Warzecha, Digital Marketing Specialist at ITSG Global 

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