Cost of Maintaining Legacy Systems vs One Fully Supported

June 23, 2023

In the fast-paced digital world of today, companies depend heavily on technology to run their operations and stay competitive. But not all systems are the same, and software or hardware that is out of date can quickly become a burden.

One important thing to think about when figuring out how much something costs and how well it works is how much work it takes to keep it up and running.

In this piece, we’ll look at how much more work it takes to run an old system versus a system that is fully supported and up-to-date.

The Problems with Legacy Systems

Outdated systems come with a number of problems that can have a big effect on how well they work and take a lot of work. Among these problems are:

Manual Workarounds

Old systems often don’t have the automation and connection features that newer ones do. Because of this, workers have to use manual workarounds and processes that take a long time to get around the system’s flaws.

Some examples of manual workarounds include:

  • Data Entry: Employees have to manually enter data from one system to another due to the lack of integration capabilities.
  • Paper-Based Processes: In an outdated system, employees may need to rely on manual paperwork, such as printing and physically filing documents, instead of utilizing digital workflows.

Constant Maintenance

Old systems often need to be maintained to fix bugs, fix security holes, and fix compatibility problems. IT teams have to spend a lot of time and energy debugging, patching, and fixing problems (if patches and fixes are even available!) caused by software or hardware that is too old.

Some examples of constant maintenance include:

  • Bug Fixes: IT teams spend significant time investigating and resolving software bugs that frequently occur in an outdated system.
  • Compatibility Issues: When new software or hardware is introduced, extensive effort is required to ensure compatibility with the outdated system.

Lack of Support and Expertise

As technology changes, companies may stop supporting older systems, making it hard to get help or updates on time. This lack of help can cause more work hours to be spent studying and solving problems without the help of experts.

Some examples of lack of support and expertise include:

  • Knowledge Gaps: IT staff may struggle to find adequate documentation or resources to address issues specific to the outdated system.
  • Lack of Vendor Support: With no official support available, IT teams have to rely on forums or external sources to find solutions, leading to longer resolution times.

Advantages of Fully-Supported Systems

On the other hand, fully supported systems have many benefits that make operations easier and cut down on jobs that require a lot of work. Some of the main perks are:

Automated Processes

Modern systems use automation and integration to cut down on manual work and make processes more efficient. This automation gets rid of redundant jobs and manual repetitive tasks, which saves employees a lot of time and effort.

For instance, a fully supported system receives timely, automated patches and security updates to address vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of system failures. This proactive approach helps reduce downtime caused by system glitches, security breaches, or compatibility issues. Regular automated updates to an operating system can mitigate security risks and ensure system stability, resulting in fewer interruptions to critical business operations.

Proactive Maintenance and Updates

When a system is fully supported, vendors provide regular maintenance, updates, and patches to fix bugs and improve speed, as well as to fix security holes. This makes IT teams’ jobs easier, so they can focus on important projects instead of putting out fires.

With a fully supported system, you can expect improved performance due to regular maintenance updates, bug fixes, and optimization. For example, a fully supported database management system (DBMS) may offer performance tuning features and optimizations that can significantly enhance query response times and overall system efficiency.

Access to Expert Support

Systems that are fully supported usually come with customer support lines and access to a network of experts who can help and guide you when you need it. This makes it easier to find the problem and fix it quickly, saving time and effort.

Having access to reliable technical support is crucial for troubleshooting issues and resolving system-related problems. A fully supported system typically includes dedicated technical support from the vendor or service provider. This support can be invaluable in quickly resolving issues and minimizing the impact on productivity. For example, a fully supported software application may offer 24/7 helpdesk support to assist users with any questions or problems they encounter.

Assessing Labor Needs

When comparing the labor needs of old systems to those of fully supported systems, it’s important to think about things like:

Time Spent on Manual Tasks

Old systems often take a lot of manual work, like entering data, moving data, and making reports. These jobs are done automatically by systems that are fully supported, which saves a lot of time on work.

As illustrated previously, running an outdated system often requires manual workarounds to compensate for the system’s limitations or lack of features. For example, if an outdated customer relationship management (CRM) system lacks automation capabilities, employees may need to perform repetitive manual tasks to manage customer data and interactions.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Outdated systems need regular maintenance and troubleshooting, which often requires a lot of study and workarounds. Systems that are fully backed get proactive maintenance, which reduces the amount of work needed to fix problems.

Outdated systems typically require more frequent and time-consuming maintenance tasks. This can include manual data backups, patching or fixing issues manually, and maintaining compatibility with other systems. For instance, an outdated content management system (CMS) may require manual database backups and extensive manual code modifications to address security vulnerabilities.

Training and Skill Improvement

When moving to a fully supported system, workers may need to be trained on how to use new tools and methods. Even though this requires some work at first, the long-term benefits of improved efficiency and productivity make it worth it.

When using an outdated system, vendor support may be limited or non-existent. This means that IT teams have to rely on internal expertise to troubleshoot issues, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. For example, if a legacy software application encounters a critical bug, the IT team may have to spend significant time reverse-engineering the code to identify and fix the problem.

Security

Outdated systems often lack the latest security features and updates, making them more vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks. IT teams must invest additional time and effort into implementing manual security measures and mitigating risks associated with outdated software or hardware. For instance, if an outdated operating system no longer receives security patches, IT teams may need to implement compensating controls or isolate the system from the network to mitigate security risks.

Conclusion

The amount of work needed to run an old system can be much more than that of a system that is fully supported. The inefficiency, manual workarounds, and lack of help that come with old systems lead to more hours of work and possibly less productivity. Fully supported systems, on the other hand, offer automation, proactive upkeep, expert support, and streamlined processes. This greatly reduces the amount of work that needs to be done and lets teams focus on strategic projects.

As technology changes quickly, companies need to figure out how much work it will take to run an old system or switch to one that is fully supported. By putting money into modern systems, businesses can become more efficient, productive, and competitive while reducing the labor-intensive chores that come with using old technology.

IT Convergence is an experienced cloud managed service provider that specializes in helping clients maximize their cloud investments with safe, reliable, and high-performing solutions to address cloud challenges. The goal is to help clients modernize their operations and leverage the full benefits of the cloud. If that sounds like you, reach out to us so we can talk about how our cloud managed services can help you stay on top of your cloud strategies.

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