Can a legacy system live on forever?

Are legacy systems able to meet the requirements of a modern business today? How can companies start the process of system migration? Read in this blog.

Paweł Kowalski


Paweł Kowalski

Area Manager at HiQ Gdynia

Legacy systems can sometimes be "a nightmare" for modern businesses and tech teams. It is very common that employees are left with nothing else but outdated apps and solutions that they need to maintain because it's either too expensive or too troublesome to modernise or migrate to a new solution.

In 2016 I had a privilege of fixing a stock management/invoicing application (a configuration issue) running on MS-DOS in an old PC in a medium sized Polish enterprise. It took me 30 minutes to solve the issue. I felt like a true hackerman, but if I were to use that software everyday (like the employees did), I would not have the patience to handle that.

If it doesn't break - do not fix it

This short-sighted approach "if it does not break - don't fix it" might be tempting for most of businesses that "do well" but let me try to put it more into a perspective:

Employee's time is a cost. All companies in a modern world right now pursue hyperautomation, digitalization and AI not for the sheer fun of it. They do it because it does cut costs and increase profits.

And even if it doesn't, freeing up resources and letting employees drink coffee, means that they're happy, and work better. Which still is a win for any company.

The golden age of APIs

So, how is then the IT landscape changing in between modern and legacy softwares? Why do we constantly need to update programmes? Here, we go for speed, more features and scalability.

Long time ago a software was less scalable and the communication between applications wasn't on developers' minds. Those times have luckily passed, and now I think we live in the golden age of APIs.

Just like natural selection, businesses switched to specialized tools - each fittig own purpose. Google for searching, database engines for storing data, Facebook for social connections, and so on.

Screenshot 2021-07-01 at 11.28.04

But now imagine that you can connect Google results with accounting data, incoming payments, order statuses, and Facebook... everything that your business might be actually doing - all in one place. You don't need to do anything manually, but you can design a flow of what needs to happen.

As a techy person, I see many enterprises that I believe could function almost autonomously. But usually an argument is being made that it will be too complex to shift away from legacy systems.

Modern integration platform as a solution

Modern integration platforms have couple of solutions to deal with the legacy getting in a way of being a happy end-user of modern applications.

  1. Removing legacy code by translating business functions into an integration platform itself - this is done using simple to understand BPMN diagrams (with a low code- approach );

  2. Incorporating legacy code into a modern application ecosystem with usage of managed file transfers, robotic process automation, direct connections to databases, or wrapping legacy apps in digital integration hub. (Read the blog: When is Digital Integration Hub needed?);

  3. Using integration platform to migrate and map old data into new systems.

Lost opportunity of not automating is a great business blow that most of companies don't seem to acknowledge (yet). So, if you want to check out some modern automation tools, think about digitalization - contact us to see how a modern integration platform can help you with legacy challenges.