If you have legacy bespoke software, you may be wondering when the best time is to enhance, upgrade or change your systems. Legacy software can cause a lot of headaches, from operational disruptions to security breaches and overblown costs. You know it’s time to take stock when it’s compromising the vision of your business, but when is an upgrade worth it?

Here, we outline the five steps you can take to assess whether it’s time for a revamp. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but if your systems are swallowing up precious time and money, it may be time for change.

  1. Check your support

Does your bespoke software currently have good vendor support, or are you relying too much on a one-man band or busy internal resources? The recruitment and retention of key resources for your software support can be an uphill battle that needs constant management, but the real risk comes if you are too reliant on one person.

If you feel that might be the case, it’s time to review – are you at the mercy of that one techie who built your system? Or are your eggs all in one suppliers’ basket? It’s essential to make sure that if one vendor goes out of business or if one developer jumps ship your whole operation won’t collapse. If you have performance issues that need to be addressed, for example, it’s easy to fall behind the competition while you’re waiting for a quick fix from one busy worker. A system that is multiple generations old with weak support can also leave you vulnerable to getting hacked. Do you have a team that’s tuned in to security? If not, it might be time to batten down the hatches.

  1. Crunch the numbers

If you’re spending large amounts of money simply maintaining your bespoke systems, you might want to see if you can save budget and achieve enhancements by upgrading tech and support services. Are you sinking money into bespoke software that’s become slow and difficult to manage? Over time, your business environment may have changed, meaning what was once fit for purpose is now a black hole of costs, trying to speed up an overtired operation. If your system keeps going down, you can bet your bottom line is going with it.

Cost can also be a key barrier to trying new technology. If your budget is being soaked up by maintaining legacy software, you might be missing an opportunity to introduce innovative changes or latest best practice. Moreover, if you do have budget but your software is too outdated to work with an updated tech stack, this can hamper any forward-thinking CTO’s vision.

  1. Know your enemy

Are you keeping up with the competition? Loyal customers and staff can start making for the door if they’re fed up with your outdated bespoke systems, or worse still, you can’t even win business on account of limitations in the face of tech-advanced competitors. Digital or tech transformation isn’t worth doing for the sake of it, but have you considered your options to beat the competition?

If you feel you’re falling behind your peers and struggling to show value to the rest of the business, it might be time to undertake a thorough evaluation of the challenges you’re facing and the best ways to address them. Read more on how to get the maximum benefit from the digital transformation process..

  1. Recon

Have you done thorough research to see what’s available in the market now and what possibilities exist with new or upgraded bespoke systems? Innovations like machine learning might seem like a futuristic concept, but there are current practical applications for any business.

Natural language processing, including topic, behaviour, and sentiment identification can help mine data effectively, improving efficiency and remaining compliant by identifying potential data breaches, for example. Machine learning can also help provide valuable insights into your customers. Analysis tools are worth considering to help identify patterns and sentiments within customer interactions.

While the concept of AI can seem daunting, legacy software can be given an entirely new way of working with these add-ons, bringing you up-to-date with the rest of the market.

  1. Fail to plan, plan to fail

Any bespoke software system review needs a blueprint to ensure you have strong objectives, clearly reviewed documentation and coding standards. If you don’t know where you are and what you’re trying to achieve, you can’t achieve much.

It might be time to review your risk of system outage and areas for potential improvement. Does your legacy software rely on old language or outdated proprietary technology? Are you at risk of operational disruption, a system hack or relying too heavily on one supplier? Or are you simply at risk of being outperformed by your competitors? Assessing your challenges and what you want to achieve is the first step to success.

Read more about our bespoke software services.

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