When you hear the term legacy technology from your IT people, they may be referring to an out of date computer system. The term will also come up when discussing plans to transition, or convert, to software as a service (SaaS). Discussing planned upgrades requires comparing the old to the new. The old is considered the legacy technology, which is just another way of saying, the historical technology. If you have been working with your legacy technology for a long time, you probably have developed an opinion that argues in favor of continuing to use the legacy technology. If you are fair, you must admit that continued use presents both advantages and disadvantages.

One solid argument in favor of continued use is the historical success of your legacy technology. Your company has thrived on this system. It worked, and, in theory, would continue to work, for the company, its suppliers, and most importantly for its customers. Another strong argument for maintaining the status quo involves economics. Transitioning to SaaS could be expensive, and over the short term change provides no guarantee of an acceptable return on investment.

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The process of change in and of itself is also an understandable reason for staying with what has worked. This process would mean a huge investment in cash, but also in your company’s human resources. The demands of managing a change of this magnitude run the risk of overwhelming the workforce. These are just a few of the advantages of sticking with what has worked for you and your company. Advantages have a counterpart, disadvantages, and in this scenario the disadvantages carry a lot of weights, and your company should consider them carefully.

The main disadvantage is the possibility of your company being left behind and buried with the past as your competition commits to new technology. Declining to take the step into at least a hybrid SaaS model you run the risk of becoming irrelevant as your competition reaps benefits. How you ask, could such a successful organisation become irrelevant? The big change in computing has been cloud computing and Saas.

Cloud computing and SaaS are tools that allow businesses to reduce IT costs by computing over the internet. Your company will save substantial amounts of money by transitioning computing tasks from their internal resources to external resources. Your company can replace local servers with network servers. They can replace local data storage with network storage. The network delivers everything you need on demand. Think in terms of subscribing to a magazine instead of producing the magazine. The subscription is available at a much lower cost. Hybrid SaaS models can even blend the old and new. Your company can enjoy the benefits of external use and maintain internal capacity for managing sensitive issues. Cloud computing also allows multiple companies to combine computing power so that each company can enjoy the benefit of increased computing power and once again at a reduced cost. Computing power is also much easier to access when connected to a network. Cost reduction plus increased capabilities are the real power of the cloud. If you haven't already done so, your company should examine the cost-benefit ratio of cloud technology.

Keep in mind the future will happen with or without you.

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Written by Ross Fastuca @Locomote 

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