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The adage “Everything old is new again” may apply to fashion or even music, but for business owners saddled with outdated information technology systems, there’s nothing charming about a “retro,” or legacy, IT system. The truth is, legacy systems can slow business down and wrest away any sense of control in managing a successful operation. Worse, they can keep even the best of business models from netting true growth or innovation.
It may be that you’re using an off-the-shelf solution to a broader market problem. Or maybe you have an IT setup that was custom built for where you were in 2007. Does that fit what you need now? Sure, you can find ways to work around weaknesses in your systems. But are you dialing down customers’ expectations or slowing down turnaround times because you need slack time to make up for slow technology or a system that doesn’t catalyze your core business processes? Think, too, about those with tasked with your systems’ upkeep — they’re likely unhappy or woefully behind in keeping up with the latest technological innovations or both.
The opportunity presented by upgrading from legacy systems is huge and up to you to define. You need to maximize the time and money you spend on projects and remove as many steps as possible between idea and product development. Whether it’s enabling better communication within your team, streamlining the exchange and implementation of plans with customers, or just beefing up your web presence so the world knows who you are today, upgrading from legacy IT is actually an imperative if you want to compete.
As the economy recovers, companies are spending money on capital upgrades. Whether that’s a drill press or a website is immaterial — survivors are placing resources in the right places to ensure they’re poised to thrive. You don’t want to be the last in your space to recognize the importance of responsive systems that let you operate to your fullest. Legacy IT systems represent recessionary uncertainty and stagnation. And that trend will never be back in style.