Changes in business processes typically involve things like software testing, putting up with bugs that have not yet been fixed, crossing your eyes in an attempt to navigate poorly-written user manuals, sitting in training classes and being told that you have to change your comfortable routine because nothing works the same way anymore. Is it any wonder that the mere suggestion of modernizing systems may be met with groans and choruses of “Do we hafta?”
Resistance to change, cost considerations and concerns about business disruption often make businesses reluctant to modernize outdated hardware and software. And yet, the business pressures to integrate legacy apps with modern software packages mount:
- Customers demanding applications requiring cloud computing capabilities
- Decades-old systems that may no longer be supported and therefore require diversion of resources from potentially lucrative opportunities just to maintain operability
- Inefficient business processes resulting from flow blockages at the intersection and old and new systems
- Governance issues, including exposure of customer data and potential compromise of critical business systems
The good news is that, with a little planning, integration of legacy systems and modern software can be accomplished by making the most of your current resources instead of making wholesale, painful changes. Rather than completely ditching your legacy systems, the goals of integration include keeping what is working and improving the parts of your business process that may be holding you back from achieving the benefits of the latest technology that your customers have come to expect.
The smoothest business transitions occur when everyone involved has access to information, which helps to quash the rumor mill and improves buy-in as staff feel that they are part of “something bigger” and are making important contributions to moving the business forward. So what can you expect when your business embarks upon legacy system integration?
- Improvements in productivity and quality as your old and new systems learn to work together
- Conversion of a variety of software into a single system with a consistent graphical look and feel and a user interface that reflects your brand. Everyone will be using the same screens and no more multiple passwords to remember!
- Leveraging the power of the internet by adopting a common language standard reflecting commands that all of your applications can understand
- Unlocking your valuable legacy data that can now be accessed by your database, spreadsheet and word processing applications
- Easy creation of new functionalities and elimination of the need to develop duplicate coding for parallel systems
- Improved navigational tools, such as tabbing screens
- Availability of widgets such as calendars, drop-down boxes and lists of values
- Online help functionality (such as one keystroke F1 access) that avoids the necessity of referring to printed manuals or going to the web to search for answers
- Cloud-based and scalable architecture that will make your system ready to tackle the business challenges of the future. As new technology becomes available, you can expand your capabilities to meet the latest expectations of your customers.
These days, keeping up with the competition means providing your customers with online purchasing options, mobile apps and connections between your website and social media — concepts that may not have existed when your legacy apps were developed. Modernization through integration will not only bring your systems current, but also pave the way for unlimited growth as the needs of your business change.
Convincing stakeholders of the benefits of modernizing your systems is easier when you can assure them that you are not throwing away the systems that they know so well, but are instead maximizing the potential of your existing resources to strengthen and improve business processes. And who knows? You may even be able to turn the griping and groaning into oohs and aahs when your staff takes a peek at the consistent appearance and smooth functionality of your integrated system.