Legacy Systems

Date Published: 27-07-2020

In its simplest form, a legacy system is an outdated computing system, application or hardware that is still in use within organizations. The solution is outdated according to the current IT and software landscape. The system still performs the intended functions for which it was originally developed but has growth constraints due to the old technology in place. The constraints we mentioned above is in the technology itself used to develop the system which is outdated and cannot integrate with the newer technologies available today.

The technology landscape is a fast-moving and constantly changing one

The technology landscape is a fast-moving and constantly changing one, which means companies are more and more finding themselves confronted by constraints of their existing legacy systems. There are preventative steps which can be taken to prevent or extend the life of software solutions, this could be through software maintenance for example.

The main problem companies face concerning legacy systems is that the system has become the nervous system of the company. The system is so tied into the company’s daily operations and functions and has been carrying out important business functions for the company for hears. Although the system does not necessarily only become classified as a legacy based on the number of years in use, the current solution could also just not be meeting the organizational needs. The lack of meeting organizational requirements could just be to the actual scalability which earned the software system or application the classification of “Legacy System”. With this in mind let’s just touch on a few problems which come along with legacy systems.


“If it ain't broke, don’t fix it” is something that you always hear when talking legacy systems, this is true, we cannot fault you on this logic. A redesign of a system which has supported your company for years is surely intertwined into the very being of your company’s processes and functions can be an expensive and nerve-wracking venture to pursue. But the trade-off here is that while the company stays with the legacy solution, the cost of maintaining and supporting the solution is probably higher. This can most likely be attributed to the old technology and the amount of effort which has to be spent by the development team to maintain and support the technology used in the solution.


This naturally leads us into the integration constraints which are associated with legacy solutions. When the solution was created it was most likely designed to support the technology formats for data and communication at the time but was never intended to support the newer tech which is available today. This makes integrating or communicating with other systems either very difficult and rigid or entirely unfeasible.

When the solution was created it was most likely designed to support the technology formats for data at the time


One of the reasons why organizations stick with legacy solutions rather than looking to modernize is the reliability factor. Change is not always good, a poor designed modern version of your legacy solution can lead to frustration in the new system which the company did not have with the older solution. But the trade-off here is by sticking with the legacy solution the company loses out on the advantages which come with modernized technologies in organizations. For this reason, it is important that the company select a reputable software development team to develop a modernized solution should modernization of the legacy solution be on the table.

To conclude this article, a legacy system is not necessarily detrimental to an organization. If it has supported a company for years, been reliable and the tech is still somewhat maintainable then it is the preference of the company. The trade-off here, of course, are the associated factors of increased cost, integration capability and being the curb in tech modernization.

If the company’s current solution has become outdated and started presenting your organization with more constraints than solutions then it may be worthwhile to consult a software development team about what can be done to modernize your existing solutions.

At S4 we have years of experience in B2B software solution development and maintenance, our software professionals would be happy to offer their expertise in free consultations to boost and modernize your business-critical software solutions.

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