Modernising Legacy Platforms to expand growth opportunities

June 16, 2020

Rhys Evans

Rhys Evans

General Manager, Customer

Businesses of all sizes and types are constantly looking to create new or optimize existing revenue streams by evolving their systems and processes to increase efficiency, decrease cost and improve operations.

Modernisation of legacy platforms has become more popular over the past two years with business who are looking to explore opportunities for growth.

But what is a legacy system?

A legacy platform is a system or product that is still in production long beyond its planned deployment. This could simply be:

  • An application that is working fine and has no external drive for change
  • The cost for rebuilding could outweigh the (planned) benefits
  • or, it’s hard to find a new platform that offers the same or similar functionality, especially in a specialised industry.

Just recently the Australian government asked for more COBOL programmers to help fill a need in scaling a legacy platform, every industry from banking, utilities and transport use legacy or outdated platforms to provide the services we use every day. The ongoing problem with this is that most universities do not teach these legacy programming languages anymore.  

Why are legacy systems still used today?

There are a whole variety of reasons why businesses might still be relying on a legacy system. The most common reason is that they can be hard to replace, especially if they’re vital for the running of the business. Modernisation can be an initially labour-intensive and costly exercise. But there are other less pragmatic reasons a business may be slow to broaching the issue.

They could be resistant to change through some combination of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “better the devil you know”. Or the system could simply be considered adequate enough to get the job done in the short term and thus “out of sight, out of mind”.

There could be risks associated with changing the status quo that executives are unwilling to take. Or they could even lack the required technical ability, knowledge or options to find a new system that offers better functionality.

One of the hardest things in any legacy systems replacement program can be managing scope creep (“whilst we are changing things let’s just”…) along with retraining staff and the organisational change that comes with such a large change.

Why should you modernise your legacy system?

In almost every scenario, modernising a legacy system is a cost-effective solution in the long run. Running and relying on a legacy system for your business comes with a number of high risks that not everyone is aware of:

  • Lack of support and maintenance for troubleshooting issues.
  • They are often subject to sudden crashes.
  • Incompatibility with other more modern systems and platforms.
  • Exposure to security breaches.
  • Increasingly slow activity decreases efficiency and productivity.
  • Hidden costs of running outdated systems.
  • Lack of compliance with updated, modern regulation
  • Loss of business opportunities due to decreased agility.
  • Training staff in a specific set of skills to use the system that aren’t transferable.
  • The longer you wait to replace your legacy system, the more difficult/costly it could be.

If you’re looking to increase revenue in your organisation, it’s well worth your time and money to conduct a rigorous system review to determine what can and should be replaced with a more modern system.

Of course, many people might be put off by the time required to properly consider the cost and options of upgrading their systems. In certain instances, it might not be the right time to replace your legacy system, but chances are the time will come down the road. The more prepared you are for that moment, the less disruptive it will be for your business and ultimately your company’s bottom line.

The Benefits of Modernising Your Legacy Platform

The best way of thinking about the modernisation of your legacy system is to consider it as an investment, plain and simple. And there are numerous benefits to modernising:

  • Increase the ability of your business to innovate and offer new features and products that might not be supported by your legacy system.
  • Increase staff productivity through new practices and technologies.
  • Improve customer experience with modern processes that allow for seamless service offerings.
  • Create new revenue streams through new services and processes that increase the value you’re able to offer your customer.


Need to modernise your legacy system? Get in touch with myself or the team at Versent today. Rhys Evans Linkedin or info@versent.com.au