The word “modernization” has a connotation nearly all of us like. For software, it means newer, faster, sleeker, and more useful—all qualities we want our business applications to have.

But modernizing a legacy system—the software your organization has relied on for many years—can be difficult. From convincing your board to approve the change to getting employees excited about the new application, just making the move from “we have a problem” to “let’s choose a vendor” can be a long process.

That said, here are five signs that modernization is imminent. If you find that these problems are ongoing, a push to modernize may well be in your organization’s future.

1. Operation and maintenance costs are high.

When the cost of maintaining the status quo exceeds the long-term costs of modernization, it’s a no-brainer what the next step should be. While modernizing may be expensive in the beginning, the overall efficiency gains will lower your expenses going forward.

And that’s really the point, isn’t it? To be more efficient. Because greater efficiency results in higher revenue for your organization, which will ultimately mitigate ongoing issues with maintenance costs and maybe even move you back into the green.

2. It’s just… clunky.

Are users complaining that the system is hard to use? Do several cumbersome steps dampen user productivity? Is it slow?

A clunky system is an outdated system. Modernization that fits your organization’s day-to-day user needs can make your team much more productive – not to mention improve office morale.

3. Your business processes have changed.

If you selected your application years ago, there’s a really good chance that something has changed in the way you do business or the way your employees work. And if the legacy system was set up to do things “the old way,” it might be hard to make your newest process mesh with the application’s core functionality.

4. There’s no tight integration with future applications.

When you know that you’ll be using new applications in the future, it should go without saying that you need tight integration between those applications and the legacy system. But if your current vendor can’t provide those integrations or your IT staff can’t build them, modernization may be the only answer.

Whether it’s project management, CRM, or content management, tight integration helps users see all pertinent information in one place—and that means better ROI for your organization.

5. It’s not mobile-ready.

When employees have access to your system on-the-go, they can complete more tasks in more places more often. Mobile access is becoming a huge factor in overall competitiveness, and legacy systems that don’t allow for it will leave you in the same low-efficiency, high-cost environment you’re trying to eliminate.

An investment in cloud-enabling, mobile-friendly technologies will make it easier for all users to access the system and use it to its fullest advantage. Take this big step toward modernizing, and watch your productivity take off. Your employees will like it, too.


AvatarAdam Green

Adam Green writes on behalf of Attachmate, a B2B software provider that helps organizations bring legacy data into user-friendly, agile applications.