Three Steps for Updating Legacy Software

Legacy software always presents an interesting case. On one hand, businesses often stick with their legacy software due to familiarity. They fear changing to something more modern because that would require retraining, plus they feel that the software they have now does the job well enough.

On the other, not updating legacy software places a business at risk of falling behind its competitors. As other companies move onto the latest innovations, those left behind have to struggle to play catch up while others take advantage of everything that new software has to offer.

At Imobisoft, we offer a legacy software updating service that will help you bring your old software into the modern age while offering a smooth transition for your staff. There are three key steps to this process.

Step 1 – Research

A software developer must gather as much information as possible about the legacy system before making any decisions about how it should be updated. After all, without information you can’t base your decisions on anything solid.

Research should focus on a number of key areas. These include what the current software actually does, its strengths, and its weaknesses.

The developer also needs to understand how widely used the software is and which functions the business finds most valuable. Typically, this requires a combination of hands-on time with the software and interviews with employees who use it.

This all provides information that the developer can use to match the new software as closely as possible to the legacy software. The developer may then decide whether to use an off-the-shelf solution or to create a bespoke software that fulfils the business’ needs.

Step 2 – Testing

We mentioned getting hands-on with the legacy software, but that involves much more than a cursory glance at how it works in the context of the business. The developer must understand every single process the software accomplishes and how that is relevant in the business environment.

From there, the developer must test the proposed upgrade for compatibility. For example, the legacy software may run on an extensive database. That means any software the developer uses in the upgrade must be capable of extracting and altering data in that database. If not, the transition will be an arduous process that may never be completed if the database is too large.

This is also an important point to gather feedback from current software users. In particular, the developer should try to find out what the users enjoy about the legacy software and what they would change if they could.

Step 3 – Create a Migration Plan

A solid migration plan helps a business avoid the costly delays that can result from transitioning to a new software.

In many cases, a gradual transition from legacy to new can help staff make the adjustments they need. This allows for a slow rollout of training, thus allowing the business to continue functioning as the updates occur. Gradual transition also allows a business to spread its cost over a longer period.

All old systems also need backups created to cater for the potential of data loss during the transition.

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