General

Thinking of replacing your legacy-system with a low-code platform? Why would you?

Legacy systems – often ERPs – suffer from a negative image these days. They are said to be outdated, too complex, and too expensive to maintain. One solution is to completely replace such a system with a user-friendly and flexible low-code or no-code platform. This advice is often given by ICT professionals like me, who specialize in these technologies. But is a replacement always such a good idea? Or is there an alternative?

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH LEGACY SOFTWARE

In many organizations, the legacy system still does what it was built for, where the relationship with the supplier is excellent and the system is regularly updated. The real problem is often that the legacy software no longer meets all the needs.

More and more organizations want to exchange information from an ERP with customers, suppliers, or partners in a secure manner. The general trend is also that these organizations want to be able to design communication and (chain) processes with third parties. You won’t easily find a solution for this in your legacy system. This is usually not in line with the original design and purpose of a legacy system.

PREFER TO ENRICH

What you may not know is that cloud-based application development platforms like Elemenz can also be very complementary to legacy systems. You can easily use them to enrich your legacy system by adding the functionalities and information you are missing. Because these platforms can be linked to your legacy software, you can also efficiently and securely exchange information from your system with partners. Without having to give them direct access.

BENEFITS

Enriching a legacy system with a low-code platform in this way, rather than replacing it, has several important advantages.

Benefit 1: You avoid losing capital

Setting up and implementing your legacy system has most likely been a long intensive and cost-intensive process. All those investments will be wasted if you discard the legacy system all at once.

Benefit 2: You keep the money to invest in your primary process

Even setting up a low-code platform takes time, money, and effort. Much more than if you opt for enrichment only. In times of pandemic and crisis, you’d probably rather invest those resources in innovating your primary process.

Benefit 3: You get more out of your legacy system

Often, information that is locked up in legacy systems is not being fully utilized. By enriching the legacy software with a low-code platform, it is possible to unlock that data in other and more modern ways and make it work for you.

Benefit 4: Knowledge and information won’t be lost

When you move from system A to system B, you inevitably have to deal with data migration. The basic data – that is about 80 percent – can probably be transferred quickly and without problems. But with the remaining 20 percent, you run risks. That information influences business logic and core processes. Experience shows that when transferring them, some of this information is always lost.

Benefit 5: You avoid the accumulation of risks

Data loss during migration is only one of the risks you run when you completely replace a legacy system. If you also seize the switch to change your way of working, that creates additional risk. With enrichment, nothing changes to your legacy system and your primary process, therefore, you don’t stack risk upon risk.

More and more organizations want to exchange information from an ERP with customers, suppliers, or partners in a secure manner. The general trend is also that these organizations want to be able to design communication and (chain) processes with third parties. You won’t easily find a solution for this in your legacy system. This is usually not in line with the original design and purpose of a legacy system.

SO: ENRICH OR REPLACE?

Keep what you have, add what you don’t. In my experience, that can be a good strategy when it comes to enriching or replacing your legacy system with a cloud-based application development solution like Elemenz. As I’ve shown, it can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.
Whether enrichment is the best option for you? I’d be happy to discuss that with you sometime.

Written by: Robert Wijn (Software Architect Elemenz)

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