Legacy systems, a disaster waiting to happen?

legacy systems and modernisation

Many businesses are reliant on business critical systems that were developed many years ago with now defunct or no longer supported programming languages such as FoxPro, Clipper, dBASE and MS Access.

Often these systems are no longer supported, as the developers have retired or developed their careers as developers in other, current technologies.

Instead of updating these legacy systems to modern technologies such as .Net and PHP for example, businesses are reluctant as these systems have successfully formed the core of their operations for many years without failure, and the hope is this will continue.

If existing hardware continues to function, and operating systems or printers remain unchanged, it is possible the systems will continue to deliver, but new operating systems, printers, hardware drivers, can deliver unexpected results leading to businesses suddenly finding themselves with unusable systems and even worse, corrupted data.

Are businesses overwhelmed by the challenge posed by the many options now available to them, with different advise from each expert, leading to tweaking already creaking systems

Instead of taking the leap and moving forward into better technologies and taking the opportunity to develop improved systems, which are more efficient and potential could have huge cost savings for the organisation, many companies prefer to wait until and action is forced.

Unfortunately this does appear to be a common scenario and many businesses approach Specifix when in a state of panic after their systems have failed and each time the key factors are the same.

1. The original developers are no longer available.
2. There is no support agreement in place as the system has run without problems for years.
3. New software or hardware has recently been installed and this has caused issues.
4. They don't know where the source code or system documentation is located, or whether it even exists!
5. The business cannot operate without the software.

We have never failed to get a system back up and running, sometimes within hours but sometimes it can take weeks, depending on the seriousness of the failure.

Our suggestion is to be proactive and investigate the options now, because although your system appears to be working perfectly today, with legacy systems, where the technology is no longer supported, a serious failure could be closer than you ever imagined.