When you notice that your software system is no longer allowing you to do the things you need to do, it’s taking time away from activities that grow your business, and you’re at risk from a security threat, you’ll need to look into your options.

Most business leaders will need to decide between updating certain parts of their current system, or simply starting with a brand new software. There are pros and cons to both of these options, and the right choice will depend on your current software.

Here are a few things you should consider:

When was your current system developed? Was it developed specifically for your business?

If your software was developed 10-30 years ago, there’s a good chance you’ll need to start with a new system- particularly if you originally bought an off-the-shelf solution. If your software was custom built for you, but is ageing, you should consider whether this technology continues to support your growth, or whether it is holding you back.

Is it better to update your software system or start with a new one

Are team members struggling to perform basic, day-to-day tasks with your current system?

This can cause frustration amongst key team members, and you’ll also be wasting a huge amount of resources as staff are continually fixing bugs instead of working on tasks that move your business forward.

Is your vendor still providing support and security patches for your current software system?

If your vendor is still providing you with excellent, responsive support, an update may be all that’s needed since they’re available to help with any huge problems. However, if this is no longer the case, a bug or problem with your system could lead to downtime within your business or damage to your reputation if you’re hacked.

Updating your software system

Often it makes sense to try to update your system first since this is usually a cheaper solution in the short-term.

Modernising your legacy system can also be a good middle road between simply maintaining your current system and completely replacing it. And there are many talented developers who can find creative strategies by building clean and modern code on top of your legacy code.

If you have enough documentation for your legacy system, and your IT staff haven’t needed to perform numerous patches and workarounds over the years, you may be able to get away with a simple update of the parts of the system that are giving you (and your staff) the most grief.

You may find that you can use outward facing applications to only interact with your current system as a “system of record” which can allow for some modernisation while still using your original system. The question will be whether your legacy code will allow your business to scale, and how long these updates will last before they will also be obsolete.

Starting with a new system

Your legacy code may be based on technology that’s so outdated that support is virtually non-existent and it’s almost impossible to find high-quality developers to help with maintenance.

In this case, your system will be directly holding you back from growing and attracting new customers. You’ll also find it hard to retain great developers and IT staff since few people want to work on old, dated systems when they could be working with the latest and greatest technology elsewhere.

While many business leaders hesitate to invest in a brand new system due to the upfront cost, you may find that what you’re spending on maintaining and fixing your current system each year will exceed the long-term costs associated with a new system. While a complete overhaul may be a more expensive choice initially, the overall benefits will make it well worth it when your systems function more efficiently, employee productivity increases, and you can offer better services to your customers.

Another big reason to commit to a new system is for greater mobility. A new system will allow for mobile access, which is becoming crucial since it allows your employees to work and collaborate from anywhere, your customers to interact with your business via apps, and increases overall competitiveness.

Want to learn more about your options? Get in touch today and we’ll give you the best advice for your situation.