Can you imagine that over 74% of manufacturing and engineering companies in the UK were still using legacy systems in 2022? It may seem surprising at first, considering how many problems, maintenance costs and difficulties it brings to the team. On the other hand, using legacy systems keeps the companies in their comfort zones, and still meets the needs they were first designed for. We must be true here – as a development agency we dislike legacy systems. It’s simply because we love to use modern technology to speed up processes and have flexibility on an everyday basis. And today we decided to tell you why it’s worth migrating a legacy system to Jamstack.
What is a Legacy System?
A legacy system is any software, website or app that is built with an outdated methodology or architecture. Usually, it was implemented some years ago and still meets the needs it was designed for. However, its limitations don’t allow for further business growth or any changes in the initial concept.
An example of such a system can be a legacy website. The whole site is rebuilding on each request, which means that the browser has to reach the content delivery network, web server, app server and database each time the customer is clicking something. All the websites were built this way till Jamstack and the microservice approach appeared on the market.
What characterises a legacy system?
Of course, we are not claiming that each system that was built years ago using older technology is a legacy system by now. But some features can suggest it’s time to rethink your tools and gain more control over the processes.
- Legacy systems use obsolete technologies
If your system was built with the programming language that the community migrated from a long time ago (like Pascal or Fortran) or uses a framework that lost its relevance, is not supported and can’t be updated to the newer versions (like Microsoft Silverlight) it means that your system is simply outdated.
- Lack of experts
Another problem having its origin from obsolete technology is the lack of experts and up-to-date documentation on the market. Since the provider no longer supports the solutions, finding someone who is experienced with it, can be a big problem.
- Poor architecture that doesn’t allow to scale
The legacy system has an outdated product architecture that is not efficient anymore for scaling and further development. It usually lacks boundaries between functional and technical areas and the dependencies between them are too hard to analyze and understand. This makes it even more difficult to change or update anything.
- Adapting new technology means re-platforming the whole system
As legacy systems are usually built as one big unit (according to the monolithic approach), any changes in the system, like adapting new technology or integrating 3d party solutions, require rebuilding the whole system.
It is a costly and time-consuming process, and that’s why companies rarely decide to update legacy systems. Even if you’re happy with 75% of the architecture but have problems with the 25%, you have to re-platform the whole system.
- Bad UI/UX
Legacy systems had usually poorly designed User Interfaces and outdated designs. Nowadays we pay great attention to fine-tuning UI and UX design, but in the past, it wasn’t that obvious. And if new users have problems navigating your system it’s obviously poorly designed.
Are there any good sides to a legacy system?
You may start to wonder: if the legacy systems are so bad, why do so many companies still use them? Mostly it’s because the companies are afraid of such a big change and initial investment that migration usually brings.
But there are also some advantages of the legacy systems that keep the entrepreneurs around the outdated technology:
- The employees are familiar with the solution which makes carrying out daily tasks easier
- Legacy systems are still efficient for the tasks they were designed for and for carrying out day-to-day operations
- Legacy systems are custom solutions answering the needs of a given business
Is your system a legacy one?
If you’re still not sure if your solution is a legacy one, please consider the following questionnaire. If most of the answers are “yes”, it’s time to admit that your system is outdated. Spending more time and money on it is not cost-effective anymore.
Questionnaire: Mark points that influence your business most of all from a legacy system perspective
- High accidental complexity of the codebase. Lack of unit or integration testing.
- Old technologies, old design and architecture practices.
- Lack of project documentation and developers who have a full understanding of the system
- Difficult configuration with new 3d parties
- No upgrade/continuous maintenance
- Difficult to add new functionalities
- “It just works” or “Better not to touch this code” describe your approach to the system
What are the main problems of legacy systems and how do they influence potential growth?
A legacy system uses obsolete technologies and so they can become incompatible with any newer systems that you are using within the company. This means that departments working on the legacy system may have problems communicating with others, and as a result causing delays in customers’ services.
Businesses using legacy systems may have serious problems and delays if any issue occurs within the system. It’s simply because the providers usually no longer support their technologies.
This may stop the company from actively competing with other companies that rely on modern technologies, and has a serious impact on the time to market, leading to loss of revenue and market share.
Legacy systems are usually not responding to the other systems within the company which isolates the data they use from others. This may become a big problem, especially when the employees have to import the data manually, which is usually highly ineffective and may lead to security issues.
Lack of support, updates and newer program versions usually means using old safety protocols and not following the highest security standards, which can lead to data leaks, malware and ransomware attacks.
Outdated technologies also rarely account for newer compliance regulations, which may also cause issues with remaining GDPR compliant.
Legacy systems are usually very slow, and extremely inefficient. They usually have long load times, and many bugs that slow up the system. What’s more, because of the lack of system support, no one can mitigate this risk, and as a result, the system becomes even slower over time.
High Maintenance costs
As we mentioned before, maintaining a legacy system is a big problem, due to a lack of documentation and expertise. This may cause increased downtimes, which results in high maintenance costs and can lead to loss the information and data during the downtimes.
No space for innovations
Using legacy systems gives you no space for innovations, and nowadays including the digital trends in your business is inseparable to remain competitive.
What Jamstack offers to overcome those issues?
Jamstack is the modern architecture allowing for building incredibly fast static sites and web applications. It uses the strong benefits of the most modern technologies and gives full flexibility in tech stack choice, information architecture and 3rd party integrations.
Want to learn more about Jamstack? Check out our video: What is Jamstack and when to use it?
Full Interactivity and Flexibility in Adding New Features
You can connect almost anything to your Jamstack page using APIs. API enables devs to hydrate dynamic and static content with data from various backend sources without overloading your website.
Any tools that you are using inside your company you can connect to your Jamstack solution – whether it is a payment system or CRM of your choice. There are almost no limitations in Jamstack compatibility so feel free to add new features and functionalities according to your and your customer’s needs.
Wide offer of a tech stack
Jamstack decouples the front end from the backend, so you can choose any tools you like to build your perfect solution. All the technologies used with the Jamstack architecture are up to date and prepared to evolve with the fast-pacing world.
The providers offer full documentation and full support for their solutions. What’s more, many frameworks, like React, have huge communities behind them, which makes handling issues much easier.
Easy to find tech staff
Jamstack uses modern technologies that gain popularity through the years and so more and more developers are working with it on a daily basis.
Thanks to that you don’t have to worry about finding the expert to create your pages or web apps or maintain them in the future.
Almost all technologies used in the Jamstack approach provide reusable components that make the development process much easier and faster. Once built, the components can be used not only across this one project but also in any other of your digital touchpoints, making your brand more consistent.
Better developer experience
Jamstack architecture uses modern development solutions and practices, which can make them easier for developers to work with and improve the overall development process.
Moving from a monolithic approach allows front-end developers to focus on creating components, which results in faster development since the front-end and back-end can be built separately.
Low Maintenance costs
Jamstack may not be the cheapest option on the market if we’re talking about the development itself, but once invested, the solution is extremely cost-effective. Jamstack website doesn’t require data storage and as a result, cuts the hosting price.
Improved content management
Jamstack architecture uses flexible content management systems and headless CMS, which makes managing content for non-technical users like marketers much easier.
As you can see, migration to Jamstack is the answer for all the pain points that appear during the usage of the legacy system. It is a highly secure solution that is growing with you and takes off many limitations that you may have in the Legacy System. What’s more, it’s easy to integrate with any other solutions and – with other internal tools that you are using within your company.
Remember, that even if your legacy system is still doing the job, you should take into consideration data safety, performance, business growth and user experience. We know that the migration process and first investment can be a little scary – especially if you were working with the current solution for many years. But sticking with what’s not effective anymore is never an option. Especially in the digital world we live in.