Outdated software, also known as legacy software, can often be overlooked within a business. Replacing the outdated software is often pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list or some wait for a critical issue to occur before actions are taken. This however comes with risks that can be detrimental to your business if you don’t upgrade to a new system. Using outdated software isn’t just a burden on production, it also threatens your entire operation. 

For example, modern finance teams often stick to their old ERP software to manage rebates because they fear the cost of upgrading to a new system or are stuck in their ways. However, what these businesses don’t realize is that remaining on their legacy software is actually costing them more. To manage the complexity of rebates, finance teams now require automation to process their rebate agreements more effectively and deliver thorough business insights in real-time across the organization.

Main reasons why businesses don’t upgrade their outdated software

If updates and upgrades are so important, why are so many companies reluctant to make these necessary changes? Many businesses around the world continue to rely on outdated software because of the following:

  • Not able to find the right software: It can take time to research and evaluate new solutions good enough to replace existing software. You don’t know what the best solutions are to solve your business’s unique needs.
  • The cost: updating and making the move to new technology from outdated software can be too expensive for some businesses. 
  • If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it: If the legacy system is still in good working order, some businesses choose to keep using it until it breaks. This is looked at as a cost-effective method that gets more value for the money that was initially invested at the start.
  • Fear of breaking the system: if the system’s works fine, the company may be afraid to change current processes. So, they continue to rely on the old system until it eventually fails.

While these may seem like valid reasons to keep using outdated software, the result of relying on these legacy systems can come with many risks for all aspects of the business which we discuss below.

Risk 1: Legal and regulatory risks

Laws around data storage are there to ensure data is kept in a secure and legal way, and if your business is using unsupported, outdated software you could be breaking these regulations, having catastrophic consequences for a business.  Auditors can even fine companies that don’t transition from unsupported software or systems.

Risk 2: Increased costs

Outdated software can be expensive to maintain, and you will probably find it will definitely fail more often. Although a new software system will come at a cost, you will have less risk, and will likely save more money in the long term. Not only this, but old technology also doesn’t integrate well with new, modern technology. That means the opportunity to leverage new functionality is often missed and business processes are not as efficient as they could be. 

Risk 3: Decreased staff productivity

Outdated software runs slower, takes longer to execute tasks, and requires much more time-consuming maintenance, updates and helpdesk calls than its newer counterparts.

Your team will start to get frustrated because the tools or applications are currently getting in the way of them getting the job done and they have to waste time waiting for any issues to be fixed. Decreased productivity can cost your business in terms of both revenue and ROI.

Risk 4: Unnecessary delays

Processing data is the norm for many businesses, but they shouldn’t have to wait around for long periods of time in getting the results they need to make informed business decisions. The excuse many give, is that is the way it’s always been done; however, it doesn’t have to be that way. The whole point of upgrading from an outdated software solution is to increase efficiency, improve productivity and streamline operations across the business.

Risk 5: Software integration Issues 

In today’s modern business world, integration of systems is non-negotiable. Without software integration, employees will have to move data manually around different tools, which is very time-consuming. However, many find that their outdated software is standalone and were never designed to integrate with other pieces of software. While that might have been fine once, it drastically reduces your organization’s flexibility and scalability, as well as limiting the integrations you can perform. For example, at Enable we see a lot of our customers integrating their rebate management system with an ERP so they can collect the critical information your business needs.

Risk 6: Security

Slow, obstructive outdated software could cause significant security issues down the line. That’s because it is inevitably old and, sometimes, are no longer being supported by the vendor or company that created the software. That lost support means your vendor isn’t investing in developing bug patches or improving security on your outdated software platform. Unpatched software is more at risk for attacks and automated scanning bots that could put your sensitive company data in the wrong hands. That’s not to mention the fact that a total crash of your software could leave your IT team to figure it out all on their own. The only way to reduce these significant security risks is to upgrade your outdated software or to move to a new platform entirely. 

Moving on from outdated software

After reading this blog you will hopefully realize the benefits of replacing your outdated software, largely outweigh the risks of sticking with it. We find that people looking to replace their manual spreadsheets or legacy rebate management system turn to Enable, because we have created a SaaS solution that handle the complexities of rebates and can transform your rebate management processes once and for all.