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You’re likely in one of two tech boats: Your plan to modernize your business has been in the initial planning stages for years OR You started the process but still aren’t fully modern. When the subject arises to move forward, the reasons to hold off pop up quickly and seem logical enough: It’s costly, it could be disruptive, it’ll require many internal resources, it could fail. Plus, you’ve made it this far on your legacy systems. What can it hurt to wait a little longer?
There’s no harm in taking careful consideration for the next steps in your tech journey. With the state of and expectations for business technology today, there’s more harm in doing nothing or deploying ad-hoc technology to meet new requirements.
Keeping your technology up to date will benefit your business in both the short- and long-term. Waiting to modernize your business technology, especially your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, comes with many limitations, costs and risks —no matter your industry.
Legacy, on-premises systems can’t equip your business with everything you need to compete and grow in today’s competitive environment like Cloud-based systems can —and they cost more than you may realize. After deployment, a Cloud-based system costs a predictable monthly subscription fee. It also eliminates the need for replacing hardware, updating and upgrading software, storing and securing data, and in-house IT personnel performing essential maintenance instead of innovation and optimizing business processes.
In recent Forrester Total Economic Impact™ studies on migrating Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP platforms like Finance & Operations and Business Central , the migration to the Cloud has shown a payback period of less than one year with an ROI of anywhere between 109% and 162% in under three years. For SMB companies specifically, Cloud migration has resulted in a 10% reduction in hiring and staffing needs.
As your software providers launch new solutions, support is often phased out for your aging on-premise systems. When this happens, you won’t be able to access upgrades and capabilities you need to properly compete. Companies often look to quick fixes, such as creating time-consuming or band-aid workarounds—or paying for third-party software apps to fill the gaps in missing functionality. These scenarios are inefficient, costly and only work for the short-term. It’s like landing in quicksand while your competitors race ahead.
Even if you’re able to access upgrades and new functionality, it ties up your time and resources to implement upgrades manually and dip into capital funds to pay for them upfront. Many businesses find themselves skipping critical upgrades due to budget and resource limitations.
Limitations and costs are often easier to identify, as you can point to existing costs or lack of functionality. Risks are another animal, as they represent possibilities and lost opportunities. And when it comes down to it, there are too many significant risks to staying on legacy technology to ignore.
There is a myth that only “the big companies” are targeted by cyber-criminals. The reality is the SMB organizations are at considerable risk to cybersecurity incidents! The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report identified that in 2022, 1-in-5 breach victims were SMBs—with a medium-cost of losses at $21,659. But the most important research that SMB organizations need to be aware of and concerned with is that recent research shows that 82% of Ransomware Attacks Target Small Businesses.
Modern technology is reinforced with the latest security and security measures, including round-the-clock monitoring and intelligent threat detection. If you’re relying on one IT professional to protect your entire infrastructure, that’s too much to put on their shoulders, and it’s nearly impossible for a small IT team to keep up with today’s evolving threats. And the fact that you’re on a legacy system makes your infrastructure even more vulnerable, especially if you’re just patching security issues and not implementing every upgrade available.
Most businesses with legacy systems count on their existing employees to understand how to work in them, and to train future staff to do the same. However, this means the keys to working in your systems are locked up in people’s heads —and when those people leave, so do the keys. The complicated workarounds developed by a department to extract data from one system, input it in another and make a meaningful report are second nature to a tenured employee who remembers when the legacy system was shiny and new. But that’s not the case for new hires.
A modern system will be more user-friendly and seamless, and you won’t have so many workarounds to document and explain. This is a heightened concern as the global economy is experiencing “The Great Resignation” which continues at an unprecedented 44%. Talent entering the workforce today doesn’t want to work with outdated, time-consuming tools—and they expect anytime, anywhere access to the information and tools they need to succeed in their jobs. They want to be able to make a difference and realize faster results.
The more outdated your systems, the harder it will be to remain compliant against today’s ever-changing regulations. Regulations for information security, general cybersecurity, as well as your specific industry evolve as technologies and potential threats evolve. Slipping out of compliance comes with costs and could even damage your reputation with customers. Modern Cloud solutions typically have the latest compliance requirements built in to help minimize your risk.
Older systems are unreliable, and most small IT teams aren’t equipped to guarantee high availability. Reliability is a top business requirement today. You need to know that no matter what gets thrown your way, your technology will be available and actually be instrumental in solving the problem, not make them worse. Newer technology is built to deliver 99%-plus availability and is designed to enable business continuity and natively support disaster recovery scenarios.
By not upgrading, you also risk downtime to power outages from natural disasters. Sadly, we don’t have control over the weather. But we can help you be less prone to downtime in terms of lost productivity, revenue and customer trust.
Business technology isn’t just about internal functionality and productivity. Improving internal processes and migrating to a more efficient, flexible and unified technology will make a noticeable difference to your customers. Using legacy technology, your customer experience is likely slower and less consistent than you could provide with Cloud-based tools. And your customers are getting faster, seamless and more intelligently consistent experiences nearly everywhere else. What are they getting from your competition that’s just too good to pass up? Can you accomplish that with your existing systems, or do you need to change?
Legacy systems don’t allow easy access to data and analytics. This means that data-driven decisions are often done with out-of-date data that doesn’t exactly put your company ahead of the game. Making decisions for the future with data from even the recent past is a recipe for stagnant or declining growth that frankly, small businesses cannot afford.
Moving to the Cloud increases your agility, making it easier to respond to changing business needs quickly and pivot to changing market conditions before they are yesterday’s news.
Legacy technology doesn’t enable the kind of innovation, on-your-feet-thinking and accurate forecasting your company needs to compete and grow. It’s tough to make good, timely business decisions on new markets to pursue, new product lines to launch, or where to improve your supply chain when you’re working with disjointed, stale, inconsistent data, or expending all your internal tech resources just trying to ‘keep the green lights on’. Agility is essential and today’s modern solutions allow you to have visibility across your organization and provide a single source of truth that enables faster, more informed decisions and real-time forecasts.
Sticking with your legacy system may feel safe and comfortable, but it also hinders growth. On-premises systems hinder innovation and digital transformation efforts as updates to software and modern breakthrough technology are now Cloud based. Migrating to the Cloud provides access to these new technologies and tools, such as the Microsoft Power Platform, which enables your tech to grow with your business easily.
Modernizing your business technology will help you reduce costs, remove limitations and avoid risks. For instance, with a Cloud-based ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, you’ll get:
So, you get it. You need to upgrade and fully modernize your technology. But where should you start? Modernizing an organization’s technology looks different for everyone depending on where they’re at and which capabilities are critical to their business.
The takeaway is to strategically modernize your technology, so it aligns with your business goals. Done right, this will deliver the best benefits for your business today and move you toward how you want to operate tomorrow.
If you’d like to talk through what that might look like, reach out to discuss your business requirements, challenges and goals with an Enavate expert.
As the Global Microsoft Solutions Evangelist, Robert is responsible for helping our clients with their end-to-end digital transformation journey within the Microsoft solutions and Cloud ecosystems. With over 20 years’ experience in the Microsoft channel – he helps our clients with Hybrid Cloud architectures, strategic and technical road-mapping, DevOps automation, Packaging, and deployment, navigating Microsoft App Source, partner relationships and more.