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Is it time to upgrade your Legacy Systems?

Read this latest blog from ScotlandIS member and Project Delivery as a Service (PDaaS) provider, Agenor, discussing how to ensure a smooth process when upgrading your Legacy Systems.

Many organisations are using systems that have been the backbone of their operations for over a decade or more. While these ‘legacy systems’ still deliver a degree of reliable support for their critical operations, the pace of technology change has been so rapid in recent years, that many of these systems are becoming outdated, unsupported, inefficient, and increasingly problematic.

In today’s business environment, where agility and flexibility are essential for staying competitive, legacy systems can hold organisations back, causing a range of problems that can have dire consequences for both the business and its customers.

In this blog, we will explore the challenges and limitations of legacy systems, the risks they pose to businesses, and why upgrading to modern technology is critical to their long-term success. Whether you are a business owner, IT professional, or decision-maker, understanding the problems with legacy systems is essential for making informed decisions about your organisation’s technology infrastructure.

Read the Signals

Deciding whether your legacy systems need to be updated can be complicated, and it depends on several factors, including your organisation’s goals, budget, and current system performance. Based on our 18+ years of experience in Project Delivery, there are several key factors Agenor recommends you must consider when making your decision: 

  • Age of the system: One of the primary indicators that your system needs to be updated is its age. If your system is more than ten years old, it is likely to be outdated and may no longer meet your organisation’s needs.
  • Performance issues: If your systems are struggling to keep up with the demands of your organisation and its customers, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Common performance issues include slow response times, frequent crashes, and errors.
  • Security risks: Legacy systems are often vulnerable to security risks as they lack modern security features and updates. If your legacy system is no longer receiving security updates or has suffered a security breach, it may be time to update it.
  • Compatibility issues: As recent technology appears, legacy systems may no longer be compatible with modern hardware or software, making it difficult to integrate with other systems.
  • Maintenance costs: Supporting legacy systems can be costly, as they often need specialised skills and knowledge. If maintenance costs are becoming a significant burden, it may be time to consider an upgrade.
  • Business growth: As your organisation grows and evolves, its technology needs are likely to change. If your legacy system is no longer able to support your business’s growth, an upgrade may be your best option.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, it could be a clear signal that you need to consider upgrading your legacy systems to modern technology that better meets your organisation’s future needs.

Plan and Execute a Successful Upgrade

Once you’ve reached the decision that it’s time to upgrade, you need a robust plan. Upgrading can be a complex and challenging process. But with careful planning and execution, it is possible to achieve a successful update that delivers the required business benefits.

Since 2006, Agenor has successfully led and delivered hundreds of legacy system upgrade projects and programmes for some of the world’s largest organisations. Based on our extensive experience here are some key steps we strongly recommend you follow when embarking on a system upgrade:

  1. Conduct a thorough assessment: The first step is to thoroughly assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current system. This assessment should include an evaluation of system performance, security risks, compatibility issues, and business requirements.
  2. Set clear goals and objectives: Based on the assessment, set clear goals and objectives for the upgrade that will deliver the desired outcomes for the business. Define the scope of the project, establish timelines, and identify key stakeholders.
  3. Develop a comprehensive plan: Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the steps needed to achieve your goals and aims. This plan should include a detailed project plan, resource allocation, budget, and contingency plans for unexpected issues.
  4. Choose the right technology: Choose the right-fit technology that meets your organisation’s needs and aligns with your goals and objectives. Consider factors such as scalability, compatibility, security, and ease of use when selecting technology.
  5. Test and validate: Test and validate the updated system thoroughly to ensure that it meets your organisation’s requirements and performs as expected. This testing should include functional, performance, and security testing.
  6. Train and support users: Provide adequate training and support for users to ensure a smooth transition to the updated system. This may include training sessions, user manuals, and ongoing support.
  7. Monitor and maintain: Once the updated system is in place, monitor and maintain it regularly to ensure that it continues to meet your organisation’s needs and performs optimally. This may include regular updates, security patches, and ongoing maintenance.

To ensure the success of your legacy system upgrade, it’s essential to assess your in-house capabilities and resources honestly. This evaluation will determine if your team can deliver the required project outcomes with minimal risk and disruption to your ongoing business operations. If you’re unsure about your team’s abilities, it’s advisable to involve an experienced external delivery partner during the program design phase. This will provide you with access to professional project delivery expertise and resources, minimize risk, and ensure that the highest quality standards are met.

Choose the Right Delivery Partner

When selecting a project delivery partner to carry out a legacy system upgrade, there are several important factors to consider. Primarily, you should look for a provider that has expertise in legacy system upgrades and experience working with similar systems and technologies. It’s important to check their track record and ask for references or case studies to assess their capabilities.

The methodology used by the project delivery provider is also critical to the success of the project. You should look for a provider with a proven method for executing legacy system upgrades, including detailed planning, risk management, testing, and quality assurance processes. Communication is also key, so look for a provider with clear and effective communication processes that keep all stakeholders informed throughout the project.

Resource availability is another important consideration. Legacy system upgrades can be resource-intensive, so make sure the provider has the necessary resources to complete the project on time and within budget. Cost is always a factor, but it should not be the only consideration. Look for a provider with a transparent pricing model that aligns with your budget and project goals.

Flexibility is also essential. Legacy system upgrade projects can be complex and unpredictable, so look for a provider that is flexible and can adapt to changes in project scope, timelines, or requirements. Finally, make sure the project delivery provider’s culture aligns with your organisation’s values and goals. Look for a provider who shares your commitment to quality, collaboration, and customer service.


If you are experiencing problems with outdated legacy systems this is a strong sign that it’s time for you to consider upgrading them. Making the decision to upgrade can be challenging and complex but not acting can have serious consequences for the long-term performance and security of your business. But once the decision is made it is critical that you have an honest appraisal of your in-house project management capabilities. To ensure the desired project outcomes and business benefits you may need to engage with an external delivery partner. Choosing the right project delivery provider requires careful consideration of several factors, including expertise, methodology, communication, resource availability, cost, flexibility, and culture fit. By taking these factors into account, you can select a provider who can help you achieve a successful upgrade while minimizing risk and maximizing value.

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