As we network around Phoenix, we run into lots of very successful companies in a range of industries, including retail, distribution, manufacturing, and construction. In the process, we have stopped being surprised when we find them running key pieces of their operations–ERP, CRM, Project Management, HR, etc.–on an old machine in a back room or closet and with no one with the proper skills to attend to them.
These systems, often built on old platforms like an Access database, FoxPro, or an old IBM AS/400, still exist because they do the job–albeit sometimes painfully. They usually contain years of data. And, the business has built the system into its standard process. Yet, these systems present a number of problems and risks:
- They are often clumsy and inflexible
- It can be very challenging to get data in and out of the system, making it very hard to integrate with the rest of the operation or to access the information remotely
- The systems can be prone to a catastrophic failure, potentially making it nearly impossible to run the business
- It can be nearly impossible to add useful new features
- The systems can often represent security risks
- And, it can be very hard to find IT staff who are able to support the systems, often leaving businesses at the mercy of the small firms who built the system in the first place.
Since our approach focuses on solving the core business problems, we don’t have a one-size fits all approach to helping customers deal with these challenges. In some cases, we simply help our customers secure the existing system and keep it operating while they look for an off the shelf replacement. In others, we’ve helped to integrate the legacy system into other applications, saving our customers significant time while giving them increased accuracy and an improved ability to see what is going on with their businesses. In others, we’ve modernized the legacy applications and migrated them to a cloud environment such as Amazon or Microsoft Azure. And, we are always willing to help our customers select a more modern system and to help them through the implementation.
If you would like to have a conversation about how to manage and support old applications in your business, please feel free to reach out.