8 min read

Steps For Upgrading Legacy Software Platforms

Tech/Technology/Platform/Software Platform/Legacy Platform/Engineers/Developers/Software/Software Development/UI/UX/Interface/Technical Infrastructure/Tech Stack/Thought Leadership
Upgrading a legacy software platform can be a daunting challenge for organizations. It's not a simple decision to make, and there are lot of steps that go into truly upgrading a outdated platform. Luckily there are some strategies that can beneficially impact your organization.
Written by
Jonathan Mitchell
Published on
April 12, 2024

While startups are introduced constantly, there are also established organizations that have adapted to the ever-changing market. These legacy companies were present for the introduction of the internet and the subsequent tech boom. They worked to establish platforms, and those legacy software platforms have been the backbone for a long time. However, over time, these platforms can become outdated. Unlike classic cars, having a dated system doesn’t come with many benefits. Falling behind the curve can be a major hindrance to growth and innovation. At the same time, upgrading legacy software platforms can be daunting. This reality is especially true when businesses need help knowing where to start. Here are three steps to take when looking to upgrade a legacy platform.

Conduct a Comprehensive Audit

Conducting a comprehensive audit is the first step. It may not sound fun, but it’s absolutely necessary. This audit will help businesses identify the areas of the platform that need to be upgraded. It'll also specify the ones that can remain untouched. Along with these insights, the potential cost of upgrading can be determined. Businesses will also need to identify the potential risks of upgrading the platform. What would training look like? How would it integrate with other systems? These questions can be answered through a dutiful audit. The organization will also be able to better determine the true scope of the project.

The comprehensive audit should focus on the following areas:

Technical Infrastructure

The technical infrastructure refers to the platform's hardware, software, and network components. This is where you can identify any outdated hardware or software components. The audit should also identify any network components that need to be upgraded. Sometimes only a few items need addressing, other times it’s better to start from scratch.

User Interface

The user interface refers to the way users interact with the software platform. The audit should identify any user interface elements that must be updated. Improving the interface benefits the user experience. If the UX is addressed, then customer retention and the likelihood of repeat customers increases.  Changes to the interface can include the layout, color scheme, or font size.

Functionality

The functionality of the platform refers to the tasks the platform can perform. Identifying any functionality that needs to be added or removed is essential. The audit should also identify any new features that need to be added to meet the needs of the business.

Security

Security is a critical aspect of any software platform. This process should identify any security vulnerabilities in the current software platform. You can also find any new security features that must be added to the upgraded platform at this time. This aspect needs expert analysis and could come with a hefty cost. Budget will play a role here, but security is crucial and shouldn’t be seen as anything other than a priority.

Prioritize Features and Functionality

So, the audit is complete. Then what? Businesses should prioritize the features and functionality they want to upgrade. This will help organizations focus their resources on critical aspects of the platform. When prioritizing features and functionality, businesses should consider user experience, security, and scalability. This ensures the upgraded platform meets the needs of users and can grow with the business.

Here are some key factors:

User Needs

The user should be the top priority when prioritizing features and functionality. The upgraded platform should meet the changing needs of the business and its users. Accessibility should be a priority and the design must have a holistic approach.

Security

Security is another priority when prioritizing features and functionality. The upgraded platform should have improved security features.

Scalability

Scalability is also vital. The upgraded platform should be able to grow with the business. That includes handling increased traffic and usage. If you spend the time and money upgrading your legacy platform, it would be pointless for it to remain stagnant from that point on. Take into account the level of growth that’s expected, then make an educated decision.

Consider Partnering with a Software Development Firm

Upgrading a legacy software platform can be a complex and time-consuming process. Some businesses do not have the expertise to handle the upgrade. Budget is also a factor here. In this case, they should consider partnering with a software development firm. A software development firm can provide the necessary technical expertise and resources. They can also help businesses identify the areas of the platform that need to be upgraded. They'll help prioritize features and functionality. Partnering with a software development firm can help businesses save time and money. Not only that, it'll ensure that the upgraded platform meets their needs.

There are several things to consider when looking for a software development firm:

Expertise

The software development firm should have expertise in upgrading legacy software platforms. They should have a track record of completing similar projects.  It’s important there’s a history of success, but the search should be comprehensive. Find a partner that perfectly suits your organization, don’t take any shortcuts here.

Resources

This firm should have the resources needed to complete the project. This includes developers, project managers, and quality assurance professionals. The quality of talent available plays a key role here as well. Make sure the resources available are high quality and capable of meeting your expectations.

Communication

Effective communication is critical when working with a software development firm. The firm should have a clear communication plan to ensure the project stays on track. The method of communication can be whatever works best for all parties involved,  but it should be constant and detail driven. Having a comprehensive understanding of progress and upcoming deadlines is imperative.

It Can Be Done

Upgrading a legacy software platform can be a challenging task for tech businesses. Thankfully there are ways to mitigate that difficulty. First, conduct a comprehensive audit. You can then start prioritizing features and functionality. Partnering with a software development firm can help businesses navigate the process. Organizations can ensure their legacy platform does not hinder their growth and innovation. Businesses can upgrade their legacy software platform and stay ahead of the competition. As long as they have the right approach.

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