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When to replace legacy software


If you’re juggling too many spreadsheets, users have lost faith in your database, and it takes an age to extract any meaningful data – it could be time to switch to something new.

If you answer yes to any of the following, your business may benefit from making some improvements to your current software application, or even looking for something completely new.

You no longer trust the data

If users have lost faith in your current database or software system, are frequently experiencing bugs and finding it a hassle to use – they may have stopped using it properly. Ensuring that data is consistently added into the database is essential for getting good data out.

  • speak to those using the system and make a list of the core issues that are stopping staff from using it. It could be that simply getting the bugs fixed will make all the difference
  • run some refresher training to ensure that all users are using the system correctly – it could be a simple training need that needs to be addressed.
  • if any of your problems are down to poor quality data then start an initiative to clean it up. People will respond positively if they know that somebody actually cares about the quality of the data and that it is being used effectively. Even if you decide to completely replace the software system you will almost always need to transfer the data to the new system
  • empower key employees by giving them ways to highlight poor quality or missing data as early as possible in the process.

The system no longer meets your needs

When you started out, the software system you currently use may have suited you well. But as the company has grown and more people need to access it, it may no longer be working for you.

  • find out how other businesses deal with the challenges you are facing before looking for a new software solution
  • run a strategic planning session to identify key trends in your industry. Sometimes it is better to meet change head-on than to wait until it is drowning you. Then you can evaluate any new software in the light of where you want to be in five years’ time.

You are juggling too many spreadsheets

Your customer database is your most valuable asset. Providing a centralised system that is easy to access allows you to pull data at any time, making users better prepared for daily activities, customer interactions and future planning. If users have stopped using the system properly, they may have found their own way of working – recording data in different ways, such as using Excel spreadsheets or in Word documents. Not recording data in one centralised system makes it impossible to pull effective data and can lead to inaccuracies, customer errors and dissatisfaction.

It is also risky if staff members are not documenting data correctly, as if they leave they will simply take it all with them!

  • consider a software application that has a web interface. This will provide access to all users from any location as long as they have internet access. Making it easy for users to access the system, will make them far more likely to use it and will result in good quality data coming out
  • get automated reporting set-up for key reports that you run regularly. As your company grows and the amount of data increases, manually sifting through data can be a long and manual process and lead to errors. Having the ability to press a button to create regular reports will save you huge amounts of time.
  • test a scenario. If one of your largest customers changed their contact details, how many places would you have to change it? Are you sure you know them all? If you have any doubt about the answer then you have a problem.
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