Are Legacy Applications Slowing You Down? Five Ways Low-Code Can Help

“It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.”
-Warren Buffett

Don’t let legacy systems leave you exposed.

The Premise

For the longest time, unsupported, obsolete IT systems and highly complex manual processes have kept several businesses (even the smart ones) from reaching their true growth potential. Companies that invested in building their tech infrastructure decades ago continue to run on those legacy platforms with stop-gap upgrades. How ready are such organizations to take on the competition from nimble startups or other, more agile competitors who are far ahead along their digital transformation journey? The key lies in first identifying if you are stuck with a legacy system. Once that hurdle is crossed, overhauling your legacy systems is only a matter of time.

A study by McKinsey estimates that legacy systems take up about three-fourths (74%) of enterprise IT budgets. And that’s just the financial impact. Your IT teams lose time that could be better spent working on cutting-edge apps. There is a heavy lost opportunity cost, innovation (or the lack of it) cost, and the cost of overall frustration that comes with operating deadwood systems. Industry estimates suggest that businesses and governments worldwide have spent $2.5 trillion attempting to replace legacy IT systems since 2010. Of this, a massive $720 billion was lost on failed initiatives.
Legacy systems can have a far-reaching impact on an organization’s viability and efficiency. Take the example of the United States’ unemployment system that buckled under pressure when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Millions of newly jobless Americans (owing to lockdowns) waited for several weeks for their unemployment benefits. The delays in processing claims were attributed to antiquated systems, some built in the 1980s or earlier, that could not support the requests of 13% of the US workforce that was suddenly left without a job.

Low Code Offers a Solution

While digital transformation force businesses to revamp legacy systems, it can be a massive, highly-complex project for most. That said, technologies available today can make upgrading a disruption-free experience. Given their speed and agile integration capabilities, low-code platforms offer the much-needed respite to upgrade existing infrastructure seamlessly while enabling the new and the old to co-exist. Here are five ways low code can help businesses modernize at their own pace.

Modernize systems incrementally: Using low code can help make progressive upgrades instead of adopting a rip-and-replace strategy for IT modernization. Wherever needed, enterprises can update piece-by-piece, making modernization a streamlined process that targets critical components first. This approach will also minimize business disruption as new apps deploy, giving you enough time to phase out legacy systems.

Extend current system capabilities: Low code platforms are the fastest and the most logical way forward when extending your core system functionality. It can be viewed as a bridge that connects the need for custom development and package adoption by enabling you to maintain your core systems and build extensible applications that integrate with the existing landscape and offer added functionality. According to Forrester, three areas where low-code is most suited to extend core system functionality include shared services such as billing and scheduling, automating core operations, and ensuring the integrity of critical data, such as customer or supplier data.

Harness visual dev capabilities: Low code platforms can help lower app development turnaround time by up to 90%. A significant reason for this is the platform’s visual environment that enables even non-tech users to use its drag-and-drop functionality and speed up development time. Its drag-and-drop interfaces, data source and API connectors, point-and-click workflows, and embedded security leave very little margin for coding from scratch and help deliver results in a short time.

Democratize app development: According to Gartner, the demand for business-related apps is 5X higher than the existing IT capacity. The ensuing talent gap can be a severe impediment to achieving IT goals. That said, low-code platforms unlock innovation by enabling business users who know and understand operational challenges best to make a significant contribution to the app’s development. By creating a large pool of semi or non-technical employees into citizen developers, businesses can empower non-IT teams to create high-quality digital solutions without compromising security. This also frees up IT departments to focus on more complicated challenges.

Customize only what’s relevant and reduce TCO: Low-code platforms can help accelerate development and customization at any stage—design, testing, deployment, or management—without reinventing the wheel. Users can leverage built-in tools to add to or modify features of the boxed software and leave only the necessary differentiators to be coded and customized. It goes without saying that low code apps cost significantly less to deploy than tailor-made apps. Besides, scope creep is easier to control as new features are added incrementally.

Maintaining outdated, obsolete core systems beyond their useful life severely impedes an organization’s processes by hampering innovation essential to business growth. Legacy systems often continue to exist because enterprises cannot simply wish them away, and the risks associated with replacing them are massive. Low-code offers an efficient and cost-effective way to extend or augment legacy system functionality.

If you are looking to unlock the power of your existing IT systems, check out our must-read whitepaper on the three-pronged approach to modernizing IT.

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