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How to pivot from a legacy software to a platform ecosystem

Author —K. Joshy Thomas7 mins read09 Jun 2023
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There might be things that age like fine wine, but the software is definitely not one of them.

Businesses have not been the same as before since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer expectations and demands are not the same either. The world witnessed enormous disruptions in the supply chain. The impact of the pandemic on our personal and professional life is significant, resulting in a change in how businesses operate.

Using legacy code for an enterprise’s purposes only drags its operations down. With agility becoming an indispensable part of today’s businesses for the foreseeable future, using legacy code is similar to using bullock carts in the era of supersonic jets. Now, organizations are looking to pivot their operations from legacy software to platform ecosystems.

Problems with legacy code

In today’s world, customers control the market while businesses face tight competition to survive. Their speed to launch new products or services, agility to adapt to changes, and ability to streamline operations are the basic factors that determine survival in the market.

The issue with legacy software is that it lacks agility, as its design doesn’t favor evolving customer demands or business situations. The purpose of legacy systems is to support the bygone needs of the enterprise. Many of these systems have outdated codes or technologies that are now a burden to the rapidly changing market scenario. Of course, outdated software additionally faces the burden of frequent maintenance, burning a hole in the finances of the enterprise.

As outdated legacy code continues to be a hindrance to business growth, organizations must find a way to pivot and scale rapidly.

Updating the code vs replacing the legacy system

Often, businesses take the risky route, simply updating their legacy system to save on replacement costs. While this approach may work for a while, patchwork and upgrades can hinder the system, by forcing time-consuming updates and more human errors. As a result, companies that depend on legacy systems tend to make decisions based on their software capabilities instead of actual consumer trends, wasting immense business potential. On the other hand, the design of the platform ecosystem revolves around customer trends and supports a dynamic, growing business. While replacing legacy systems with a platform ecosystem is costlier at the moment, the earning potential is greatly enhanced in the long run.

What is a platform ecosystem, and why should companies pivot toward it?

Simply put, a platform system is a connected system that companies own, sharing a bulk volume of data to achieve a common goal. With perfect execution, the platform ecosystem paves the way for massive changes in solving business problems.

While legacy software might have come in handy in the past, the present situation is very different. The return on investment in legacy software is dropping. The more you invest in legacy software, the more burden you put on the business, and rapidly burn out the resources.

As a business, the ultimate goal is to maximize your profit by investing in the right verticals. By analyzing the downsides of legacy software and the advantages of an AI-enabled platform ecosystem, you will understand why you need to pivot to the software ecosystem. Here are examples of the increased costs of running on a legacy system.

Maintenance Cost

Legacy software requires continuous patching, bug fixes, and upgrades, exponentially increasing overhead costs. Also, the updates and patches result in higher human resource costs, as the team spends their valuable time fixing issues or upgrading the software rather than on projects that contribute to the ROI.

Integration Cost

With more customer demands pouring in, you might need to play with your integrations and workarounds with your existing legacy software, which leads to reinventing your entire system. More patches and extensions will inevitably arise, increasing the cost of integrations and maintenance. Additionally, you might need to maintain outdated hardware or software due to compatibility issues, increasing the operational costs even more.

Pivoting your legacy software

Businesses have found that it is high time to pivot from their existing legacy software to the platform ecosystem. However, there are particular procedures that an enterprise must take in order to perfect their migration to the platform ecosystem, with precise assessment and planning before the transition. Here are the steps to take to pivot your legacy systems.

Document your existing software properly

Documentation of the processes or the system is an elementary step a business must take. An enterprise must analyze and document each step of the existing legacy system to understand where it fails to meet the business demands. Create a map to visualize the UI/UX of the current software and find how partners, stakeholders, or customers used the legacy software. However, this is a primary step, not a complete assessment. A detailed review gives the enterprise a precise understanding of the existing system and saves time and money during your journey to the platform ecosystem.

Devise the right strategy

Pivoting to the platform ecosystem can consist of various strategies, such as rebuilding, replacing, rehosting, and platforming. Opting for the optimal method depends upon numerous factors, such as return on investment, allocation of resources, timeline, and more. Involve your stakeholders and partners while fixing the right strategy.

Gain access to partner data

With a platform ecosystem involving multiple stakeholders and partners, gaining access to partners’ data is vital in driving value. Also, building this relationship comes in handy while implementing artificial intelligence (AI) models to decipher customer matches and offer recommendations.

Create a timeline and interface

Time is a crucial factor while mapping out your journey to a platform ecosystem. Creating a timeline for the migration helps the business allocate its resources and manage the current projects the team is working on.

A platform ecosystem needs access to the data to implement AI models, which is possible with the help of an AI architecture. The enterprise requires a suitable interface to interact with the AI network.

Design an operational process

The core benefit of pivoting legacy software to a platform ecosystem is simplifying the customer journey. For this, you must design the process to ensure that it is smooth and implement it hassle-free. Sit with your partners and stakeholders to design and implement a process that serves your customers’ interests effortlessly.

Handle data and AI wisely

The prima facie benefit of implementing artificial intelligence (AI) modules and machine learning (ML) algorithms is that it makes the decision-making process more informed. Identify your primary business pain point and use your data wisely to train your AI models. As ML algorithms continue to improve in making informed decisions, their predictive ability will be on the rise. With new data streams pouring in, retrain them with new information.

Implement your project

Now, you are ready to implement your migration from legacy software to the platform ecosystem. Once you begin implementation, make sure to keep the communication among your team and partners clear. A clear understanding of information between the partners and stakeholders prevents problems.

Conclusion

Legacy software slows down a business and brings its own share of problems. Organizations are now looking to pivot their legacy software to platform ecosystems. Want to know more about platform ecosystems? Let’s discuss this and take it a step further.

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