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Legacy system owner's dilemma

The legacy system dilemma, part 1: Owner's perspective
Owning a legacy system is like owning an old car. It still kind of works, you definitely love it, and it has lots of good memories attached. Yet, every time something breaks, you find yourself thinking is it still worth to fix it, or should you get a new one.


Many organizations heavily depend on technology systems that have been in place for years, commonly known as legacy systems. These systems are crucial for running daily operations and are deeply integrated into the very fabric of your business structure. They can become problematic as they age against both business and technological advances. While the business needs they address are still relevant, the outdated technology risks company's ability to adapt and grow. Organizations now face a dilemma: Renew these systems with the risk of disruption and high costs, or maintain the status quo and potentially fall behind. This introduces a complex decision-making process for businesses considering the renewal of their legacy systems.

Signs when to modernize?

Getting new tires was luckily semi-cheap,
but your gut feeling is that something VERY expensive is about to break next.

Modernization becomes crucial as businesses evolve. Recognizing the signs enables timely decisions to maintain innovation, competitiveness and security.

  1. Rising maintenance costs: Maintenance gets increasingly expensive as systems age, often requiring scarce expertise.
  2. End-of-life technology: Urgent replacement is needed when the system's base technology will no longer receive updates or support.
  3. Software incompatibility: Older systems can't integrate well with new software, creating inefficiencies and limiting innovation.
  4. Poor user experience: Outdated interfaces and slow performance hinder productivity and user satisfaction.
  5. Security eisks: Legacy systems are vulnerable to cyber threats and may not comply with current regulations, risking fines and damage to reputation.

The barriers of modernization

Updating or replacing legacy systems involves overcoming significant financial, operational, and psychological barriers at both the organizational and decision-maker levels.

  1. High costs = Top Blocker: Upfront expenses such as new software, hiring specialists, and training can strain budgets and divert funds from other areas.
  2. Uncertain return on investment: The benefits of modernization are often not immediate or easy to quantify, leading to hesitation in making the investment.
  3. Risk of disruption: Modernization can cause operational disruptions that slow down processes, affect productivity, and risk revenue loss, making stakeholders cautious.
  4. Complexity of the process: Legacy systems are deeply embedded with customizations, making it difficult to replace them without impacting various business aspects.
  5. Change resistance: Organizational resistance to change and the adaptation challenges to new systems can lead to reluctance, especially if benefits are not clearly visible.
  6. Fear of failure: The high stakes of modernization projects can lead to a fear of failure, affecting performance and potentially causing reputational damage, which reinforces the preference for the status quo.

Solving the dilemma:
A clear path to modernization


As a key stakeholder deeply invested in your organization's success, you are undoubtedly aware of these challenges posed by legacy systems. The very idea of modernizing these systems can seem like stepping into the unknown.

The path however, could be as reliable and streamlined as the industrial processes that have revolutionized global manufacturing.

At LeBLANC, we have transformed the development of business applications from an art into a science. Through our Software Product Lines and Model Driven Development approach, we make the transition more predictable, efficient, and secure, ensuring minimal disruption with maximum benefit.

Imagine your systems not just as they are, but as they could be—fast, modern, secure, and perfectly aligned with your business needs, both today and tomorrow. Modernization doesn’t have to be a leap into the dark but rather a step towards a brighter future where your technology propels your business forward without the constant worry of what might break next.

Let’s discuss how LeBLANC can help you turn this vision into reality, ensuring your legacy systems transition smoothly into a future-proof foundation that supports and enhances your growth. Embrace change with confidence.

Janne Hansen
LeBLANC Finland Oy


This is first article in our legacy series, where we looked at legacy modernization dilemma from owner’s perspective. In part two we assume the role of an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), trying to help customers during their modernization journey.

LeBLANC is an expert in legacy modernizations, providing an industrial method and supporting tools for succesfull modernizations.
Contact us: janne.hansen@leblanc.fi.