New technology evolves quickly, and with every new device, new software platform, or new system, businesses around the world can improve their performance and capacity for innovation. It seems clear that entrepreneurs and business leaders would want to stay updated with the latest and greatest systems, yet 50 percent of businesses or more are at least two versions behind the latest release of their ERP software. 

There are many reasons why a business would continue using legacy software. They might be reluctant to invest in a new tool that’s currently unproven. They might be so used to the old system that they’re afraid of inefficiencies in employee training. In any case, they don’t realize just how much harm a legacy system can do—and how much they stand to gain from updating. 


Businesses today are increasingly decentralized. Rather than having one central hub of operations, businesses are working out of multiple locations, and may be employing a fully remote workforce; in fact, 3.9 million Americans now work from home at least half the week. As the nature of work becomes more flexible and organizations need more on-demand technological solutions, legacy systems become less viable. Platforms need to rely on cloud-based apps, mobile apps, and interfaces that work well both remotely and with a combination of different devices. 


Legacy systems also tend to have issues with compatibility with other software. As your business grows and as new technologies become available, it becomes increasingly important to carry software that can communicate with the other apps in your portfolio. Dealing with one legacy system while the rest of your apps and tech assets can communicate with each other is a problem you shouldn’t have to deal with. 

Real-Time Updates

If your system is more than several years old, it likely hasn’t incorporated any feature for the use of real-time data. Real-time data (RTD) allows your organization to work with new information as it comes in, updating automatically and instantly with new insights and new pieces of data. Without this access, your company will be perpetually behind, struggling to stay up-to-date. 

Data Security and Compliance

New systems, by and large, are inherently more secure. Older models of software and technology tend to be riddled with bugs and potential exploits, because their developers have had less time to notice and repair these flaws. Instead, their attention is turned toward newer products, with fewer potential points of exploitation. Accordingly, working with a legacy system is going to be a cybersecurity risk for your organization; using old devices or old software apps means there are more opportunities for someone to hack into your system, steal your data, or compromise your records. This is of special importance to industries for whom compliance is a major consideration; legacy systems may not comply with the latest laws and regulations for your business. 

Efficiency and Productivity

Generally, new systems tend to be more efficient and user-friendly. Your employees, while using legacy systems, will be forced to rely on outdated models and workflows, which is going to cost you hours of time. On top of that, they tend to be hard to learn, which means you’ll spend too much time training new employees on the older system. 

The Burden of IT

It may seem like it costs a lot of money to upgrade a legacy system to its modern counterpart, but it’s usually even more expensive to keep a legacy system running. Your IT staff will be responsible for fixing bugs, dealing with inefficiencies, and keeping your network operational—which will ultimately take many more hours than it would if your systems were all up-to-date. 

Employee Morale

Don’t neglect the impact that a legacy system can have on employee morale. Employees are likely going to be the ones using your system most often, and its usability, convenience, and intuitiveness are all going to factor into their quality of life. If you’re using a legacy system that’s clunky, hard to understand, hard to learn, and buggy, your employees are going to be unhappy with it. It’s going to cause frustration, and discourage them from using the system as intended. Upgrading to a new system will, both short-term and long-term, improve employee morale (and therefore, productivity). 

Continuing to rely on a legacy system that no longer provides your business with the efficiency or capacity for innovation it needs is a major problem—no matter how convenient it seems on the surface. That doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and upgrade your entire system every time there’s a new update to be had, but it does mean you should stay close to the leading edge of technological progress, and pay close attention to both the strengths and weaknesses of your in-house tech.