Legacy software vendors are forced to increase their annual license fees in order to meet financial targets. This together with inflation, escalating support costs, lengthy rollouts and vendor lock-in are reasons why legacy software’s days are numbered. This is according to Palladium Business Solutions MD Stephen Corrigan.
He says it is time for companies to retire their aging enterprise software. “Cloud computing, increasing costs and changing end-user demands have caused companies to reconsider their legacy applications.”
“Legacy software vendors have no alternative but to milk their customers for whatever they can. With very little or no feature changes and high price increases, they have no choice because of a depleting user base. They are squeezing the proverbial sponge dry,” he explains.
Aging applications become increasingly expensive to support, vendors generally ramp up support charges as they get older. Furthermore, internal knowledge becomes increasingly scarce as a platform ages.
Corrigan says the extent legacy accounting vendors will go to sell their old fashioned software is disturbing. “One of the largest accounting vendors recently took its legacy product, bundled it with other products, and is now selling it subject to a mandatory annual license fee.”
“More concerning is the technology used in the core accounting product was developed in VB6, a technology that was put to pasture by Microsoft in March 2005. Should it not be telling its clients that the product is more than 10 years past its ‘used by date’ in terms of the Consumer Protection Act?” he asks.
He says another area of concern with legacy databases is that they are simply not secure and often unstable. “Being a non-relational and non-secure database, someone with little knowhow could copy the data files and access confidential customer information. This will be in clear violation to the forthcoming PoPI Act when it comes into effect. Business directors should be prepared,” he warns.
Another issue relating to the database is that of stability and rollback capabilities, a key requirement that legacy systems don’t have. One wonders just how many people have lost their jobs or how many businesses have been severely affected due to data corruption in these databases. Legacy software vendors simply blame this shortcoming on unstable networks and will never admit that this is as a result of outdated technology.
Corrigan says the modern way of thinking is a ‘pay as you go’ model and clients also want an ‘opt out’ clause. “At Palladium we offer the subscription model as well as a software purchase model with an “optional” support contract.
“In addition, clients can switch from the subscription model to the outright purchase model at any time, and will receive up to three months of their subscription fees back against the software purchase cost. We also offer clients the ability to request features that we will charge a nominal fee to develop, then just include this into the main application for all customers to benefit from,” he says.
“Our single pricing model ensures that clients do not pay hidden costs for additional modules such as Point Of Sale, Project Costing, Fixed Assets or our recently released Manufacturing with Work Centres. A familiar interface ensures that the product is easy to learn, ensuring that new clients are fully operational in a limited time period. Our value proposition is in our technology and product stability and is why we are the only company in the country to offer a 3-year money back guarantee on data corruption,” he adds.
Many legacy applications are built around proprietary, single-vendor tools that included everything from a unique programming language to methodologies and management tools. Modern applications have largely transitioned to common tools and programming languages, allowing IT staff with appropriate knowledge to work on a wide variety of applications.
“At the end of the day, the acid test is this simple, if you have had a data corruption, you need to move your data and company to current technologies developed on top of modern databases such as Microsoft SQL,” says Corrigan.
“Accounting has evolved, abandoning a legacy application gives you a chance to adopt modern practices and features and let go of years of workarounds and convoluted processes. It’s time for your software to work for your business and become a sail not an anchor,” he concludes.