Evolving legacy tech – the major movement of 2024?

Legacy technology is one of the most pressing issues for many IT teams. Technology teams can find themselves devoting large portions of their budget to legacy maintenance – not to mention finding chunks of their time swallowed up by issues caused by using legacy technology.

Over the last few years, the rise in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud-based options has helped to facilitate an upgrade from legacy technology for many businesses. However there are still too many organisations grappling with the issues presented by the use of out-dated technology that is not fit for purpose. It’s previously been estimated that legacy tech is holding back as many as nine out of 10 businesses, and it’s proving to be a major barrier to innovation.

Is 2024 the year for legacy evolution?

    Fortunately for many IT teams, much legacy tech is rapidly reaching the point of no return – it simply must be upgraded to enable the business to continue to operate. Organisations may have stretched their evolution plans out over a few extra years to cope with other business interruptions (like the pandemic) but now they are officially out of time.

    We see this very clearly in the industry where we operate, which is marketing technology and loyalty programmes. Many systems in this area were launched in the 2010s, so almost 15 years later they are in desperate need of an upgrade. The legacy systems are doing a disservice to the brands they serve – they’re slower, clunkier and less performative than they should be. And despite a wealth of talent in the sector and no shortage of newer and cleverer alternative platforms, many brands have stuck with their legacy tech for too long.

    There are lots of reasons for this, but perhaps the two key ones are budget and disruption. Legacy upgrades require budget – even SaaS options need funding – and they can be disruptive to the business, both while being evolved and then also in terms of training and upgrades.

    These two problems have not been solved overnight – so why then are we predicting a year of legacy evolution in 2024?

    The clock is ticking

      As mentioned earlier, many customer loyalty schemes are reaching 15 or so years of age and businesses are officially out of time. Having stretched resources (including loyalty programmes) to run a few extra years due to the pandemic, 2024 is likely to be the time when the realisation that time has run out hits.

      As well as being clunky to use and outdated, legacy programmes run a very real risk of being discontinued by their providers, and those developed in the early 2010s are at the highest risk.

      The customer demands it

        Legacy tech evolution is needed to allow businesses to keep pace with modern customer demands. Over the next 12 months, legacy tech will be increasingly phased out as businesses put greater focus on fit-for-purpose systems that deliver better results. With the rising cost of doing business hindering profitability and the cost of living hike impacting customer spend, it will be imperative for businesses to invest in order to survive and evolving legacy tech is a fundamental part of this.

        Loyalty is more important than ever

          In the loyalty space specifically, we have observed a very clear trend in recent years – businesses are putting more and more importance on their loyalty programmes. Customer retention is high on the agenda and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

          For brands across all sectors – both B2B and B2C – the cost of living and cost of doing business crises have pushed loyalty further up the list. It’s easier to keep a customer than win a new one, so all eyes are on new ways to do this. Marketing teams’ loyalty budgets are growing and we anticipate a focus on ensuring the building blocks are in place to develop and deliver excellent customer loyalty programmes. That means putting the right technology in place.

          Where does this leave IT teams?

            This is the year to bid for budget. The stakes are aligning and businesses are ready – it’s time to push the button and make your case for evolution.

            IT teams can deliver much more without the weight of legacy tech acting as a weight around their necks; evolving legacy tech is a strategic step forwards for the IT department as well as the business as a whole.

            The playing field is awash with seriously good cloud solutions that can quickly step into the gap created by the retirement of legacy systems. There is an element of research and diligence to complete to find the most appropriate solution for the business and then it will be handed over to IT to manage the planned and careful roll out of the new system.

            Whatever your business, it is definitely time to have conversations about legacy evolution – or risk being left behind in 2024.

            Zsuzsa is the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder at loyalty cloud platform Antavo. She has been instrumental in growing Antavo and transforming the company into a unique loyalty technology vendor, offering a next-gen, best-in-class solution to the loyalty sector. Zsuzsa is listed by Forbes as one of Europe’s top 100 female founders in tech and focused on driving market share in the expanding loyalty market. She was instrumental in Antavo achieving 3x annual growth over the past few years and is now developing a global strategy to bring Antavo to loyalty professionals and systems integrators around the world.

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