5 Signs Your Company Has Outdated Applications
Blog Post | February 1, 2022

When you use the same applications every day, it can be hard to gauge their effectiveness objectively. Even teams working with state-of-the-art technology have their complaints. Meanwhile, those left with outdated applications often develop workarounds and tell themselves that everything is alright.

However, maintaining these applications can consume much of a CIO’s annual budget. Deloitte found that CIOs are generally forced to allocate 57% of their budget to basic maintenance and, after other costs, can only invest 17% on innovation. Meanwhile, these cumbersome applications also lead to employee burnout and decreased customer satisfaction, compounding their impact on your bottom line.

In this article, discover five warning signs that your company relies on outdated applications. Plus, you’ll find important next steps to modernize systems cost-effectively.

1. Ballooning Budgets

Many companies see their expenses rise as they contend with applications that have messy code and countless bugs. If your organization begins spending more money while doing less, this is a clear sign of aging applications. Your tech talent is spending a disproportionate amount of their time and the company’s resources keeping these systems afloat. More than 50% of employees believe old technology hurts their productivity, according to a ZenBusiness survey.

Speaking of talent, you may experience increased turnover due to outdated applications. Many in the tech community want to work with new technologies and may feel like their career development is stifled at a company that is too complacent. As more talent leaves, your company must invest more in recruiting and onboarding, further causing budgets to soar.

2. Unable to Quickly Pivot

Customer and client demands change often, and your company needs to be in the best position to adapt quickly. However, outdated applications can slow your ability to pivot effectively, allowing your competitors to fill a new gap in the market. You may not realize how much technical debt your company has accrued until you see how flexible and agile competitors are and, in contrast, how long it takes your teams to adapt.

Let’s briefly look at a success story. With lockdowns beginning around the world in early 2020, the online bidding platform Bidsquare realized it needed to replicate the in-person bidding experience. It launched a live stream functionality shortly after, allowing collectors to feel like they were back on the auction room floor. This company was able to pivot quickly and lead the way in digital modernization for the auction industry. Other companies grappling with technical debt, though, could not respond as rapidly to the needs of consumers during lockdowns.

3. Decrease in Brand Reputation

In some cases, your customers or clients may already be telling you that your applications are outdated…you just aren’t listening yet. Reach out to your marketing team or social media manager to see how current and potential customers discuss your brand online.

Some customers are not subtle about their feelings. They’ll let you know that they had a bad experience with a particular application or found a competitor’s version more user-friendly. Others, though, may be making a more gradual shift away from your products and services. This type of customer is keeping an eye out for disruptors in your industry who are offering a more streamlined experience. It is important to take note of this and modernize the necessary applications to keep up.

Over time, outdated applications hurt brand reputation. 90% of consumers indicated in one survey that they would jump to a different service if they had concerns about old tech. These people rightfully worry about the security of their private information. They also don’t want to waste valuable time on slow interfaces.

4. Searching for Workarounds

As you explore brand mentions on social media, you might also discover customers sharing tips with each other to work around your applications’ most clunky features. This is a clear sign that customers are quickly losing patience with your applications. These systems are causing them trouble, and a competitor could address these pain points to gain market share.

The same holds true for your internal applications. Keep an eye out for employees that have intricate ways of working around tedious or buggy parts of your systems. While it’s admirable that they’ve adapted, it is no doubt taking a toll on their productivity.

5. Siloed Tech

Michael Valante, the CTO of Digital Pathology for Dell Technologies, watched as medical departments across America added more technology without much concern for how these systems communicate. He identified siloed technology as a core barrier to value for many healthcare organizations during modernization.

As digital applications age, many companies’ misguided impulse is to just add more systems that address shortcomings. Individual departments may even decide to do this on their own to meet their unique needs. Meanwhile, little thought goes into system integration. This leads to siloed technology that is disorganized and vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. If you have noticed this trend at your organization, it’s time to address the foundational problem: aging applications.

How to Address Outdated Applications

At this point, you may have identified some warning signs with your applications. After you notice these trends, it can be tempting to toss out legacy applications and start from scratch. However, rebuilding an application from the ground up with state-of-the-art technology takes years to show value. Plus, it may not be necessary for what your company and its customers need. Consider working to improve your legacy systems through digital modernization.

Programmers offers a Fast-Track Application Modernization process that helps you see value early and often. We begin by identifying the value of your legacy applications. Then, we look at the underlying technology of those systems to understand what barriers may be preventing you from getting the most out of them. Afterward, we put together a strategy that iteratively addresses the most important modernization opportunities. This approach allows you to see measurable results every 90 days.