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4 signs it’s time for new software and what to do with old systems

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There’s probably also a resource-hungry team of IT experts and external consultants who take care of ongoing operations, software updates and regular maintenance.

But with growing volumes of data, higher user numbers, increased networking, faster markets and new data protection regulations, the ‘software dinosaurs’ are under more and more pressure. “We’ve always done it this way” is no longer a good enough reason to keep muddling through with antiquated software.

Why consider changing software?

Anyone who evaluates existing IT landscapes for efficiency will tell you that, most of the time, it’s best to start afresh. Here are the four important questions to ask when deciding whether to replace outdated software with a more powerful, modern solution.

1. Productivity

Nine out of ten IT decision-makers say that outdated systems prevent them from using the modern, labour-saving technologies that are necessary to drive efficiency and growth.

2. Security

Is your legacy software up to modern security standards? The most common answer is “No.” This makes outdated systems and the companies that use them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

3. Compliance

Data protection regulations like the GDPR are becoming increasingly complex and pose a key IT challenge. Almost half of companies state that poor data protection could make them vulnerable to legal disputes. It’s often more difficult and time-consuming to implement change to meet new requirements with outdated legacy systems.

4. Flexibility

Optimising or linking outdated software with other systems is usually difficult, if not impossible. Are they API-ready? Not a chance. And during the pandemic, the majority of existing systems adapted poorly to remote work – leaving 43% of the workforce without remote access to documents and data.

Which software would you chose?

Finding the right software is vital. Here are the five most important criteria to consider:

  • Development speed
  • Usability
  • Support
  • Availability
  • Maturity

You should also take Application Programming Interfaces or APIs into account. New software solutions should be able to connect with other systems (eg. your accounting system and your invoicing software) to ensure the easy flow of data, reduce manual work and prevent errors. APIs enable this connection and determine how systems interact with each other.

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What's the cost?

No system changeover is free. But many companies don’t realise that continuing to use and maintain legacy systems is likely to be costing them more.

In the document management sector, companies spend on average 60-85% of their IT budget on maintaining old software infrastructure that doesn’t meet their business needs. This means that the costs of the changeover are usually recouped much sooner than expected.

On average, companies spend 60-85% of their IT budget on maintaining old software that doesn’t meet their business needs.

Take your chance to spring clean

Updating your old system gives you a unique opportunity to clean up your data. Experience shows that at least one-third of a company’s stored data is redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT) data, i.e. it generates no value, only costs.

During the switch, this redundant data can be screened out and relevant information can be processed, sorted and (if necessary) enriched at the same time. Automation will drastically simplify and speed up this face, especially if you’re handling extensive data volumes.

AI-supported processes, like DELPHI from Architrave, for example, have proven to be extremely effective in the mass migration of documents.

Change management is key

Introducing new software is not only a technical challenge, but an organisational one. There’s always a bit of corporate culture attached to established systems. So the changeover is often more of a cultural shift and it’s not uncommon for some employees to feel sceptical about a change to fundamental workflows.

A detailed change management strategy should address these concerns and explain the changes in detail. It should inform, involve and motivate future users by laying out the facts as well as addressing them on an emotional level to bring everyone on board.


  • Better efficiency, stronger data protection and more flexibility usually go hand-in-hand with a system changeover.
  • The costs of maintaining old systems are often higher than the cost of upgrading and moving to new ones.
  • Solid change management planning gets teams and users on board at an early stage and paves the way for a smooth transition.

Of course, no system migration can be planned and calculated down to the last detail. So the decision also hangs on one last factor: the courage and creative will of company management. How’s it looking in your business? Are you in?