There are few things an IT executive dreads more than having to replace an outdated legacy system. You know…those ancient programs that hold some of (if not all of) the organization’s critical, “can’t survive without” data. The reality for many companies is that these legacy systems remain the foundation from which all business processes function. Unfortunately, as these systems become increasingly challenging to manage and are no longer capable of meeting the changing demands of customers, they become a much bigger concern. Thankfully, with robotic process automation, replacing them entirely is no longer the only option.
Depending on the overall scale of an organization’s legacy systems, replacing outdated technology with newer, better systems can take months or sometimes even years. Add to this the increasing pressure to ensure a seamless and error-free data migration. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, customers and employees alike must be able to access the systems they need just as they normally would even while the replacement is occurring. One IT executive in the banking industry likened the replacement of legacy systems to “changing the engine on a Boeing 747 while still in flight.” In other words, it’s incredibly difficult and a monumental task to say the least.
In the past, replacing entire legacy systems could be avoided (along with the astronomical costs associated with such a feat) by offshoring or outsourcing. Unfortunately, this is not always feasible, especially for companies that have a significant number of users. Robotic process automation provides the ideal solution to legacy problems, regardless of business size or industry. Here’s why.
Let’s say a competitor of yours has come out with a new and improved feature to serve customers that your legacy systems unfortunately do not have the capacity to support. Rather than scramble to find a solution and waste valuable time in the interim, robotic process automation can help bridge the gap, either temporarily or as a long-term solution. Considering the fact that the legacy replacement process typically takes years to complete, RPA provides a much faster solution, allowing your company to remain competitive at all times.
It’s more secure.
One of the biggest downsides to outsourcing is the loss of control and subsequent increased data security risk associated with giving up that control. Because robotic process automation is an in-house solution, all of your sensitive data remains in the full possession of your IT department. This makes it an inherently more secure option. Additionally, unlike offshoring, with RPA you can easily scale up or down at a moment’s notice based on need.
The reality is, many organizations have been built upon old systems that date back to the 70s and 80s. For many, these ancient relics are simply too expensive to replace. Robotic process automation provides an affordable alternative, allowing businesses with any budget to break the chains that once bound them to their outdated systems. This opens up the doors to virtually limitless possibilities.
Obviously there are certain limits to how much RPA can revitalize legacy systems. For instance, this type of technology cannot actually alter outdated systems. It can, however, serve as an interim solution unless and until a full replacement becomes necessary. For many organizations – particularly those that do not have the means or resources to completely dismantle and replace their existing infrastructure, RPA may be well worth considering.