The Covid pandemic highlighted the necessity of enabling a modern workforce. Digital transformation in the enterprise has been a constant pursuit for over 20 years, but the evolution of remote work sent a jolt through numerous organizations and highlighted the need for critical system updates. With more employees spending part or all of their working time out of the office, outdated and paper-based legacy systems that used to be antiquated and bothersome are now unacceptable. How — and where — we work has changed, and there’s now a dire need for legacy modernization.
Most organizations are embracing the change, according to the HR consultancy Mercer, “87 percent say they will embrace greater flexibility post-pandemic, with most planning a hybrid onsite/remote-work model.” The need for digital-first processes and automation will only continue to grow as the needs of a predominately remote workforce evolve.
To stay competitive in the marketplace, organizations have to look at their legacy systems and make changes.
The trouble with legacy systems
In today’s business environment, the importance of agility and versatility cannot be overstated. Organizations must be able to pivot to new approaches and deploy at a moment’s notice to ensure that their workflows and processes can keep up with the needs of their employees and customers. Relying on old and outdated legacy systems can hinder these efforts substantially and leave a business at a competitive disadvantage.
If you’ve spent any time using enterprise legacy systems, you know they can slow down, block, or derail efforts that require quick adaptation or growth to meet evolving expectations. Such systems are often challenging to integrate with newer programs and applications, and launching anything new can take months or years if initiatives are propped up by outdated tools and methods.
Even if your IT department is able to make all the necessary changes to accommodate a new business approach, having to account for legacy systems in the process can be time-consuming and frustrating. In addition, creatively wrangling new integrations can create security vulnerabilities and will undoubtedly lead to more extensive (and expensive) maintenance over time.
According to Forrester, over 75 percent of enterprises partially rely on paper-based processes, and nearly 65 percent still run many processes on Excel spreadsheets. These approaches have long been obsolete, and with such a large portion of the workforce now operating outside of the office, many processes that traditionally relied on legacy systems have become impossible to uphold. It’s especially difficult to remain agile and streamline processes when paper-heavy workflows are the rule, not the exception, and disruptions tied to using ineffective, outdated processes can grind production to a halt at critical times.
Related Reading: How Migrating Legacy Systems Improves Performance & Adaptability
The remote work revolution
If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that many roles that were once considered office-dependent are more flexible than we might have expected. When Covid sent millions of workers around the world home, organizations had to scramble to automate workflows and digitize processes that had previously been carried out in person.
A study from Pew found that most workers in financial services, insurance, real estate, and technological services were able to do their jobs from home, even if they hadn’t done so before. In addition, the same study found that people who could work from home during the pandemic are continuing to do so and will continue to spend most or all of their working hours outside of the office.
However, according to a survey from Pew, 50 percent of employees who worked from home for the first time during the pandemic struggled to get the equipment and technology they needed to do their jobs.
As a result of the trend toward out-of-office work, there is a heightened sense of urgency around modernizing and digitizing business systems to support remote operations in the long term. Employees need tools with built-in collaboration features that can be easily integrated across channels and deployed quickly. That’s why so many organizations are looking to low-code platforms, which can enable remote project development and deployment.
Related Reading: Vendor Lock-In: 6 Tips to Avoid Getting Trapped
A changing landscape
While recent trends indicate that many companies are taking positive steps toward digital transformation and modernization, there’s still plenty of work to be done. The initial rush to deploy the infrastructure and technology needed to support remote work is now giving way to more calculated, strategic initiatives. Forward-thinking organizations are currently focused on assessing their legacy systems and evaluating how they can modernize them to empower a mobile workforce.
Collaboration is still a vital aspect of everything from strategy sessions to product launches, but legacy systems struggle to enable effective communication and coordination between employees who aren’t in the office. By leveraging a low-code platform as a replacement for legacy systems, enterprises can provide a common space for collaboration to speed up the pace of development, remove roadblocks, and make daily functions easier to execute. With a holistic low-code platform, employees can remain updated on a project’s progress, create condensed workflows, and produce and launch digital apps to engage customers and enhance the end-user experience—and they don’t need to be in the office to do so.
The recent legacy modernization trends we’ve seen will continue to shape and be shaped by the realities of remote work, and low-code systems will continue to stand out as a highly beneficial solution in the remote work environment. Organizations that recognize the need to shift away from clunky legacy systems are building better business process applications, and Gartner forecasts that by 2024, 75 percent of applications will be built on low-code platforms.
Work conditions have changed, but many businesses that have embraced remote work and taken steps to replace their outdated legacy systems with solutions that support focused collaboration are finding success. By investing in tools that streamline development, remove communication and information silos, and enable quick adaptation and growth, businesses can modernize their practices and gain an advantage within their industry at the same time.