April 15, 2014

Many organizations struggle with replacing outdated software systems that no longer function efficiently. Even highly structured organizations such as NASA and the Federal Government struggle with legacy systems that are difficult to manage and do not integrate with newer software. Legacy systems refer to computer programs that are outdated and were created before wide-scale internet use, but remain in place because of vendor lock-in, the expense to replace them, or because of difficulty migrating data.

IT professionals that understand the coding of these systems are retiring, and essential elements like the ability to enable mobile features didn’t even exist when these systems were created. NASA was forced to retire the Space Shuttle program due to its legacy systems, and although you may not be sending anyone into space, outdated systems can still significantly impact your business. In the private sector, it can put you at a competitive disadvantage if you are trying to wrangle with legacy workforce management systems from the 1980’s.

Exchanging outdated legacy workforce management system s for modern solutions can be labor-intensive and require new investment in IT, but is most often worth the investment by reducing risk, as well as time and cost savings.

Example 1: High Risk

Legacy systems are often more likely to crash, and with few people who understand how to interact with them, a crash can mean a big interruption in business operations. At North Shore Community Action Programs in Massachusetts, the crash of their legacy workforce management software prompted the replacement and upgrade to an Advanced Workforce Management Solution. Their old system was cumbersome to operate, with data existing in multiple locations and caused delay of payroll and billing by multiple days. With their new system, they reduced their payroll processing time by 75%, and are able to receive payment from accounts receivable up to a month sooner than before.

Example 2: Custom Legacy Systems Are Replaceable

Many organizations often believe that because their legacy system was custom designed for them, they would be impossible to replace. However, many newer workforce management solutions can be configured for unique business requirements, such as union rules and unusual seniority requirements. At Ordway Center for the Preforming Arts, their custom legacy workforce management system was operating on a DOS file system, and therefore extremely outdated. Preforming simple tasks like printing a schedule or switching screens proved time-consuming and required workarounds.

With a new scheduling and time & attendance system, they are now able to perform workforce management tasks in less than half the time, save an “infinite” amount of paper, and improve staff morale through the implementation of a web portal for availability collection and calendar viewing.

Good scheduling software is flexible enough to export and import data from your existing systems, saving you time and effort.