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Turn data in Legacy Systems into a new opportunity for your business

Software

Do you see your legacy software as something past delivering value and needing to be replaced? What’s more, has stewardship of the program been lost over time, which means the detail of how it operates, the exact processes and data that it uses, and captures is not fully understood? Yet, do you suspect that if you got in, under the hood of the program, and took a close look, it would reveal a rich data set that is ripe for innovation and repurposing?

What if under the hood of your vintage Datsun 1200, you actually had a Rolls Royce engine that needs sprucing up?

Quite often, the purpose of a piece of legacy software within a business has not gone away. Instead, what is needed is an update to its functionality to do more or do it better. Or it could be that the program is not performing at its optimal level because you haven’t maintained and updated it to keep pace with how you now do business.

So it’s only natural that you perceive your orphaned legacy software as a beat-up old Datsun 1200 that you need to replace. Instead, it could be a quality piece of workmanship, like a Rolls Royce, that needs to be properly understood and maintained to not only ‘keep’ its value, but to grow in value over time.

Let me explain. Often as part of the process or job that your legacy software is performing, it is capturing and using detailed data on your operations. It is data that you could use for any number of purposes that deliver new value to your business. 

For example, it might be detailed information on your operations and customer interactions that you could use to innovate and provide outstanding customer insights or experiences. Or it could be a new, more in-depth understanding of your operating processes that allows you to significantly improve the software solution and how it does the job. Or it could even be insights that enable you to outmanoeuvre and disrupt your industry to become a market leader.

You need to lift the hood of your legacy software and take a look at it with fresh eyes looking to see new opportunities that you didn’t even realise you had. 

Let me give you an actual example. A glass manufacturer had built an in-house solution for integrating SKU orders to the glass MRP system. This solution translates the SKU into manufacturing components and then schedules them in the MRP, thus removing a lot of manual effort. They undertook a rejuvenation and restoration project to stabilise the software on an updated platform.

Once rejuvenated our analysts noted that the integration software “knows” what and when components are going to be manufactured and also collected progress information so that the next round of scheduling could use actual results rather than assumptions.

In addition to the primary automation task, the software also contained a wealth of information that allowed customer portal to be developed that accessed the same database but implemented in the latest technologies.  The portal allowed customers to view the status of their orders which made a huge difference in call centre enquiry volumes.  

Once this was completed, the customer was then given the ability to order SKUs online and place the orders directly to the integration solution interactively and via an upload file. This turned the whole Order to fulfilment process for regular customers into a self-service and monitoring process, eliminating a lot of touchpoints.

Revaluing your software 

1. Analysis 

The first port of call was to restore the software, starting with a complete analysis of the program. This first step delivered a detailed document of input in and out, the internal workings and how this mapped back to the business function it was supporting. The key to doing an excellent job on this step is always to find a knowledgeable programmer in the language of your app. The programming language may not be in use anymore, and analysis can either take a very long time as your analyst learns the defunct language or they miss important intersects in the program.

2. Gap analysis and scanning for new opportunities 

The second step is a gap analysis against the current processes and taking a fresh look at you can do things better, or to innovate and create something over and above what is already being done, leveraging new technologies and trends.

This is generally the money moment. In my experience, as a restorer of legacy software, that the opportunities almost always surround the use of data to deliver new and different services, more personalised and, when it comes down to it, a new competitive edge. 

3. Identify the IP 

The third step is to identify both the IP you have tied up in the existing software and what new IP you can now develop. IP is where you can truly start to turn your ‘Datsun’ into a ‘Rolls Royce.’ With IP comes new markets, competitive advantage, and Government support to develop your new program or offer.

You should now be sitting up a little straighter in your chair.

Allow the Government to pay for the work to develop your new IP! 

If you are developing new IP and the solution does not exist anywhere else in the world, then you can use the Government’s Research and Development Incentive Grant to pay for the development work.

How does the Australian Government Research & Development Tax Incentive Scheme work?

AusIndustry runs the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme with the express purpose of assisting businesses to develop new intellectual property. If your work is new IP; it doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world, and it will contribute to the Australian economy (or provide other benefits), then you can claim the cost of any ‘qualifying’ research and development costs, and offset these against your company tax bill.

Interested in knowing more? 

We are legacy inhouse software and R&D tax incentive specialists. We can help with restoring your software to optimal performance so that you have the time to investigate and identify the opportunities available to you under the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme.

We have a long track record in running and managing R&D tax incentive projects. As part of restoring your legacy software, we can also identify for you whether your IP project is eligible for the R&D tax incentive grant.

If you’d like to chat about where you are currently and whether this might be a good fit for your business, feel free to message or give me a call on 0403398807.

If you have some legacy inhouse software and want to know where to start to recover it, I have a handy software rescue triage approach that can quickly show how to get things in hand again. Get eBook.

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