Technology is evolving quickly — more quickly than the life-cycle of most rugged, enterprise mobility solutions. But just because your current mobile deployment may be a few years old doesn’t mean it can’t keep delivering productivity and efficiency benefits.
In fact, it’s possible to extend the useful life of your legacy technology solutions and improve their performance, while simultaneously laying the groundwork to upgrade and take advantage of new solutions when your budget and schedule allow.
Here are four tips for getting the most out of your legacy mobile solutions:
Assess Your Current Infrastructure: Evaluate your legacy systems, identify their support costs, and determine the benefits they add to the organization. Focus on value. If the cost of supporting the solution outstrips the value provided, it may be time to replace the system. If not, then your legacy technology is still generating benefits for the organization.
Keep the Technology up to Date: Work with your vendor or integrator to make sure that all of your hardware and software systems have the latest updates and patches. If you have an existing service contract with your legacy technology providers, then that may already be taken care of. If not, then invest some time and a little money in bringing the firmware and software up to date. That will likely fix any glitches you may be experiencing, but with less cost than an outright system replacement.
Evaluate Complementary Technology: Just because your current solution may not meet all of your emerging needs doesn’t mean you need to rip it out and purchase a more all-encompassing alternative. If your work order management solution is reliable and effective but doesn’t provide automated dispatching capabilities, a GPS-based fleet solution can be bolted on. A warehouse management solution can be integrated with a voice-based picking or a warehouse control system to boost features and functions. New hardware or additional third-party software can bring your legacy technology up to date with less cost and disruption.
Develop a Strategic Roadmap for Your Legacy Systems: Eventually, you will need to upgrade or replace aging technology. Take a long view of what you want your technology infrastructure to look like in five or ten years. What technology platforms or operating systems should be standard? Do you want to move to cloud-based solutions? Are you planning to develop your own applications or purchase off-the-shelf solutions? That plan can help you budget for future investments and help you determine which legacy solutions are worth continued support. For those that may be “aging out” of their useful life, a long-term plan can help ease the transition with minimal disruption to your operations.
Legacy technology is often viewed as a drag on business productivity, but in some cases this is more perception than reality. Measure the value the solution still provides before calling for a complete overhaul. Some of these systems just need an upgrade, or they can be augmented with additional modules or third-party software. For companies with limited IT staff and tight budgets, or for those with more pressing technology priorities, these strategies can help extend the life of existing solutions while still providing benefits to the business.