Are outdated legacy systems standing in the way of business innovation?

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The word “innovation” can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s the latest and greatest gadgets and apps. For others, business innovation is the pursuit of more efficient processes and methodologies, thinking “outside of the box,” and disrupting organizational conventions in the pursuit of efficiency and productivity. Innovation is all of this and more. It’s any idea that challenges the status quo and pushes the boundaries of what we’ve done and what we think can be done.

Innovative business models are flourishing all around us, from cloud computing, integrated document management and predictive analytics, software as a service and subscription offerings, and mobility, to name a few. The old adage “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” simply doesn’t cut it anymore –companies sticking to this model are rapidly losing market share to new and more innovative organizations.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAlqAAAAJDRhZTkyZDNlLTViNTEtNDg0Zi05YWYwLTMyOTU2MDNhZGZjZA Are outdated legacy systems standing in the way of business innovation?We stand at a convergence of business and IT innovation, where new, forward-thinking technologies and services are being created with equally forward-thinking business models, workstyles, and schedules. One leads to the other and a cycle of creativity and disruption is created, leading us all into an exciting, connected society and economy—we can either embrace this lifestyle or live with the consequences of remaining at status quo. The simplicity of innovation we are experiencing in our personal life with items such as smartphones, wearable technology, and cloud computing has not translated to this level of simplicity in our business world. The question of why the systems at work are so difficult to use when compared to the apps we find ubiquitous in our personal lives remains a mystery.

Over the past decade, a growing number of enterprises have recognized that business needs technology to survive and grow market share. It has been said that the days of IT and business silos are gone and that industry leading companies enjoy greater success when business and technology convergence is at the forefront of planning, enhancing, and enabling business goals. The best run companies are aware of this and leverage technology to create innovative products and services, gain a competitive advantage, react quickly to market changes, enhance customer service and employee efficiency, and ultimately improve the bottom line.

“The rewards for embracing new technologies run deep. From productivity gains to cost efficiencies, to quicker innovation cycles and increased customer value. The most successful businesses will be those that can most effectively prioritize and monetize emerging technology opportunities as part of their overall company strategy.”

– Gary Matuszak, Global and U.S. Chair, Technology, Media & Telecommunications, KPMG, The Changing Landscape of Disruptive Technologies.

While most forward-thinking business leaders would agree that technology is at the center of innovation, all too often their current IT and system complexity is among the greatest obstacles to moving forward, as companies spend most of their time, energy, and IT dollars trying to maintain what they currently have. Now is the year to ask yourself, “How much longer can we afford to keep our legacy IT systems in place?

Outdated legacy systems are a major hindrance on innovation within a company, bringing about the greatest risk to moving forward with the new ideas, products, and services that customers are expecting. Gartner Research reports that more than 80% of a company’s budget for IT is used to merely maintain existing systems, leaving little or no money for innovation that would have a marked improvement on the company’s overall efficiency, leading to a better bottom line.

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For decades now, companies have been buying various components (both hardware and software) from different vendors and adding to, or assembling, custom components to try to prop up their older systems. In almost all cases, these patchwork methods are failing to deliver (on any level) a better and more effective business model to compete in this new world marketplace. Lack of innovation and a compromised customer experience will leave enterprises—small, medium, and large—in the dust in 2016.

The need for businesses to innovate is increasing dramatically; enterprises should be strategizing ways to quickly and securely mobilize data from outdated legacy systems into modern next generation enterprise software systems that offer a consistent user interface and experience, as well as cloud opportunities, mobile, and web applications. How are you going to improve your customers’ experience in 2016 when legacy systems are slowing application delivery?

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The time for “Band-Aid” solutions is over—the time for modernization is now. Every business today strives to be better in all respects by continuing to research and employ new and innovative ideas and technologies—not only will this allow them to stay ahead of the competition, gain greater market share, reduce costs, and increase employee efficiency, it will allow them to “set the bar” in comparison to competitors.

“The cycle of change has shortened significantly for companies of all sizes…
Technology is increasing productivity, but it’s also impacting the way competitors can deliver the product or develop new business models. Along with technological innovation, true success relies on business model flexibility and agility…Companies that cannot keep up with innovation and changing patterns of usage will have a problem delivering their value proposition.”

– Sid Mohasseb, Strategy Innovation Leader, KPMG in the U.S., The Changing Landscape of Disruptive Technologies.

Modern next generation ERP systems like Reflex ERP are built from the ground up, not from the outside in like a majority of the products on the market today. But what does this really mean? Most of the software vendors today, and particularly the large mainstream software companies, continue to provide new software releases of their old legacy products that, in some cases, were initially designed and engineered two or three decades ago.

The marketing hype surrounding these “new” software releases creates the impression that the client base is getting a brand new release of the software (totally re-engineered and refreshed), while in the majority of instances what the client gets is a few additional functions or features that are bolted on to the base system. Once again, marketing hype trumps reality. Calling a software system a “2016 version” is simply hiding the fact that the core product has not changed in any way—the end users must still deal with the base software inefficiencies and user interfaces. In many cases, “updated” software systems are simply the same old product—with a superficial new wrapping.


Reflex continues to challenge and change the status quo

Reflex Enterprise Solutions Group has always been dedicated to innovation, bringing new ideas to the world of business collaboration. Our goal is to ensure that all new ideas brought about by client feedback, industry trends, and today’s modern technology are incorporated into the very core of our product, rather than bolting on disparate systems or forcing clients to pay for expensive customization. Our latest release, Reflex ERP 10.15, is a completely re-engineered product using today’s technological innovation. Our modern software system is a reaction to the many mainstream companies still selling older legacy systems and passing them off as new products.

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At Reflex, we understand the value of embracing modern technology and innovation, which is why we continually challenge ourselves to do more, to try new ideas, and see what our research and development teams can create to bring value to both our clients and our software product. We knew that by employing innovative business practices and methodologies, from agile software development to remote work, we could challenge our own organizational conventions and create new and unique products to better serve our customers and clients all over the world. Reflex ERP is truly a next generation ERP product that is a testament to that very convergence: innovations in business and technology coming together to create a fully integrated ERP system that blows legacy-based systems out of the marketplace.

Learn more about the next generation Reflex ERP.

*Originally posted by Al Muirhead on LinkedIn Pulse.

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