Tuesday, 26th September, 2023

Legacy systems: slowing down your daily business

In modern business, the choice between custom software and reliance on legacy systems and spreadsheets is a critical decision that can significantly impact your organization’s efficiency, competitiveness, and long-term success.

This article explores the merits of custom software and how you can improve your existing legacy systems as a part of your business development program.

What is a legacy system?

Legacy systems and spreadsheets are often designed for specific tasks or processes. As your business grows and evolves, these solutions may not scale effectively to accommodate new requirements or handle increased data volumes. Built by an organisation you have no relationship with or an account manager who rarely calls, you have little control over the development of the platform you use.

A prime example is Windows XP, vast swathes of major organizations like the NHS and the Armed Forces, came to rely on the outdated platform well into the 2010s. This hampered their effectiveness. While brilliant to start with, over time the operating system showed its age, inefficiency and was designed prior to major technological innovations.. This limited operational efficiency and inability to improve your business. This is the crux of what a legacy system is.

With time software has advanced to become vastly improved in areas such as versatility and adaptability. Yet we’ve found that every company we work with has its quirks and unique ways of doing things that have led to their success. Off-the-shelf solutions do not account for this, forcing businesses to work like everyone else in their sector, and potentially lose their competitive edge.

The limitations of legacy systems and spreadsheets


Legacy systems can be clunky and slow, leading to inefficiencies in daily operations. Spreadsheets, while versatile, can become unwieldy as they grow, making data management and analysis time-consuming and error-prone.

Furthermore, designed to run on out-of-date hardware, and more specifically not what your team use, you may encounter more bugs, visual glitches and the dreaded spinning loading screen. With time this only gets worse as platforms get decreased support and updates.

Data integrity concerns:

Spreadsheets are notorious for data entry errors, version control issues, and a lack of robust data validation. Legacy systems, especially if not regularly updated, can also be susceptible to data integrity problems by reliance on outdated methods.

Within these legacy systems, you won’t find cloud-based collaboration tools, limiting your team’s productivity and potentially creating endless version errors, with staff working from the wrong documents and files for extended periods of time.

Limited collaboration:

Collaboration in legacy systems and spreadsheets can be challenging, often requiring manual sharing and reconciliation of data. This leads to delays, miscommunications, and a lack of real-time visibility into business processes.

For example, a growing enterprise may run its customer support team directly through Outlook, while perfect for an office team. Those dealing directly with customers, need a robust ticketing system. Implementing platforms like Freshdesk and Hubspot, off-the-shelf CRMs, can aid their productivity and provide management teams with greater insight into their organisation before anything else happens. Getting smaller teams used to working on digital platforms like this, bolstering their productivity and paving the way for an organisation’s bespoke platform.

How do I improve my business’ legacy systems?

Without experience in legacy system migration, it can seem a little daunting to transition an entire business or organisation onto a new platform. However, it doesn’t have to be an overnight process.

There are numerous steps along the way, such as identifying business pain points, implementing more up-to-date platforms like Hubspot or even training staff to more effectively use spreadsheets.

While custom software offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge that there may be situations where legacy systems and spreadsheets still have a role to play. Transitioning to custom software can be a significant undertaking and may not be cost-effective for every organization initially. A pragmatic approach involves assessing your unique needs, budget constraints, and existing technology infrastructure.

These steps can be part of an initial consultation or a part of our Ignite program, where we’ll help direct a company’s technological business development.


Why consider custom software?

It’s tailored to your needs:

Custom software is built to meet your specific business requirements. By opting for a tailored solution, your platform can account for the nuances in your business, unlocking its potential without stripping away your business identity. This means you get a solution that aligns perfectly with your processes, eliminating unnecessary features and ensuring optimal performance.


Custom software is designed with scalability in mind. As your business expands, the software can be easily adapted and extended to accommodate new demands, ensuring you don’t outgrow your technology.

The majority of Shoothill’s customers establish long-standing relationships with us, returning for extensions of their system to unlock further growth. With an understanding not only of your business but of how your platform works, the return on investment only increases further with time.

Enhanced efficiency:

Custom software is streamlined to optimize your workflow. It eliminates redundant tasks, can automate processes, and provides real-time data access, leading to increased productivity and reduced operational costs. With each aspect built around your company.

Say perhaps your team spend a week each month sending invoices, these processes can be automated. Unlocking your team’s time to do their actual job, generating increased profits.

Improved collaboration:

Collaboration is seamless with custom software. You can integrate features like user permissions, notifications, and real-time updates to enhance team collaboration and decision-making.

This fully realises the potential of cloud computing in ways that legacy systems simply cannot, bringing your operations up to date and unlocking the benefits of digitalisation.

We’ve integrated these features into numerous customer products, including our time management and invoicing system built for Base Architects, our CRM and business management platform for HD Sharmans and our complete new homes sales solution, Housebuilder Pro.

Competitive advantage:

In a competitive business landscape, custom software can give you a significant advantage. It allows you to innovate, adapt quickly to market changes, and differentiate yourself operationally from competitors who rely on off-the-shelf solutions.

By being able to go in your own direction with your platform, you can out-innovate competition and in turn, see improved results.

In conclusion, the merits of custom software are clear when it comes to optimizing business processes, enhancing efficiency, and staying competitive in a dynamic market. Legacy systems and spreadsheets, while useful in certain scenarios, often fall short of meeting the evolving demands of modern businesses.

Carefully evaluating your technology infrastructure and considering custom software development is a strategic move towards securing your company’s future success. With a platform built with an understanding of your business, its direction and your operational pain points, a bespoke platform enables better business.

To find out more about potential digital directions for your business, get in with us touch today.