Is it time to toss legacy enterprise software to the curb?

Both employees and executives are frustrated with yesterday's solutions and it's time to move on.

It may be hard to believe, but many companies still rely on spreadsheets to manage their business. In fact, according to a survey, one in five businesses use them to communicate and track data internally.  

With big data, cloud and SaaS technologies at our fingertips (literally), why are companies still using manual spreadsheets to get important work done?   

A new TrackVia survey sheds some light on this phenomenon. It revealed that business and IT executives feel that current enterprise software is too expensive and inflexible, overly time-consuming, or excessively complicated to adopt. Due to this reality, employees have no other choice than to resort to emailing spreadsheets around to get their work done. 

The Current Software Landscape: Frustration Mounting Among Executives 

The recent survey findings looked at the current systems employed across today’s organizations to see if this analysis held answers to the mounting frustrations with enterprise software. It found that 80 percent of companies use on-premise software and nearly three-quarters use off-premises software, such as cloud or SaaS. In an age where technology permeates our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that companies take advantage of cloud software. However, the fact that on-premise software continues to thrive, is one indication that off-premise, cloud solutions have offered little improvement when it comes to fulfilling the evolving and unique needs of today’s companies. 

Digging deeper, let’s take a look at executives’ top priorities when selecting software: integration/compatibility with other software and applications tops the list, followed by customization and scalability; and mobile and offline capabilities rounding out the top three. Ironically, those priorities become the top challenges faced with their software.   

Wait a second; how can executives’ priorities also be their top challenges? Well, the truth is that traditional enterprise software solutions are too limiting.   

In fact, eight out of ten executives have changed part of their business operations or processes to match the way their software works. Plus, the limitations of legacy software have left two-thirds of executives reporting that the lack of mobile functionality has made it challenging for them to use their software programs. 

With these limitations and the overall lack of adaptability, 76 percent of executives have felt forced to switch software programs and two-thirds admit that legacy software negatively affects their company’s growth. Talk about inefficient.   

It comes as no surprise that businesses are frustrated with today’s current state of enterprise software. However, executives shared potential improvements that could be made: two-thirds suggest enhancing customization; nearly half say adjusting cost, and two out of five suggest easier integration/compatibility with other software and applications.   

A New Wave of Low-code Technology to the Rescue

Fed up and frustrated with today’s legacy systems, how can a business take the leap away from these outdated and inefficient methods? Banning the use of spreadsheets, or other types of manual tools, is likely not a productive or long-term solution, as satisfying as it may sound to some executives. A recent wave of software technology, which analysts refer to as “low code application platforms”, may provide a new option. As the name implies, these platforms allow users to efficiently create customized applications with minimum hand-coding, setup and deployment.  

Remember five or ten years ago when most websites were built from scratch using programming? Well fast-forward to today, most websites are not fully hand-coded and rather “assembled” using visual tools and features available in systems, like WordPress or SquareSpace. Low-code platforms are analogous to the evolution of modern website technology. Representing the next evolution of first generation Software-as-a-Service solutions, these technologies accelerate the time it takes to build and deploy fully customizable, web and mobile software by replacing time-consuming programming with drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive, versatile toolsets.   

Thanks to low-code platforms, executives will no longer have to be concerned with putting in requests to IT departments, and waiting weeks, months or maybe even a full year, to get access to the technology they need to accomplish enterprise work. Since low-code solutions eliminate the need for a developer to write hundreds or even thousands of lines of code in order to create, modify, integrate or deploy sophisticated business applications, professionals can, instead, use this type of technology to quickly “assemble” an application’s framework. From there, they can easily customize their applications around their company’s specific and often evolving operational processes and employee needs. With nearly a quarter of those using low-code solutions reporting the biggest benefit as productivity and customization, it is no surprise that wider adoption is on the near horizon.   

In fact over the last few years, the demand for low-code software has exploded. Forrester expects 68 percent revenue growth in the low-code market and forecasts that by 2019 the overall market size will reach $10.3 billion. 

This new breed of low-code software is quickly surpassing the “early adoption” stage with nearly one in three executives surveyed currently using a low-code platform. Among non-users, 92 percent of business and IT executives are familiar with low-code solutions and nearly half are interested in pursuing the software. Why? Business and IT executives are confident that low-code software can in fact address a variety of their challenges, including faster implementation, updates and maintenance, increased productivity in IT, easier customization of enterprise applications, and simpler integration and compatibility with other software and applications.   

The frustration stops here. With a new approach to enterprise software, low-code platforms are easily adaptable to the constantly evolving operational needs of businesses while eliminating the issues caused by operating in a state of technological limbo. 

Pete Khanna, CEO of TrackVia 

Image Credit: ChingChing / Shutterstock

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pete Khanna is currently CEO of TrackVia, a low-code application platform. Before TrackVia, Pete most recently was President and COO of MX Logic, an email and Web security company, which was acquired by McAfee in 2009. Pete also held executive positions with Inflow and LINK-VTC.