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You Can Update Frankenstein Software Systems Forever, But Should You?

You Can Update Frankenstein Software Systems Forever, But Should You?

“It’s alive!”

Years of updates, layers of add-ons, and a quick-fix around every bug-infested corner can keep a struggling legacy system alive and walking almost indefinitely.  But at a certain point, you’ll end up with an over-complex monster on your hands. At least it’s still functioning, right? Why not continue tacking new architecture onto the old, patchwork software forever?  

You really shouldn’t, and here’s why:

Frankenstein Software Will Get a Mind of Its Own

We spend a lot of time hemming and hawing about the risks of powerful AI and future technology—although these risks remain theoretical.  But old technology, too, can get a mind of its own.

You know you’ve reached the point of no return when something goes wrong, and there’s no one left in IT with enough understanding of the complex integrations or workarounds from the days of olde to explain how or why it’s happening.  This makes it tough to fix and can lead to unexpected consequences as the system acts seemingly of its own volition, against your will.

It Becomes a Lumbering Brute

What was once a sleek, elegant system has gradually accumulated:

  • Dozens of custom integrations with newer software that more efficiently handles specific tasks.
  • Redundant databases in different systems that need constant bi-directional migration of new data.
  • Complex architecture that passes data through flaming hoops of code rather than directly to the user—leaving many possible layers for errors, breaches, or failures.

Keep going, and you could set a new Guinness World Record for the largest Rube Goldberg machine.  But why would you?  All that complexity needlessly slows down and complicates simple processes, turning your IT “solution” into an unwieldy, resource-draining giant.  Modernizing and migrating into a new, up-to-date system cuts away the waste.

There’s a Price to Pay

You might not get a mob of villagers with torches and pitchforks storming the castle, but frustrated staff, customers, and IT professionals are a significant cost.  Your organization’s reputation is at stake when you rely on Frankenstein software rather than a modern, streamlined solution.

It becomes more challenging to maintain and operate every year, too. This inevitably leads to a need for more IT hours, higher costs, longer training of new staff, and slower resolutions to issues. The irony is that you probably keep the legacy software around for this very reason—you don’t want to invest the time, training, and upfront costs into a new system. Since it’s going to happen either way, you’re better off ending up with a straightforward and current solution.

Slay the Beast Once and For All!

Many of these Frankenstein software problems are unique to old-school, on-premise software.  Modern computing has moved largely to cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS), where your service provider handles:

  • Routine maintenance of your database or application
  • Integrations with critical systems (with no developer needed on your end)
  • Security updates, bug fixes, and patches

Better yet, the issue of obsolescence is far less with SaaS because of the very nature of cloud computing. The continuous cycle of upgrades and fresh installs is replaced by an ongoing system that upgrades itself on the service provider’s end, without any new purchases.  Frankenstein software has too many costs to justify any longer—let it rest in peace.