• Ellen Pace

Sustainability and Legacy Software Modernization. Do they have something in common

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Today my laptop reminded me about updates. Again. As always, I clicked on the cross and continued my work routine.


Sounds familiar? - If so, welcome to the team. Admit it: you usually ignore such things both in daily life and business. For example, you try to forget about software modernization necessity until legacy products harm your company somehow.


But it seems like a paradigm shift is coming.


Many managers are already faced with the sustainability concept as a non-fading notification about compulsory software updates. Why? - you might ask. It is exactly what we'll try to discover for the next few minutes.


What Sustainability Means for the Business World: Back to the Future


Recently we answered 7 FAQs about how the sustainability concept affects business development. Well, let's try to refresh the information in memory.


Sustainability definition

Compliance with sustainability requires companies to transform approaches to management, natural resources usage, relations with employees. The concept assumes the organization that does not harm society, the economy, and the environment.


Why should companies worry about sustainability?


As it turned out, their future existence depends on their attitude to this issue. On the one hand, states set strict requirements for providing sustainability reporting. On the other hand, large businesses and international exchanges consider the non-financial reporting analysis as a key risk management stage. In other words, without zeal for a sustainable future, a company can forget about international partnerships, foreign investment, and listing on reputable exchanges.


Moreover, a brand reputation for attracting customers remains crucial for enterprises. Following GreenPrint research, 64% of responded Americans are ready to pay more for sustainable products. Companies are trying to position themselves as green to satisfy them.


Dream vs reality


Over the past few years, companies have been actively addressing sustainability issues. They promise to reduce fresh water and energy consumption. They invest in regional infrastructure development.


However, in the race for reputation, corporations forget to provide accurate reporting data. All the world's media instantly responded to the recent Nature Communications report. Following the last one, 56 major tech companies did not disclose at least half data on their emissions.


This circumstance shows that sustainability is not a goal for most businesses, but only a means to obtain commercial benefits.


Why You Won’t Achieve Sustainability With Legacy Software


In 2021, Hewlett-Packard was recognized as the US's most sustainable company. And Walmart - as a leading US retailer by green power. How did they do it?


By analyzing the steps a business needs to take, we can conclude that all roads lead to software. Companies are taking the digital way of thinking. It means that almost all processes within enterprises depend on the software product's quality. Businesses must upgrade the software base in an eco-friendly manner to make them sustainable.


Why companies can't achieve a "sustainable enterprise" status without software modernization


To answer this question, let's remember why businesses are trying to get rid of legacy products. Often such software:

  • ceases to fulfill functions

  • slows down business development

  • requires additional support resources

  • consumes too much energy

  • increases operational costs

It’s like a white elephant.

Legacy software vs. sustainable software

Legacy software is the complete opposite of a sustainable one. Digital products in a new way are versatile, easy-to-maintain, and long-time operated. They consume a minimum of natural resources and require minimal employee involvement throughout the entire life cycle.


A company will fail to achieve sustainable goals by using outdated digital products. Despite all efforts, management will continue to act following old scenarios: deal with the shortcomings, invest in maintenance, etc. It will lead to the loss of customers, employees, resources, and place in the market.


Here we can observe a curious connection between sustainability implementation and legacy products upgrading. The first one isn't just an additional reason why businesses consider digital transformation. In the face of tough competition, demanding clients, and state pressure, businesses are gradually choosing the "green" way. This choice is one of the core software modernization drivers.


What Should Companies Consider, Modernizing Software In a Sustainable Way


  1. Business processes before project initiation. Global transformation is unlikely to succeed without preparation. A company needs to streamline its departments, create in-house politics & guidelines, and prepare employees for innovation to get started.

  2. Hardware quality. Yes, it is not a mistake. The case is sustainable development requires sustainable equipment. You should check the methods used in the production of the hardware you'll apply. The more resources your manufacturer and supplier have consumed to create & deliver hardware, the further you will be from "green" modernization.

  3. Compliance of the software design to sustainability principles. The critical point here is creating and testing a prototype of an upgraded product. Sustainability principles limit engineering to some extent. To make sure that modernized software will be fully consistent with the concept, you should check it out at the very beginning.


Afterword


According to Statista, companies in North America and Europe are most consciously approaching business sustainability in 2021. The transition to green technologies will be even more noticeable in a few years. Why not - the concept provides parity benefits both for industries and the environment.


Sustainability checklist

Businesses will have to get their legacy software up-to-date to stay afloat. It's predicted that they will respond to changes quickly since the software modernization market value will double in the next 4 years.


If you are building a sustainable development strategy, find a place for digital product upgrading there. Feel free to contact us and receive advice on how to start green software modernization.


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