Contract Services

Maintaining Legacy Systems in Industry

By Michael Smith

With all the talk of industrie 4.0 and the digital revolution, you might be forgiven for thinking that computerization of indu

With all the talk of industrie 4.0 and the digital revolution, you might be forgiven for thinking that computerization of industry began at the turn of the 21st century. Whereas in fact, the digital revolution really goes back to 1946, when two University of Pennsylvania professors, John Mauchly and J Presper Eckert, received funding from the Census Bureau to build the UNIVAC, the first commercial computer for business and government applications.

By the 1980s, it was common for most companies in the western world to use computers for accounting, and the advantages of using these modern tools in science, technology and R&D were clearly realised. Now viewed as ‘legacy systems’, these once-ground-breaking technologies changed whole industries as they permitted the analysis of input data at an unprecedented speed. And while many of us view a 2-year old smartphone as hopelessly out of date, I wonder how many realise that much of our world – including parts of our own industry – remains reliant on legacy systems that haven’t been updated for decades.

For example, legacy data is defined as all data storage that requires older hardware or software than that currently in use by the organization to use; this is often essential for legal reasons, or to maintain old data that may need to be accessed in the future.

However, while these systems may seem nostalgically charming, legacy software is frequently problematic. Primarily, it may be incompatible with modern software and thus may not integrate into your enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other systems. If it runs only on antiquated hardware, the costs of maintaining the system platform can be very high. And as the generation of computer scientists who developed these systems approaches retirement, the pool of people qualified to address these problems is shrinking.

Lilac Software (UK) has experience in offering innovative solutions for quickly and efficiently updating systems and data in a manner that can be extremely valuable. Combining the energy and innovation of a shockingly young Director (still in his early 20s) with the experience of ‘more mature’ software consultancy skills, this company has the know-how to support many legacy systems going back to the 1980s or – where this is not practical – the ability to advise on possible replacement systems that may include the migration of data to a new, bespoke, more secure technology platform.

In a recent case study, Lilac Software provided assistance to a technology company in the energies sector. The system held valuable data to which the company needed continued access, but it was incompatible with their current systems and was showing signs of instability and failure. Lilac Software addressed the short-term problem with an economical short-term solution that met the company’s immediate needs and saved them from a crisis point.

For a longer-term solution, Lilac Software is currently writing bespoke system to replace their legacy software, in a manner that enables the import of their legacy data into the new system, so no important data are lost.

MS TestIf you would like to speak to Lilac Software about your legacy systems, contact