What Are Legacy Applications? Definition, Issues & Solutions


When it comes to custom development, legacy applications represent both a crucial pillar and a persistent challenge for many companies. These outdated software systems, often at the heart of operations, can pose unique challenges, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and distribution, where the use of ERP systems is widespread.

In this article, we dive into the complexities of legacy applications, exploring their definitions, implications and paths to modernization for the companies that use them.

Definition of legacy applications

Legacy applications, also known as legacy systems, refer to hardware, software or systems that continue to be used by an organization, even if they are from an earlier generation. These systems encompass a whole range of components, including hardware, software and processes, which have become obsolete over time, but are still an integral part of the company’s day-to-day operations.

Recognizing the presence of a legacy system within a company is essential to gaining insight into its technological landscape and the potential challenges it may face. This understanding enables companies to assess the impact of outdated technology on their operations, and design effective modernization, software development, and improvement strategies.

Why legacy application still exists?

Legacy systems and applications persist for several reasons. Firstly, their functionality may still be satisfactory, leading companies to hesitate to update or replace them entirely. Additionally, there may be a fear of potential disruptions during major updates, which can discourage companies from taking action to modernize their systems.

Furthermore, the departure of original developers or loss of adequate documentation can make the operation of these systems unmanaged, further complicating modernization efforts. Moreover, updates may be viewed as too costly or complex, especially if they are done in a monolithic manner and require significant downtime.

Finally, there may be an underestimation of the time needed to completely replace a legacy system, leading to procrastination in modernization efforts.

Does your company operate a legacy system?

Discover if your company is managing a legacy system with in a short 9 questions survey.

what are legacy applications in custom development

Issues posed by legacy applications

Legacy systems pose several issues for the companies that use them:

  • Risk of security vulnerabilities & failures: Maintaining the status quo can become riskier than acting on modernization, as outdated systems can become vulnerable to security breaches and major failures.
  • High costs maintenance: In the event of a major failure or need to abruptly change behavior, associated costs can be high, both in terms of repairs and revenue losses.
  • Accumulation of technical debt: The accumulation of technical debt and obsolete business rules can slow down business operations and hinder a company’s ability to innovate and adapt to new technologies.
  • Limited technical resources: Working with legacy code often requires specialized technical resources, which may be limited or difficult to find, leading to challenges in maintaining and updating the system.
  • Restricted functionalities: Legacy applications may lack modern features and functionalities, restricting the company’s ability to meet evolving business needs and customer demands.
  • Limited portability: Outdated software may be tightly integrated with specific hardware or software platforms, making it challenging to migrate or port the application to new environments or technologies.

How to manage a legacy application: what are the options?

In conclusion, legacy applications represent a crucial technological asset for many companies, particularly those operating in the manufacturing or distribution sectors. However, they are not without their challenges. Companies need to address issues of performance, adaptability and security to ensure their success in an ever-changing technological landscape.

Application modernization is a viable solution to these challenges. By rewriting these applications, companies can preserve essential system functionality while overcoming the limitations associated with legacy technology. This approach makes it possible to integrate modern functionalities, improve performance and strengthen security measures, enabling companies to be more efficient and competitive in the digital age.

The Success of a Chaos-Free ERP Modernization with Acier Picard

Discover how a major steel distributor protected its operational core by modernizing its ERP system


Discover the Success of a Chaos-Free ERP Modernization with Acier Picard

Stay in the loop with our latest tech news and IT updates(Required)
By continuing, I agree to the Openmind Technologies privacy policy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Let’s connect

Tell us more about your needs so that we can better route your project to our specific SWAT team.



During the brainstorming phase, we work with you to identify potential solutions to your business challenges to generate the technology response that aligns with your business objectives.



Through our requirements gathering process, we work closely with you to define and prioritize your needs, ensuring that our solutions are tailored to meet your specific requirements.



This phase marks the beginning of our partnership. We’ll finalize the project plan and establish clear communication channels to ensure a smooth and successful project execution.

Stay in the loop with our latest tech news and industry IT updates.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Receive IT & Tech insights by email


Preferences (optional)

Privacy Policy(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.