In this ecosystem, today’s employees are hyperconnected consumers outside of work, enjoying seamless user experiences driven by data and delivered through the cloud. But as new technologies increase the velocity of change, traditional enterprise applications and legacy systems are notorious for falling behind. What’s the impact of this slow evolution?
Let’s explore how enterprise applications affect today’s workers and why upgrading these applications has become more critical than ever.
The 2019 Employee Engagement Report from Tiny Pulse gives a sobering look at American workforce. The report reveals that 43% of employees would be willing to leave their companies for just a 10% pay raise elsewhere — up from just 23% in 2015. Among the top ten pain points reported by unengaged or frustrated workers, technology (or lack thereof) tops the list.
And it’s an issue that seems to transcend age groups. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Millennial Survey, 49% of millennials say that, given the opportunity, they would quit their current jobs in the next two years. Of those surveyed, 49% also believe new technologies will soon augment their careers — but only one in five believe they currently have the knowledge and skills needed to survive in Industry 4.0.
With millennials on track to dominate the workforce population, this is a troubling trend. Gallup estimates the annual cost of millennial workforce turnover to be $30.5 billion. In this scenario, both the business and individuals suffer — because technology has made the two inseparable.
As applications age, they become more difficult to support. The resources needed to address these complexities are dwindling fast, creating a maintenance nightmare with every customization or change. And, since more and more vendors are ending support for legacy apps, support costs are on the rise.
That’s just on the IT side. Legacy applications are also slowing workforce productivity, creating a maze of disparate platforms and hindering collaboration. As the above data shows, the workers using legacy apps are increasingly unsatisfied, demanding more from their job experiences. Using outdated legacy systems to serve consumers, in particular, causes frustration that reflects back on the employee and the overall business represented.
True digital transformation is a convergence of employee and customer experience. Failing to improve employee experiences by enabling your workforce to work friction-free decreases the chances that you’ll be able to successfully differentiate your customer experience. As a result, your bottom line will suffer.
There are a few key distinctions between legacy and modern applications for the enterprise. The first is user experience. Where traditional applications require users to adapt to the design of the application, modern applications are built to operate the way users prefer to work.
The second difference is ease of access. Legacy apps only allow information to be accessed from within the application, but modern apps allow seamless access from multiple sources, delivering a consistent user experience.
Thirdly, legacy applications were developed in isolation, making sharing information with other applications difficult. Modern applications, on the other hand, are developed according to application and security standards to create a cohesive experience across applications.
Not only do modern applications need to provide a better customer experience, they often need to be delivered to millions of potential users across the globe, leveraging vast quantities of data without sacrificing responsiveness. As a result, modern development techniques and architecture patterns have evolved to help meet these demands.
Legacy, or monolithic, applications may be quick to develop, but they’re also extremely difficult to update or scale since each aspect of the code base is so tightly coupled. Building applications with modular, independent components — or microservices — allows replacement services to be slotted in using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) rather than full rewrites. This makes it easier to deliver more frequent deployments and quickly scale applications as needed.
Modern applications also maximize the benefits of cloud platforms more effectively than legacy apps, improving performance and reliability while reducing costs. The rise of “serverless” platforms furthers the potential for increased agility. Without the need to worry about infrastructure management tasks like server or cluster provisioning, patching or operating system maintenance, serverless applications can be spun up quickly and instantly scaled. The ability to pay per service call also lowers the total cost of ownership.
Other benefits of modern apps include built-in security features, automated testing for improved reliability and pay-for-value pricing. Bringing all of these elements together allows you to deliver a seamless employee experience that simplifies daily operations and ultimately allows you to attract and retain top talent.
At the end of the day, applications should save you time and effort — not make more work. In order to begin the journey to modernizing applications, treat employees as if they are customers. Take the time to understand how they work and where their pain points might be, then work to address those issues accordingly.
As individuals gain more control over their digital work experiences, both agility and productivity will increase. Collaboration will become more seamless, allowing employees to focus on delivering innovative experiences to customers that keep your business and your brand strong.