It’s a common problem for organisations to have legacy systems that have become so deeply embedded in their organisation, it’s virtually impossible to unravel it and to begin to consider making changes. The constant compromise and complexities of devising and managing contrived work-arounds in order to patch together something that even remotely meets the needs and expectations placed upon it (if not comprehensively or efficiently) is a burden which often weighs heavy on an individuals shoulders.

This ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place’ scenario often prevents organisations from being able to progress with strategic plans and achieve objectives, which in turn can negatively impact both resource and revenue. This journey almost inevitably leads to the commissioning of a new CRM system, but what can you do in the meantime that can bridge some of the gaps, alleviate some of the discomfort, and even potentially build towards the future?

The first step in tackling the related issues of legacy platforms is to analyse both what is working and what exactly are the shortcomings. Some of the common problems we come across in the course of working with organisations in undertaking these audits include the following;

Problem 1 – Data void

Sometimes the shortcoming is found in a system not being able to handle a particular type of data. Where this is the case, sometimes the simplest solution is to take this process outside of the system, circumvent the problem, and where possible feed the resulting data back into the system in a format that can be accommodated.

Problem 2 – Lack of interface

A common issue is the inability to interface out user appropriate data or content. With many organisations opting to use CRM portals rather than integrated websites, their limitations become apparent when confronted with the more unique requirements of an organisation or their audience. Sometimes the best solution to this is to build an integrated interface which plugs the gap specifically, sometimes it makes more sense for this to be more comprehensive to provide a better User Experience (UX). Sometimes the solution comes in a different form, for example a native mobile app which addresses the gap in a completely different way, helping to differentiate the solution.

Problem 3 – Incomplete integration

Sometimes there’s a link in the chain which just hasn’t been made and this area of disconnection can cause significant problems. As skilled integrators NetXtra are adept at succeeding with integrations where others have tried and failed. In certain instances we can also solve the problem through the creation of middleware layers, or integration hubs to act as connection points where direct integration has proved either ineffective or inappropriate for reasons of security or suitability. Often a data, systems or integration audit can quickly reveal how these kind of disconnects can best be addressed.

Problem 4 – Unmapped business process

Sometimes there is a business process which has not been captured and mapped in your system. Often times, that’s because the business has evolved and the system has not been flexible to accommodate it. Occasionally its just because the technology is not designed to be used in that way, or there is a specific ’if’ ‘then’ chain of events that requires a dedicated solution (preferably one that will link into existing interfaces via SSO for continuity of audience connection. For example, we have created a qualifications/career progression mapping tool for an organization which when the user accesses, looks up in the CRM the qualifications and courses already undertaken in order to recommend the appropriate next step for them. A simple digital tool which has encompassed a complex piece of business logic which took nearly an hour for a human to process, takes under a minute for the system to return the recommendation.

Problem 5 – Missing business tool

As businesses and organisations evolve and grow, sometimes the business needs change, and the legacy systems can’t accommodate these evolved demands. These ‘gaps’ can often be bridged through the development of task specific tools. We have provided all sorts of ‘gap filling’ business critical tools to organisations such as CPD logging portals, directories with advanced filtering facilities and intranet tools. If there is a task that your system can’t do, speak to us, there’s a strong chance that we can augment your existing system filling in the missing pieces to move your organisation forwards and strengthen your audience connection.

If you have a business problem with no solution in sight, or a cumbersome workaround in place, talk to us. Our consultative approach helps us to identify and devise appropriate solutions often unique to your organisations needs. Sometimes we’ve provided a similar solution to another organisation, and so can prove it’s well within your reach. Where there is change ahead yet an immediate problem necessitates an interim solution, we’re equally able to build to accommodate change with the future in mind. We’re exhibiting at this years Membership Excellence conference so if you’re attending why not come and see us on stand B8 and you can pick our brains!