Creating A Positive Business Culture

When Is It Time To Retire The Old Applications And Get New Ones?

by Beatrice Lambert

Your company relies on its software to conduct transactions, store information, send out calendar reminders and alerts, and so on. But after a few years, applications can become more and more obsolete, and this issue is only happening more frequently as companies and computers advance. Eventually, it becomes time to retire the applications you use and get new ones, but figuring out when isn't cut and dried. It's not just a matter of finding a new version or not liking graphics. You have to look at how the application is still serving you, and whether replacing it would result in a mass loss of data.

Maintenance on the Program Takes up More Time

Like hardware, software can slow down over time and not work properly. It's not unusual for software to develop some corruption or be incompatible with some newer programs. But if your software people start having to spend more time reinstalling the software and fixing bugs than they do taking care of their other duties, it's time to consider application retirement.


When software companies release updates, they usually do one of three things:

  • Make the new software compatible with older versions
  • Issue patches to make files created with older versions readable and editable by newer versions
  • Make older and newer versions barely compatible (for example, letting newer versions read documents created with the older versions, but not letting older versions read documents created by the newer versions of the application)

Eventually any incompatibility can become so pronounced that your only choices are to find bizarre workarounds that somehow hack the older version to make it more compatible, such as through third-party applications, or to replace the application entirely, either with the newer version or with another program that doesn't try to force users to pay for new software unwillingly. Replacing the application entirely is usually easier.

Finding Suitable Storage

One reason to hold onto old applications is that the data might not be readable by other programs. Replacing those old applications would render the data essentially inaccessible. Remember, this is not just a matter of transferring a database onto a thumb drive or into an external hard drive -- you have to be able to access and manipulate the data in that database, too. If you can find a suitable storage solution that lets you use the old data even though you're using a new application, then retiring the old application is a viable option.

Business intelligence and application retirement services like Data Mining and Analysis can help you find a good solution to storing data in a way that still allows it to be accessed even if you no longer have the original application. Contact these companies and ask them to evaluate your situation first, and then discuss with them the possible ways you can streamline and update your applications.