Legacy systems still critical to UK businesses

Systems that are up to 20 years old still form the backbone of many UK companies, according to a survey

Only around one in six UK companies have completely discarded their legacy systems, and more than half are planning to invest in them over the next three years, according to a survey.

In the study, carried out on behalf of software integration company WRQ, 86 percent of respondents said they still used legacy systems for business-critical applications such as staff payroll, while around 6 percent said they were almost entirely dependent on products that were up to 20 years old.

According to WRQ, the findings should not be a surprise because many companies spent years developing the IT infrastructure that forms the backbone of their business. Additionally, the company said it is relatively easy to integrate legacy systems with modern applications.

Bob Stream, head of WRQ, said it can be dangerous for companies to get rid of legacy products because they are so important to many businesses' daily operations. "I'm amazed that some organisations and analyst houses recommend companies switch a percentage of their legacy systems off as a means to save money. Businesses simply need to know how to unlock the potential of their legacy systems," he said in a statement.

More than half of UK companies expect to develop their legacy systems by investing in them over the next three years, while around 60 percent admit to either building on or developing new software for their legacy systems over the past year.