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When is a legacy software update worth it? 6 signs you’re overdue

Illustration of outdated legacy computers, phones, and other technology
Illustration by Sarah Kula Marketing Designer

Many organizations that manage their own software products have products that work well but need to be redesigned in order to stay relevant. It can be overwhelming to think about redesigning a legacy product, but often the cost of staying the same is greater than investing in updates. 

So how do you know when it’s time? What are the warning signs that legacy software isn’t cutting it anymore? We’ve seen a lot of the same design and technology problems crop up, as well as business red flags that should let you know it’s time to make some adjustments. Let’s look at the 6 key indicators that it’s time to redesign your legacy software product.

6 signs it’s time to update your legacy product

1. Your team is fatigued and morale is low 

Outdated features in your software product could be forcing your team to answer the same questions over and over again—or fix the same issues repeatedly. This is not only frustrating to your team, but it reveals a gap in the efficacy of your product. Resolving these issues in your software product will not only boost team morale, but you’ll make your product more useful to users and potentially create organic advocates among your customer base.

2. Customer satisfaction is eroding

There’s no product design that will please absolutely everyone. But if you’re seeing increasingly negative, specific feedback about the design or functionality of your product, you have an issue. It would be time to dig into that specific feedback directly from your customers, as well as perspective from internal teams.

3. You’re losing market share

If you’re noticing your company losing market share, or losing customers to your competition, they may have a better-designed or more modern alternative to your product. It’s time to take a clear-eyed look at your product and see if it’s at the same design and functionality levels as your competitors.

4. It’s getting harder to use your product

How easy or difficult is it for a user to pick up and run with your product? How easy is it to train internal employees to use it? If you’re having to work harder to help people use your product, it’s time for a redesign. 

5. Your product isn’t growing with your company

Is your current experience scalable? Is it sustainable over time? Having difficulty adding new features and sub-products is a sign that your design isn’t scalable and will continue to atrophy over time.

6. You’re not meeting your KPIs

Hopefully you established strong KPIs when you first designed your software product. Is the product still meeting those goals? 


Talk with our experts about redesigning your legacy products

Ready to take the leap? We can help you modernize your legacy software products to improve your customer experience and meet your business needs.


Incremental growth is sustainable growth

If you’re convinced it’s time for a redesign, getting started doesn’t have to be an earth-shaking endeavor. In fact, incremental change usually lends itself to more sustainable growth over time. 

Start by defining and scoping trouble areas of the product. Define your KPIs. Figure out what success looks like.

From there, content and design audits will help you spot inconsistencies and opportunities for better organization of information. Talking to customers or the internal team who interface with customers would be huge. Gathering business requirements that the design should achieve. All of these things can be incremental because design should be iterative and talking to customers is a huge part of that. KPIs will keep the business on track when defining the success of a product, which also promotes sustainability or growth over periods of time.

When is a legacy software update worth it?

Every digital product—no matter how successful it was when it launched—needs to be redesigned periodically to stay relevant. While we know it can be overwhelming to think about reworking a legacy product, remaining static is more expensive in the long run.

By examining internal and external satisfaction, your market share, and how well you’re meeting your KPIs, you’ll be better able to gauge how urgently you need to get started—and how much your business stands to gain from a redesign. 

Are you ready to take the leap and start your redesign project? Chat with our team of product design experts—we’ll help you reach your business goals, and keep your customers happy. 

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