Published Date: 27 October 2023
In the ever-evolving landscape of modern business, companies often find themselves faced with the challenge of modernising their effective – but outdated – software, applications and systems.
These legacy systems might still be reliable, fully functional, and necessary to the business. They may also be inefficient, vulnerable to online threats, and costly to maintain.
API integrations allow businesses to bridge the gap between using legacy systems and adopting modern and more secure technical applications, creating a hybrid approach to enable old and new to work together for improved operational efficiencies and supporting business growth.
What is a legacy system?
A legacy system refers to outdated and often unsupported software, hardware or applications that are still in use but have become less effective or challenging to incorporate into the infrastructure of a modern business.
Why modernise legacy systems?
Legacy systems often have several issues – some more critical than others. These include:
- Security vulnerabilities: The biggest concern about legacy systems is that they often do not meet modern cybersecurity standards, leaving businesses at a higher risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.
- Lack of updates and support: Some legacy applications cease to receive updates, support, or maintenance from their developers or creators. This can make them inefficient and hinder business operations.
- Hardware limitations: Hardware-based legacy systems may no longer have the capacity to support a growing organisation's software needs, rendering them less effective.
- Excessive maintenance costs: As legacy systems age, their maintenance costs can become exorbitant, straining an organisation's financial resources.
How API integrations support legacy systems
One of the standout features of API integrations is their ability to seamlessly connect a multitude of systems, applications and hardware.
Legacy systems and applications are often still functional and essential to an organisation’s daily operations. API integrations enable continued use of these legacy systems while connecting to newer technology so, over time, the business can fully move away from legacy to fully utilise modern systems.
This phased approach allows a business to continue its main operations with minimal disruption to daily activity.
Businesses with entirely siloed systems may choose to custom build a single system or purchase off-the-shelf products that can be seamlessly integrated. However, for those with critical business applications that cannot be replaced instantly or for those who can’t undertake a big technical change – APIs offer a smooth transition to bridge the gap between their current infrastructure and the desired technology with more advanced capabilities.
Benefits of using API integrations in legacy system modernisation
Modernising legacy systems through API integrations isn't just about keeping pace with new technology; it's a strategic leap towards revitalising business operations.
There are many advantages to creating APIs to work with existing technology infrastructure and pave the way to migrating away from old to new. These include:
- Cost savings: Modernising legacy systems to work with existing or newer technology by integrating through custom APIs is often more cost-effective and provides a better approach to managing technology change. By using an integration approach, you can avoid disruption to day-to-day business operations and mitigate the high expenses associated with replacing all your existing systems in one go.
- Improved operational efficiencies: Legacy systems often suffer from inefficiencies. By integrating siloed systems with newer technology through APIs, you can streamline processes, enhance productivity, and reduce operational bottlenecks.
- Improved data security: API integrations allow you to bolster your system’s data security, reducing vulnerabilities arising from outdated technology and ensuring compliance with modern cybersecurity standards.
Technical challenges in legacy system integration
Modernising legacy systems through custom API integrations comes with some technical challenges. I‑Finity understands these intricacies and has the expertise to address them.
The most common difficulties we face are:
- Compatibility: Ensuring seamless compatibility between legacy systems and modern software can be a daunting task. Our experience in custom API integration helps overcome this hurdle.
- Data integrity: Protecting your data is paramount. We implement robust security measures to ensure data privacy and adherence to international regulations.
- Legacy data migration: Legacy systems often house vast amounts of data in outdated formats. Migrating this data to new systems while maintaining its integrity and structure can be a complex task.
- Data synchronisation: Ensuring data remains consistent and up to date between the legacy system and the new integrated system is crucial. I‑Finity perform in-depth technical reviews to ensure no detail is missed in the process.
- Scalability: As your business grows, your integrated systems should be able to scale to accommodate increased data and user loads. Ensuring the scalability of the integrated architecture is a challenge that requires careful planning and technical expertise.
- Performance optimisation: Integrating legacy systems with modern software can sometimes lead to performance issues. Optimising the performance of the integrated solution is essential to maintain efficiency and responsiveness.
Case Study: GradFinale API integration
GradFinale is a provider of graduate yearbooks for schools and universities. I‑Finity worked with the company to redesign their e-commerce website and integrate it with their existing business systems.
The new site needed to be fully responsive, implement high security measures, and accommodate the unique onboarding processes of various educational establishments.
I-Finity’s solution was to use an API integration to connect the new e-commerce CRM with GradFinale’s backend legacy systems – which included a substantial database and a bespoke yearbook design tool.
Our expertise with Azure Platform allowed us to design a solution that is simple, intuitive, and highly secure. We were also able to minimise disruption to daily operations by integrating the new features with GradFinale’s existing technology investments.
Other essential components of the project included making the site mobile-responsive and implementing a refined search function and secure data tracking.
The integration project not only met GradFinale's core goals but also paved the way for further technical improvements.
I-Finity’s ongoing partnership ensures that GradFinale's evolving technical needs are continually supported. This includes security updates, payments integration upgrades, and the development of a strategic roadmap towards adopting cloud technology.
"GradFinale has been a very happy customer of I‑Finity for many years now. The team respond professionally and promptly to our diverse business needs including our development, support and integration requirements. As well as the technical expertise, they are also excellent at communicating and have a commercial mindset when arriving at solutions. I would not hesitate to recommend I‑Finity to others looking for a technology partner."
Scott Dixon – Director at GradFinale