If you’ve made the decision to be done with your legacy system and move on to greener pastures, the good news is that you don’t need to start over from scratch. Your old system can give you a wealth of information on what your new system should look and feel like.

The first step in designing any new system is to create your needs and wishes. Most of your needs will be functionality that is already existing within your current system, others with come from the current shortcomings of your legacy system. Of course, try to keep your wishlist realistic. It’s okay to reach — just make sure you aren’t expecting every single task  to be automated. We don’t have the ability to give your new system AI or telepathy.

After you have made your list of needs and wishes,  share them with your staff and ask for their input. Most likely they will be in the system more than you, and that might have some additional insights on what the new system should include.

Next, you’ll want to figure out what you can get rid of. After all, not everything needs to make the transfer into the new system.Over time systems naturally develop some bloat — features that were used only for a short time, redundancies, or entire sections that no longer apply because processes have changed. These can slow down your users and hinder the efficiency of a new system, and you’ll want to be sure to identify what isn’t getting transferred.

Lastly, and this is probably the biggest one, you don’t need to start from nothing. Your legacy system was created the way it was for a reason, and it’s sure to provide you and your staff a foundation of some benefit. These benefits shouldn’t be thrown away; instead, they should be capitalized on. Use these as the starting points when giving input on the design and architecture of your new system. Designing a new system is hard work. Take what you’ve learned from your first time around and use it to make the second even better.

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