Struggling With Legacy Software?

By: Pat Wiklund

If you are like most One-Person Business owners, you are THE ONE when it comes to the day-to-day word processing, page layout, financials, and graphics computer work that all needs to be done. You probably have all your old favorite software that makes your job so much easier.

Or, do you?

Legacy software, the high tech industry's term for software that has been on a system forever, through many upgrades of hardware, and changes in the business systems and processes, often can be more of a hindrance than a help. And, it can catch you in a backwater with a huge price.

How Legacy Software Can Hurt More Than Help

Recently I was visiting a colleague who has an enormous amount of source material, reflecting his more than 20 years in his profession. Each topic is carefully copied into its own word processing file. Then the files are collected into folders, and the folders artfully displayed on his screen. Dozens and dozens of them!

The problem? All those individual files. When I asked why so many, he said it makes it easier to find the specific topic he wants. The file names tell him what's what. When I asked why not put them all in one file and then use a table of contents, he had to admit his legacy word processing software doesn't easily allow him to automatically insert a table of contents into a document. He would have to check when each new topic began, type in the title of the page, and then insert the page number. If he wanted to change the file in any way, he'd have to type up a new table of contents.

Instead he spent countless minutes, often hours, finding the topics and information he needed for a paper or a presentation.

The solution? Any of the current "Big Name" word processing software programs have simple instructions for automatically inserting tables of content (tables that can easily be changed if the text of the file is changed in any way). And, almost all of them let you copy in, and/or even open, text files produced by other programs.

The price? It comes back to "pay me now or pay me later." Also, this is a serious decision on how you would like to spend your professional time.

Keeping the same program you've always used means fewer dollars out of your pocket

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