Keeping up with the times isn’t easy for anyone, but a new survey found a majority of enterprises are putting their business at risk by holding on to aging, decrepit IT systems.

IT management company ScienceLogic commissioned a study from consulting firm Forrester, which spoke to more than 200 IT professionals across a variety of businesses and government entities. The study, Prevalence Of Legacy Tools Paralyzes Enterprises’ Ability To Innovate, gives a detailed look at how slow some enterprises have been to upgrade their tools.

The survey found that 86% of enterprises still use at least one legacy tool and just 12% had fully transitioned to modern monitoring tools.

“So many enterprises’ IT ecosystems still employ legacy IT operations tools, ill-equipped for the challenges that the digital transformation journey brings. A recent survey predicted that digital transformation will eliminate 40% of the Fortune 500, and when comparing 1955 to today’s Fortune 500 list; less that 60 companies remain,” ScienceLogic founder and CEO Dave Link said.

Almost 40% of those who responded to the survey said they still exclusively used legacy tools throughout their enterprise. Link defined “legacy tools” as any product that is over a decade old in architecture and operation.

“A legacy platform is one that was traditionally built for monolithic systems prevalent in IT operations designed for on-premise deployments,” Link said.

“These systems were not built for modern architectures where IT workloads are increasingly atomized–spun-up/spun-down and moved about–through the use of virtual machines, containers, microservices and hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. Lastly, they’re not built with software as a service-based offerings core to their design,” Link said.

Link added that modern tools were primarily software as a service-based, were deployable in the cloud and in other settings and supported the latest technology. Modern tools, he said, “looked more like a platform than a hodge-podge of different products.” Systems had to incorporate AI and needed to provide real-time data as well as self-cleaning tools.

The study found that enterprises using these legacy tools saw real disruption to work and potential losses of money. These aging systems lengthened service disruptions and led to poor customer experience. Rarely did any of them support the shift to hybrid-cloud environments or new application architectures.

Thankfully, almost 70% of IT managers who spoke to Forrester said their enterprises had planned to upgrade their systems in the next 12 months.

“These enterprises are starting to take the leap to modernize their IT environment, however, survival will require a cultural shift in how people and organizations understand the flow and impact of clean data as part of a broader strategy towards automation,” Link said.

“The reality is that those who have not started are already behind, but it is not too late to future-proofs your IT systems and teams so they may focus on innovative advancements to propel your enterprise to market success.”

Link said companies could figure out if their IT departments were behind the eight ball by asking a few simple questions:

  • Does your current tool give you cross-domain visibility at the service level rather than at the device level?
  • Can you collect data across the data center supporting different vendors and technologies to build a real-time data lake?
  • Can you easily troubleshoot service issues traversing the application and infrastructure layers to get to the root cause?
  • Is your CMDB (device database) accurate and actionable to help with troubleshooting and incident management?

If you can’t answer some of these questions, you might want to call a meeting with your IT department. According to Link, the best tools are not necessarily all cloud-based. They key is to find tools that support a heterogenous environment of technologies, clouds and vendors.

“Moreover, companies with legacy-only tools are, across the board, underinvested in digital experiences and automation, meaning that those enterprises are not just falling behind in operations—they’re falling behind across numerous vital metrics of business success. They are in survival mode—even if they don’t know it yet,” Link said.

“The alarm bells are ringing. If enterprise leaders truly want agility, then it is imperative to transition to modern tools and strategies that place them on track towards IT modernization, end-to-end visibility, and ultimately, automation. The risks of not doing so have never been higher. Those that have not begun are already behind.”