Operators running on legacy reservation systems may be loathe to embrace digital transformation for the fear of having to start over. Legacy systems are symbolic of a large business investment but will continue to eat into resources if stakeholders don’t act and modernize processes.
One of the biggest barriers to adopting new technology is the misconception that a business has to cast the existing system and data aside to begin again. However, this is not the case. A powerful technology provider, like Betterez, can migrate an entire product portfolio and get a business off a legacy system and onto a transformative ticketing platform that delivers results without downtime.
Why Move Off A Legacy System
Digital transformation requires a customer-first approach to business, and operating using a legacy system throws this focus off. Instead of keeping up with the demands of an evolving market, core business operational processes turn into overcoming software problems.
Legacy systems are also expensive to run, requiring increasing resource input to continue scaling the business. Often, components are overlooked in the early stages of development too, making scalability and flexibility even more difficult. On the other hand, a cloud solution allows businesses to spend less on maintaining systems and instead, focus on enhancing them.
How To Get Off Your Legacy System
1. Evaluate The Existing Environment And Identity Valuable Components
Begin by performing a complete audit of your company’s technological infrastructure, keeping your business objectives in mind. This should go beyond simple identification of features and functions which need to be replicated and include an assessment of each component’s contribution to the system. Not everything will need to be migrated across.
2. Map Optimal Points Of Integration
Next, identify and establish optimal points of integration for legacy systems. What relationships do your existing interfaces have with one another? What needs to be moved at the same time, and what is less critical. You want to establish how to mitigate the disruption to the operations of your business and keep everything running smoothly when you transition.
3. Plan To Transition In Stages
Transitioning in phases, rather than all at once, will lessen the risks of system downtime and complete disruption to your business. You don’t want to lose your handle on the day to day, as this could have dire consequences for your operation and impact your customers. Instead, run the old and new systems in parallel, and use this opportunity to test the new systems, migrate data, and slowly phase out the old technology when it makes sense to do so.
4. Identify A Reservations Platform That Will Meet Future Business Needs
As legacy systems age, speed, usability, and user experience become an issue. While established businesses have the brand name and customer base backing them, it is only a matter of time before this creates a major issue.
Going forward, the success of your business is going to be weighted on finding a reservations platform that will scale with it and allow you to diversify. Your customers’ needs are evolving, therefore, your business needs will too.
A software company with a platform made for the industry will be continually assessing these requirements alongside a global market. Some of the features a top reservations system should offer include:
- -Dynamic pricing models
- -Ability to offer multiple products
- -Intelligent reporting
- -Scheduling tools
- -Loyalty and rewards programs
- -Extendibility and integration with other platforms
5. Ensure You Have The Right Team In Place To Lead The Transition Internally
Effective digital systems and software are tools to boost efficiency in the workplace. With the right tools, employees can reach their maximum productivity potential. However, to get to this point, you need to provide training for the systems. Your staff should also be informed on how the new technology will impact business operations and efficiency, ensuring an inclusive attitude during the transition.
To begin this transition, a steering committee should be appointed. These are the key stakeholders that ultimately sign off on budget, team, and scope of work to be carried out.
Thereafter, a digital change agent, either the CIO or CTO of the business, needs to be put into position to lead the transition internally. This is the person to bridge the gap between technology and employees. They will talk the employees through the change, humanize the technical side, be hands-on with training on the new systems, and simplify the transition overall.
A project manager will oversee the planning, implementation, and sign off of the transition. This person will lead the functional and technical subject matter experts, agile testers, and trainers to ensure that the transition is a success. They will also be the point of contact between your company and the SaaS provider and monitor workflow there.
6. Get Customers Onboard With The Change
Moving to a forward-thinking platform will win you new customers by providing insights on how to better reach your market. However, there are your existing customers to consider, and they need to be brought on board regarding the change.
For existing clients, the new system could mean they purchase tickets differently, for example, using mobile. It could also involve a new booking interface that they have to learn to navigate. Some may be surprised if you do not notify them of the change, so it is best to provide them with clear communications in writing in advance.
Provide your resellers with pamphlets and cheat sheets with details of the new system. Send out emails or SMSes to your customer base. Post on social media channels, and train the front line staff to advise customers of the upcoming change in how they interact with the reservations system. Outline what they can do and who they can contact should they need any assistance with the new system once it goes live. Fewer surprises will help to minimize the possibility of losing their business to your competitors.
Migrating to a SaaS platform presents a major change in your company’s DNA. But, with the right transition team in place to facilitate the process and a software provider ready to meet you on the other end, you will be ensuring the longevity of your business.
Consider the transition to be a transformation, rather than a test to be passed. It does not mean starting from the beginning again. Instead, it is an opportunity to dig deeper into the market through better insights and meet its demands with better transparency and speed.
If you are ready to transition to an innovative reservations platform that will transform your coach bus business, contact us for a demo today.