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You Don't Have to Eliminate Legacy Windows Apps to Stay on the Cutting Edge

November 11, 2020
By Robb Henshaw

In a recent conversation with one of the end-user device (EUD) industry’s leading analysts, he quipped, "After the apocalypse, three things will still be around: cockroaches, Twinkies and legacy Windows apps."Image for blog post about Legacy Windows Apps

I laughed at that comment at the time, but its kernel of truth stuck with me. In my years of enterprise SaaS experience, every organization has at least a handful of legacy Windows apps that they still rely on for core business processes. That software is incredibly hard for IT to eliminate or replace.

Why are those legacy Windows apps so tenacious? It mostly comes down to three main reasons.

1) Time and money already invested in customizations

Even if the ERP, CRM, EHR, etc. that your organization relies on does have a cloud-based version as well, many organizations have spent years and millions of dollars customizing their on-premise software to fit the specific needs of their businesses. In those cases, making the move to a cloud-based version would mean giving up those customizations to in exchange for a standardized SaaS version of the software. 

That trade-off simply does not work for organizations who depend on customized software to run their business, because:

  • Their business processes can be severely disrupted if they lose access to the customized software
  • They lose the heavy investment - both in time and money - made over the years to ensure the software meets their specific needs 

For example, a recent article from The Register talks about SAP's recent efforts to get customers to abandon their customizations and move to the cloud, and comes to this conclusion:

"But for many customers, it will be anything but a simple technical migration. Those who have made modifications to the software to fit their business will be in for a rude awakening as they consider the leap to the cloud, where standard – if configurable – systems are the name of the game."

2) The cost and effort of migration

Migration can involve a lot of unknowns. When your organization is using legacy Windows apps, there's a certain amount of predictability in terms of cost (e.g., licensing fees, support) and administrative overhead. The accounting department is usually a big fan of that predictability. It's easier for IT to make a budgetary case for the status quo.

Another important factor is all the work that invariably goes into migration. As much emphasis as there is on running Windows applications from the cloud, even the most ambitious cloud-first initiatives have to be weighed against the effects of potential upheaval and fine-tuning.

No wonder many IT departments would prefer to stick with the devil they know—at least for the time being.

3) End-user resistance

It's no secret that end users can be remarkably stubborn. How many of us have friends or family members who are still plodding along on Windows 7, even though it's been end-of-lifed? They're creatures of habit, like many of us, and they prefer an experience that's familiar to one that's current.

This mindset is often expressed as, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

As a result, if familiar apps are replaced with a solution that's perceived as inferior, there's a real risk of widespread employee dissatisfaction, surges in helpdesk calls and a medium-term drop in productivity. That's why many companies continue to prioritize running legacy Windows applications on personal devices, even if newer and more secure versions might exist.

Where legacy meets leading edge

Instead of putting legacy Windows software in the same bucket as Twinkies and cockroaches, maybe it's time to reframe the question around it.

The real question isn't how those legacy applications should be eliminated or replaced. It's how they should be delivered.

Cameyo is a virtual application delivery solution that effectively wraps legacy Windows software in a modern framework, often referred to as a Digital Workspace. Your end users get the familiarity and functionality they value by accessing and utilizing the same desktop version of the software they currently use - running securely in the browser. At the same time, IT is able to maintain proven software - along with any and all customizations they've made to that software - without having to compromise on the latest standards in security or compatibility. It's a win–win.

Our secure and convenient Digital Workspace platform lets end users work with legacy Windows apps on any device, including Chromebooks, Macbooks, thin clients and tablets. That's because they're able to run those legacy Windows apps in any browser that supports HTML5. Users retain full productivity on their personal and BYOD devices while IT retains full control over their app access.

Flexible enough for any workplace

Today's work settings come in all shapes and sizes. The traditional office is now augmented by work-from-home (WFH), hybrid, hoteling and mobile models. To enable your end users to access their preferred legacy Windows applications on personal devices in any environment, Cameyo has two options:

  • Fully hosted: Cameyo is a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure partner, which means you can provide legacy Windows applications from the cloud without any management overhead. Our service seamlessly integrates with G Suite and Active Directory for single sign on (SSO), permissions, cloud storage and printing. No VPNs necessary.
  • Self-hosted: Some organizations want total backend control over their users' digital workspaces. No problem. Cameyo also lets you self-host and manage our virtual application delivery platform in any environment - on premises, in your cloud of choice, or any hybrid model. VPNs aren't required here, either. Users maintain quick, secure, and seamless access to the software they need.

It doesn't matter whether your employees are using legacy Windows apps on Chromebooks, Macs, thin clients or their home PCs. Cameyo makes it easy, cost-effective and secure for organizations to continue to support them - boosting employee productivity while reducing complexity. Sign up now for a free trial of Cameyo and see how simple it can be to future-proof your legacy Windows software.

Filed Under: Independent Software Vendors, Legacy Application Modernization, Legacy Applications, Application Virtualization, Cloud Application Migration, Application Modernization, Cloud Shift, Virtual Application Delivery, Digital Workspaces, SaaS