October 18, 2019

Legacy Online Site Selection Technologies: It’s Time for a Replacement

Ron Bertasi
What is a legacy technology?

A legacy online site selection system is an older software solution that provides basic online data and simple functionality, but lacks the most up-to-date data and interactive tools. As competitive pressures force businesses to focus relentlessly on improving their site selection processes with more and better data and increasingly sophisticated analysis, legacy apps fall further and further behind every year.

Why don’t legacy providers update their technology?

Legacy apps aren’t keeping up with modern technology for a simple reason: it’s cheaper not to.

Legacy providers choose to extend the product’s life cycle indefinitely, by writing just enough code to modestly improve functionality or improve the visual appearance. For legacy providers this can prove profitable in the short run, keeping development and maintenance costs low while treating the technology as a cash cow. But the technology becomes outdated as it moves along the familiar product life cycle curve, and the provider’s cash cow soon becomes the customer’s legacy app.

Eventually the economic developer must find a replacement for an outdated technology simply to stay competitive.

Why don’t legacy providers incorporate the complete Esri data businesses are looking for?

Legacy providers don’t offer access to the entire Esri data set because

they can’t. Only GIS WebTech, an Esri Silver Partner, can provide real-time access to the entire Esri data set.

Most legacy providers develop their apps on second-tier GIS platforms,

such as Mapbox or Google. This forces them to source less-accurate demographic data from cheaper, third party providers you’ve probably never heard of.

What about Emsi and Chmura workforce data?

Legacy providers sometimes offer to integrate Emsi or Chmura data into their technology, but they require you to have a preexisting license from one of these workforce data providers. Only GIS WebTech provides your choice of Emsi or Chmura data right out of the box, even if you do not have an Emsi or Chmura license.

What types of functionality are missing in legacy apps?

Legacy apps are behind in several areas, but analytical tools is perhaps the most important.

If a site selector wants to look at data around a location or property of interest, legacy apps limit them to collecting data within an average drive time. Users have no ability to customize their analysis for traffic by

selecting the day of the week, the time of day, or the direction of travel. Instead, they are stuck with an analysis that makes no distinction between a Sunday afternoon and weekday at rush hour. The result is inaccurate analysis and inaccurate data.

Modern technologies, in contrast, allow the user to select the day of the week, the time of day, and the direction of travel, producing more accurate analysis and therefore better data.

Similarly, legacy technologies do not include trucking time analysis — which is distinct from drive times that assume a

passenger car — and increasingly demanded by manufacturers, industrials and distributors. Likewise, legacy apps do not provide walking time analysis, which is a great feature for urban areas and downtowns focused on recruiting retailers, restaurants, and other businesses impacting quality of life and livability.

Lastly, the user interfaces in legacy technologies have had facelifts over the years but still remain out of date. For example, legacy apps still require users to load properties in batches of 10 or 20 at a time, asking the user to hit the “next” button over and over to load additional batches, even though the technology to load and display all properties without batches has been around for years.

What about cost?

Here’s the best part: in technology the latest thing is often less expensive than legacy products. Why? Simple. The latest technologies are built with the latest development tools and lack the high maintenance costs of legacy code, which is usually many years old. In fact, GIS WebTech is affordable by communities of all sizes, and we help small, rural communities compete and win just as we help whole states and large regional organizations.

Want to experience the latest technology?

Drop me a note at ron@giswebtech.com or fill out our web form at www.giswebtech.com and we would be happy to provide an online demo, so you can see first-hand why GIS WebTech is the fastest-growing provider in the market. We look forward to connecting.

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