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We’ve all seen it—the burden placed on IT teams to be everything to everyone. And for a time back from the late 80’s to the mid 2000’s that was the reality. The ability of IT teams to tackle everything IT-related was nothing short of astounding—from building custom CRMs to managing phone systems, handling the company’s website, and even building homegrown Sales Performance Management tools.

The sad reality in all of this is that approach is no longer an option. The role of IT has changed greatly, to say the least. Gone are the days of building from scratch—replaced with managing projects and business processes that span from keeping the proverbial lights on to implementing new and exciting revenue-generating projects.

And though the days of custom infrastructure and platforms built by the IT team should be over, far too often companies still fall into the trap of believing that homegrown applications are better and more cost effective than publicly available options.

Unfortunately, few consider the reality of what it truly means when it comes to the do-it-yourself approach. The costs associated with maintaining legacy systems can be astronomical—after all, a software company needs to be built and maintained inside the organization for the long term. This is costly: developers, time and energy are spent in maintenance, upgrades to align with changing infrastructure, and the list goes on.

There is also the reality that talent comes and goes, leaving new employees burdened with learning legacy systems, code types, and processes that may eventually become obsolete. All of which lead to more costs in the long term with little to no upside.

However, that’s not where it ends. Far beyond the bandwidth of maintaining legacy, homegrown systems, there is also the stark reality of the new digital age. It’s no surprise that digital transformation has become the single greatest business driver of the twenty-first century. The dissolving of IT silos, the integration of disparate systems that now need to perfectly connect to deliver better user experience, and the impacts of the digital economy all play a major factor in future business success.

With that need for integration comes one of the biggest challenges that companies will face in the next five years—making legacy, homegrown systems work seamlessly with the outside world. For so many companies, the idea that internal systems would one day need to bend to the needs of the end user, be cloud-ready, and so on was simply not in the plan. The future view of legacy systems was simply a financial decision based on saving money at the time—never realizing the astronomical cost of maintaining and evolving systems as the world’s expectations changed.

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but this still gets worse. The single greatest threat to companies in the digital age is IT security. And as data breaches, attacks, and theft become more and more prevalent, the need for enhanced monitoring of systems is paramount. The question becomes: How does one monitor something as archaic as an Excel spreadsheet or aging SPM system? The unfortunate reality is that one of the most common security-related issues is processes built with no controls in mind.

On any given day, people from any department can easily access and make changes to systems without any Identity Access tracking. This situation can lead to everything from compliance issues to data breaches and outright theft—all due to the fact that no one can tell who is doing what, from where, and when.

So is it surprising that one of the most notorious examples of this is Sales Performance Management systems? Whether it be maintaining it, integrating it into more modern systems, or securing it, the fact is that eventually the homegrown SPM system fails—every time.

Eventually the cost will catch up in some way or another. Maybe it’s integration and cloud access that will cost too much (even in loss of productivity) or, worse, a data breach that will bring down the company due to lack of security.

My advice—don’t live in the past, because homegrown solutions always fail. Get the professionals to plan and implement a Sales Performance Management solution for you that will truly meet all of your needs, without the cost of bandwidth, productivity, or security. Then imagine what your IT team can actually do for you—drive business and revenue—instead of just keeping the lights on.