Does my analytics platform need modernising?

  • Health Check
  • Life Science
  • Modernisation

By Carrie Foreman

Modernisation is an important concept that should not be ignored in any industry, but it is often overlooked by the overwhelming need to maintain business critical processes.  Your ten year old analytics platform may work perfectly fine now, but there are always risks with legacy software, especially if it has not been updated since its initial installation.  You might be surprised how often we find customers who have platforms that have not been updated in over a decade and if this sounds like your platform, read on to find out why it may be time to review your platform and evaluate your options for modernisation.

Why should you modernise?

There are dozens of reasons why you should modernise your analytics platform. Software vendors are constantly updating their products with new functionality, bug fixes, security fixes and additional capabilities. By not modernising, you are missing out on these new features and could be unknowingly leaving your platform open to security vulnerabilities. Most vendors include free upgrades and patching as part of their licensing, so if you are paying for it, why are you not using it?

The top four reasons we see for not modernising are:

  1. We can’t afford to have the platform offline for a day.
  2. Last time we tried an update there were issues with storage, permissions, and it might happen again.
  3. It works fine now, so why do we need to change anything.
  4. We don’t know where to start with the change.

We are on a mission to expose the business critical reasons to review and modernise your platforms:

  1. Can you afford to have the platform offline for more than a day?
  2. Issues can happen if you don’t update, but with proper preparation there will be a contingency in place.
  3. New staff members brought on will be using and expect the the latest programming tools, and current staff want to be upskilled. Department productivity will benefit from new functionality by providing opportunities to automate and gain deeper insights.
  4. Reduced staff members that support and understand the platform, risking few to no individuals with knowledge in the current version left in the business.

Let’s focus on some of the main questions you should ask when looking into the need for modernisation.

1. When was your platform last updated?

If you can’t answer this question you might already be in trouble.  Katalyze Data recommend that software updates are applied at a minimum on a six-month rolling cycle.  If you have a monthly operating system patching cycle, why would you not have the same for your analytics platform?  Regular updates are generally much quicker and safer than storing up and applying updates to an increasingly aging platform.  Over time the number of updates can accrue very quickly – couple that with IT making minor changes for other applications on the operating system and the outcome of an upgrade can vary widely.  Regularly we find that on an older platform that has not been updated, it is safer to rebuild on new hardware than to upgrade the software in place – something which would have been completely avoidable if the platform had been maintained with a bi-annual update cycle.

2. Is your platform secure?

Platform vulnerabilities are reported regularly, and the national vulnerability database database currently catalogues over 200,000 of such.  From time to time these vulnerabilities are included within various software bundles and analytics vendors such as SAS and Anaconda can be affected by these vulnerabilities.  Three such instances of these vulnerabilities which have required immediate action to reduce the risk included:

  • CVE-2021-44228: Log4j2 (December 2021)
  • CVE-2022-45907: PyTorch (November 2022)
  • CVE-2023-46604: Apache ActiveMQ (November 2023)

Each of these examples have impacted the analytics landscape requiring steps to mitigate the risks they represent.  This can include either a security update, a component update or firewall changes, but keeping an eye on the latest developments in software will mean that you are prepared as soon as possible to make changes if required.  At Katalyze Data, we are still finding organisations who have not implemented fixes for each of these vulnerabilities that remain at risk.  If you have not updated your platform in some time, we would encourage you to make sure that the steps to mitigate these issues are followed as soon as possible.

3. Is your current software still supported?

In terms of software support there are a few different aspects to consider.  Software vendors do set expiry dates on the support they provide which includes the operating systems that they run on.  This can vary across vendors but should be reviewed to identify if your platform is at risk. For most vendors they will support a platform fully until a specified date at which point the system is placed into a category of limited support.  This could mean that software updates are no longer available for that version, or that support is then revoked completely and if you have any issues the vendor will no longer be able to assist. Regular communication with your vendors will help you plan for change.

The most recent dates to be aware of include the following:

Our recommendation would be to upgrade way in advance of these dates, and if the date has passed you may want to urgently review your options.

4. What do your users want and need to use?

The main driver for modernisation is often from the users of the platform.  It is always advisable when considering change to review:

  • What applications and languages do the users primarily like to code in?
  • Are there any new skills which are being adopted by the team (open source, Databricks) that can improve productivity and results?
  • What new products and packages are available for the users?
  • Are there any other teams that may benefit from using the platform that don’t currently?
  • What issues do the users currently face on a day-by-day basis?

If you are looking at trends in technology, over the past few years there has been a huge increase in the number of individuals that are graduating with open source knowledge. Adoption of open source techniques in your analytics platform can massively help to accelerate your business. Furthermore open source integration is available in SAS Viya and later releases of SAS 9.4 as an example.

5. Does the organisation have the skills to support the platform in its current state?

If the answer to this question is no, then you may need to consider the risk this poses to the business should any issues occur. Training staff in outdated software does not represent a sensible investment. We often find that teams are more engaged in change and training if it means that those skills be continue to benefit them in the future.


At Katalyze Data, we know that all of this combined is fundamental to success – it’s about the people, the process and the technology.

Whether you are not sure where to start when it comes to analysing your analytics platform, know you have potential vulnerabilities in your current state, need the reassurance that what you have in place is giving you the best ROI, or have already started your journey to modernisation; we provide organisations of all sizes a flexible level of support and advice, providing what they need to meet their data and analytics goals. Get in touch with our experienced team for an initial consultation about your business and on how our platform health check services can accelerate your productivity and profitability.

Contact Us
Back to Insights

Talk to us about how we can help