Many modern businesses across the globe are betting their organizations on legacy applications that were developed years or even decades ago. Let’s face the truth – software is not like wine, it does not get better with age. The usability and features of applications become more and more outdated with the changing demands of users.
However, some systems are difficult to replace, especially those that manage the crucial business process within the company. These legacy systems, therefore, require modernization.
What are Legacy Applications?
As defined by Gartner, a legacy application is “an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.” Legacy applications run on an obsolete mainframe for core business operations such as processing high-volume data. These systems are fine-tuned over the years and adapted to deliver specific functionality.
Modernizing legacy applications is not always done because of their age. It might be due to the lack of support or its inability to meet the needs of the business or organization or due to its outdated architecture, underlying technology, or design.
Why Should Businesses Modernize Legacy Applications?
Legacy technology can be a major barrier to digital transformation. Among the CIOs surveyed by Logicalis, more than half need to dedicate anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of their time to managing their legacy IT instead of putting that energy into strategic activities.
To stay competitive in modern business and protect applications from crashes, modernization is important. Here are a few other reasons:
- Easy connections and storage of large amounts of data and data sources generated in today’s digital business landscape
- Keeping up with the changing user expectations, especially in terms of the customer experience
- Always meeting the availability requirements of the digital world
- Providing applications with greater flexibility, agility, and scalability
There are quite a lot of reasons to modernize your legacy systems, such as:
- The cost of running legacy software is quite huge
- Just like the software itself, the underlying infrastructure becomes harder and more expensive to maintain with time
- A dedicated staff of developers supporting and maintaining these legacy applications is a large expense
- Another aspect of legacy systems that comes at a high cost is integration and compliance
- Legacy systems are usually less resistant to cyberattacks, harmful programs, and malware
- By investing in legacy software support and maintenance, a company can incur a loss in business opportunity as it leaves the enterprise with very little room for innovations
Replacing legacy systems and applications with new and upgraded technologies is one of the most challenging tasks. Before companies dive into modernizing their legacy applications, enterprises must know the best practices to ensure compatibility with old systems and data formats that are still in use.
3 Best Practices for Application Modernization
When modernizing legacy systems, enterprises are looking to either replace or improve existing functionalities through a more simplified workflow. Hence it’s important to understand the source system, properly evaluate the business needs, and plan a goal, timelines, and vision for the modernization initiative.
Here is a 3-step guide to follow while implementing the application modernization journey.
#1. Define business goals, not IT goals.
Before starting with modernization, it’s important to define the goals and priorities of the business and how best you can address them. Consider the biggest issue and how technology can help you tackle the challenges.
#2. Plan the right approach
Planning the right approach requires dynamic thinking that supports DevOps principles, and enables application scalability. While there are many approaches to migrating your application, here is the 5-R strategy to follow for Application Modernization:
- Re-hosting: Moving your application’s underlying resources from an on-premise data center to the cloud as-is.
- Re-platforming: Re-platform your legacy application to take advantage of modern technologies, environments, and architectures without making a lot of changes to your application.
- Rearchitecting: Rethink your architecture to achieve your goals while reusing most or some of your existing application code.
- Rebuilding: Rewrite your application using cloud-native features.
- Replacing/Retain/Retire: Reassessing business requirements to replace retain or retire your legacy application.
It’s important to keep in mind that modernization strategies should be iterative. Different strategies can apply to different portions of applications. Companies can start with one approach, gain some benefits, and then continue to modernize using other approaches to ensure maximum benefit.
#3. Be cloud-smart rather than cloud-first!
Instead of migrating all the applications to the cloud, analyze the workload first, and prioritize the ones that need to be moved. Understand the interdependency of each application and how it performs under the current pattern of the workload. Get a clear baseline on how they relate to the critical business KPIs. Some might be required to support the complex and long-term efforts, others require more planning. Before migrating consider keeping data in an on-premises data center that can be accessed via an API.
The time to evolve your application is now!
InApp believes that modernizing applications is not a one-time event but an ongoing evolution. Our experts help enterprises to map out a perfect strategy that meets their business demands. We work with you to create a migration plan that will improve your service levels, fit your budget, and help you create market differentiation.
Why Modernize Legacy Application?
It is slow and cumbersome
If your app lacks speed, like once tapped it takes ages to open the next screen or the app crashes frequently, it’s time to modernize your app This is mainly because your app is old or outdated. This can be improved by upgrading the app to improve performance and efficiency.
It looks outdated
If your app is not in line with the latest UI/UX design trends, it will look old-fashioned. This way you may potentially lose a lot of your users. For instance, if didn’t upgrade your Android app to run with a target API level of 26/27 (Android 8.1), your app will be the same as a dinosaur.
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It’s operation and maintenance cost is high
When the cost of maintaining the app’s status exceeds, it’s time to opt for application modernization. Completely revamping an app may sound costly in the start, but the overall efficiency gains will decrease your cost going forward. And efficiency is very important – because greater efficiency results in higher revenue for your organization.
Your web app is not mobile-friendly
This is one of many reasons to modernize legacy applications. When your app has an ‘on-the-go’ version, more people will use it. Plus, the neatly done UI/UX design will only attract potential users to your app. A decent increase in your overall user base means good revenue. So, if your e-commerce web app has no mobile version, maybe it’s time to go mobile.
It’s user-engagement level is decreasing
If your users are leaving which means something is not right with your current app. They may be having problems with navigation, looks, or performance. It may be your constant marketing pop-ups or complex navigation. It could be anything. So, find the problem and fix it.
If you are ready to modernize your app and upgrade your overall revenue, you can get in touch with InApp for the best custom software development services. Our application modernization services include:
- Scalability Enhancement
- Usability Enhancement
- UI/UX Design Support
- Security Enhancement
- Reliability Improvement
- New Function Addition
The Best Approach to Legacy System Modernization
Most IT experts recognize six primary approaches to application modernization. These include:
- Encapsulation: Integrating the primary legacy component into a modern platform to improve UX
- Rearchitecting: Changing and improving the legacy code structure to modern application architecture
- Rebuilding: Implementing custom software development to meet a business’s specific needs
- Refactoring: Improving a system’s existing code without changing its external processes
- Rehosting: Moving the existing software to a new virtual environment, such as cloud infrastructure
- Replatforming: Transitioning the entire system, including its data, to a new runtime platform
Each of these legacy modernization approaches has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, rearchitecting can improve software functionality, but it involves a highly technical process and may disrupt the company’s workflow.
Recommendations When Starting a Modernization Journey
Starting the journey of legacy modernization can feel overwhelming at first, which is why many businesses put off the legacy modernization process as long as possible. However, this transition can be quick and seamless if companies plan strategically before beginning their legacy system modernization process.
Here are a few recommendations to consider before updating legacy systems:
- Analyze existing systems objectively: Before businesses can adequately modernize legacy systems, they need to determine what problems within their old systems need addressing.
- View modernization as continual improvement: Successful legacy system modernization doesn’t typically have a start and end date. Instead, it is a process that continues as businesses attempt to stay modern with ever-changing technology advancements and business trends. Businesses should view modernization as a business model, not a one-and-done event.
- Choose a system with new practices, not just a new release date: The most modern IT software isn’t the one that came out today—it’s the one that uses the most advanced processes and modern interface. When looking for a new system for legacy transformation, businesses should analyze software tools and systems over release updates.
- Partner with the right modernization business: At InApp, we have helped dozens of companies across various industries implement a strategic legacy modernization approach. Partnering with our team can ensure that a business’s new system benefits its business processes without sacrificing the value of the legacy application.
Working with an experienced IT consultancy firm is the most important step a business can take when beginning its modernization journey.