Companies must create memorable customer experiences, demonstrate innovation, and be flexible to the ever-changing market conditions to succeed in today’s business environment. It is critical to embrace cloud technologies to achieve these high levels of scalability and agility while reducing existing and future technical debt.
Migrating to the cloud is only one aspect of modernizing a business’s apps. Modernizing your business application is a must. An application modernization refers to updating legacy apps to suit new platforms, internal structures, and features.
App modernization aims to build a more agile, adaptable, and resilient application environment.
It’s a shift from tightly-coupled systems with numerous dependencies to loosely-coupled ones that enhance application scalability, resilience, flexibility, and operational efficiency. App modernization aims to build a more agile, adaptable, and resilient application environment.
However, moving and managing complicated monolithic applications to a public cloud service provider isn’t the same as transforming your firm into a modern enterprise.
Migrating to the cloud can help expedite innovation, but they’re just relocating workloads if companies don’t develop cloud-native apps. Therefore, companies must strive to become cloud-native technologies to take full advantage of the cloud and be modern businesses.
App modernization refers to upgrading existing apps for new computing platforms, including newer languages, architecture, and infrastructure technologies. This is sometimes known as legacy modernization or legacy app modernization.
It’s the equivalent of updating an ancient home to take benefit of improvements in terms of efficiency, safety, structural integrity, and so on. Instead of replacing an existing system completely, legacy modernization extends the life of business applications while also taking advantage of tech advancements.
Why Is Migration to the Cloud Important for Application Modernization?
Migrating to the cloud is one of the most important ways to improve business agility, velocity, and scale. When companies use cloud infrastructure, they gain more productivity and efficiency from their employee. The cloud infrastructure enables companies to digitally change their business and rebuild their applications in modern architecture.
When a firm moves to the cloud, it shouldn’t be considered the end of its modernization process. A cloud is a tool for modernizing an organization. If a company truly wants to modernize its application environment, it must also modify its culture and processes to create high-performing software development.
Legacy Modernization Trends
Multi and hybrid cloud are two of the most significant legacy app modernization trends. Multi-cloud is a term used to describe two or more public cloud services for cost reduction, flexibility, availability, and other concerns.
A hybrid cloud combines public and private cloud services and on-premises equipment, with usual interoperability between them. Software teams can modernize their existing apps to work more effectively with these new distributed computing paradigms rather than start from scratch.
Thus, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are two of the most important drivers for legacy application modernization strategy. The IT sector’s embrace of containers and orchestration for packaging, deploying, and managing applications and workloads is another example of this digital transformation.
Containers are also the best option for a decoupled approach to development and operations, particularly microservices architecture.
Key Technologies for Application Modernization
There are several intersecting technologies involved in app modernization. The following are the key ones:
- Cloud computing: When people talk about app modernization, they usually move existing apps to cloud environments. This includes public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds (usually imply public or private clouds linked with on-premises environments).
- Containers: Containers are a cloud-native approach for packaging, deploying, and running apps and workloads. The broad impacts of containerization include higher scalability, mobility, and operational efficiency that are well-suited to cloud infrastructure, particularly multi-cloud and hybrid cloud settings.
- Microservices: This is more of an architectural choice than anything else. Instead of developing and maintaining an application as a single, you decouple distinct components into smaller, independent parts that can be deployed, updated, and managed independently.
- Orchestration and Automation: In software development, orchestration generally refers to automating many operational procedures associated with containers, such as deployment, scaling, and networking. Automation is an essential concept and technology for ensuring that development, operations, and security teams maintain their modern apps at scale.
The first step in developing a successful legacy app modernization strategy is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of business applications.
Legacy Modernization Strategies
The first step in developing a successful legacy app modernization strategy is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of business applications. This analysis should cover the app’s technical characteristics, its adaptability for cloud migration or similar change, the return on investment of such a modernization, and other factors.
Another important app modernization approach is for businesses to create a long-term app modernization plan to manage their resources successfully. Rather than attempting to perform everything at once, most businesses would benefit from a step-by-step approach to app modernization.
This may assist companies in managing the performance and availability of their existing business applications while also doing the transition work.
Five Questions for Businesses to Consider Before Moving Forward With the App Modernization Journey
The first step in deciding whether to modernize a legacy application is to take a step back and figure out what the legacy application is trying to accomplish and how effectively it does so.
The following are the five questions to consider before planning the app modernization journey:
- What are the major strengths of your legacy application?
- What legacy app modernization approaches would you use?
- What are your goals in the enterprise app modernization procedure?
- How will you accomplish these goals in light of technological change?
- What are the next steps for legacy modernization in your company?
The above questions may assist your business in avoiding common problems that come with legacy application modernization, such as a lack of understanding of why it is necessary to replace the old system.
The 7-Step Legacy Apps Modernization Strategy
To choose the right app modernization approach for your company, you need to go through each of these seven steps:
Step 1: Evaluate Existing Systems Based on Six Drivers
There are six key drivers for app modernization. These are the issues, concerns, or roadblocks that have resulted from the legacy application’s technology or functionality. Three of these drivers come from business fit, value, and agility.
If the old application is not living up to the new demands of digital business, it must be updated to meet them properly and should be upgraded to offer improved value. Applications that can’t keep up with the changing expectations of digital business may be a liability or risk.
The three other drivers are IT-based, with cost, complexity, and risk as concerns. It’s time to modernize if the technology, security, compliance, support, or scalability are prohibitively expensive, too complex for the business to manage effectively, or jeopardized. The greatest modernizing possibilities appeal to a variety of business and IT sources.
Step 2: Define the Problems
If the old system isn’t working for today’s needs, it’s time to fine-tune the issues. What is it about the current situation causing users (customers or employees) to have issues? Choose the relevant and specific user stories.
However, it’s also critical to identify what legacy software components function effectively in this method. Understanding what works perfectly and what doesn’t is essential in selecting the best strategy for modernization.
Step 3: Evaluate the Need for Modernization
Look at modernization options once you’ve chosen the opportunity and discovered the problem. Gartner has rated seven options based on the simplicity of implementation, with the most favorable being the most straightforward to implement.
- Encapsulate: Encapsulate the data and functions of an existing application, making them available as services via an API to extend and enhance its capabilities.
- Re-host: You can deploy an application component to other infrastructure (physical, virtual, or cloud) without changing its code, features, or functions.
- Re-platform: Migrate to a different runtime platform with little modifications to the code while keeping the architecture, features, and functions.
- Refactor: To improve nonfunctional aspects and remove technical debt, restructure and optimize the existing code (though not its external behavior).
- Rearchitect: Transform existing software into a new application architecture with different capabilities and code.
- Rebuild: Redesign or rewrite the application component from the ground up while keeping its scope and specifications.
- Replace: Change the old application component entirely and consider new requirements and demands.
Step 4: Choose the Application Modernization Approach
To make an effective decision, you may consider each of the alternatives in terms of their:
- Cost (modernization and continued operational)
The importance will determine each approach’s weight for each company. Still, competition and shifting consumer demands are also important aspects to consider when determining the value of each modernization technique.
Thus, to evaluate each alternative based on its features, you need to consider the importance of scalability and flexibility in making a decision.
Step 5: Prepare for Future Development and Changes
Organizations are not isolated from the outside world: they are continually affected by consumers, the competitive market, the economic climate, and technological developments. The average software application is expected to endure for six to eight years.
Legacy software is typically monolithic in design, forcing businesses to maintain outdated apps. Today’s technological environment necessitates more agility to introduce new features and scale. Choosing the appropriate modernization strategy is all about finding the most adaptable.
On the other hand, an encapsulated application may connect to other microservices, but it still has the same restrictions as its existing codebase. However, software that has been re-engineered or rearchitected has a much higher probability of meeting future core business systems needs.
Step 6: Do Your Research to Find the Best Modernization Partner
Many businesses are not consistently developing or upgrading applications; it is not their main priority. In most companies, internal teams may not have the necessary skills for the “new” environment.
As a result, they will require training even to utilize a new system – making it exceedingly improbable that there would be enough internal resources to make all the required decisions regarding modernization approach, cloud usage, and microservice support.
Instead, many businesses outsource their application modernization efforts to a known software provider. Look for an IT consultancy specializing in digital transformation, has experience re-engineering tech, systems, and processes after various modernization methods, and is equipped to lead the organization through future changes.
Look for an IT company that uses Agile and DevOps methods to help you get the most out of your modernization project’s time frame.
Step 7: Observe and Optimize
It’s critical to keep testing and optimizing changes and improvements to the application and ensure no hiccups in the transition from software licenses, hosting, or connectivity to other databases once a project is underway.
To maintain the application ahead of the curve, plan for future upgrading projects to guarantee it stays up with changing demands.
The Benefits of Application Modernization
1. It Is Easy to Create New Features and Services
Every business owner’s first concern when choosing software for the company is that it should meet their company’s demands without considering its features.
However, businesses are always ready to adapt and adopt new technologies and trends. But, when an old legacy system becomes obsolete, it’s difficult for companies to satisfy the demands of contemporary consumers.
You can use modernization to create new features in line with current business demands and goals. Furthermore, you may modify these features to ensure that your business app continues to provide value.
2. Improves Employee/Developer Productivity
Everyone wishes to progress with the most up-to-date technology in this digital age. However, if your employees continue to use out-of-date software or tech, their satisfaction level will drop, which will have a negative effect on their productivity.
But if your developers and administrative staff are familiar with current technologies, they may be more productive than before. When one must work on the same thing repeatedly, they become frustrated. So also, when a firm expands, it hires new employees.
Thus, educating them about utilizing an outdated IT system is time-consuming and expensive. However, modern tech may help automate time-consuming and repetitive operations while also being simple to educate new employees.
3. Get Rid of Technical Debt
Technical debts begin to rise when companies are unwilling to modernize their old applications. The outdated system has several issues, such as bugs, application maintenance costs, and lack of scalability.
Furthermore, because the legacy system is composed of numerous interrelated parts, you can not repair it without causing harm to other elements. It is both time-consuming and costly to maintain.
However, as per certain market specialists, upgrading the antiquated system can help businesses reduce operational expenses by up to 13%. They also have the potential to increase their yearly income by more than 14%.
4. Enhances Customer Experience
Many firms provide the same types of services and goods. So, what distinguishes your business or brand in such a competitive market? According to statistics, 70-75% of consumers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience. Thus, there is a possibility that a positive client experience is just as essential as price.
However, outdated legacy systems are a detriment to customer support. Hence, addressing these needs with a quick and efficient tech is quite challenging. On the other hand, you may use the cloud in today’s applications. It is simple to retrieve all sensitive data and information as soon as required. Users will have no trouble navigating your system after application modernization.
5. Security Enhancement
There are many security checks in existing apps to monitor and update as needed in light of new cyber threats. However, failing to plan for a cybersecurity strategy may result in a cyber-attack that might result in the loss of your client and sensitive data.
However, cloud-native applications provide advanced security features that are both time and cost-effective. As a result, you won’t have to put out as much effort as you would with legacy applications.
6. Helps to Boost Revenue Streams
Businesses may improve their revenue streams by updating their technologies. When businesses choose to grow, they may add new features or procedures that will enhance the value of their consumers’ needs.
Unfortunately, legacy systems aren’t as adaptable as contemporary programs. This makes it difficult to generate a profit. All firms must embrace new procedures to succeed in this competitive business environment.
You may add new features or capabilities to application modernization to provide a better customer experience and higher revenue. Consumers pleased with their purchases are more inclined to recommend a firm that generates more leads for the company.
Why Is It Necessary for Businesses to Modernize Their Applications?
Most businesses have a lot of money invested in their current application portfolio from a financial and operational perspective. While the word “legacy” has a negative impression on software at times, these pre-existing applications are frequently among a company’s most critical applications.
The challenges are so serious that only a few businesses are willing or able just to shut them down and start from scratch; the financial, productivity, and other drawbacks are also enormous. As a result, application modernization is the most effective approach for businesses to utilize modern software platforms, tools, architectures, libraries, and frameworks.
Conclusion: How Application Modernization May Improve Your Business
Many businesses have already made significant progress toward digital transformation, but the legacy system remains a stumbling block to many of them. Most legacy system modernization projects fail to be completed due to a lack of clarity or a rushed discovery phase.
However, t may be difficult to transform your IT architecture and traditional applications to create a more agile organization. This is more reason you need a trustworthy partner with significant expertise to assist you in successfully executing your business transformation.