How to Modernise Legacy Applications: The 7 Step Modernising Process

June 3, 2022

Businesses are confronted with challenges in today’s ever-changing market conditions. Employee expectations are shifting the corporate culture, but consumer demands are wreaking havoc on several other areas. One thing that does not change is the need to digitise business processes.

legacy modernization options

This is more reason digital transformation is in full swing across industries and businesses. However, many organizations are developing new technologies to meet the current business needs, but aging legacy systems fall short of meeting current customer expectations. They are exacerbating the difficulties, and they have become one of the primary reasons companies fall behind the competition.

However, legacy application modernization is one approach to bridge the gap. But to what extent and how does this aid businesses? Most importantly, how can you pursue legacy application modernization, and what measures should you take? Here, you’ll find the solutions you need.

What Is a Legacy System?

A legacy system is a computer system that is still running on older software or hardware. It is adequate to meet the initial demands and goals. Banking, background checking systems, and antiquated retail systems are just a few examples of legacy application software.

A legacy system cannot adapt because it makes using contemporary technology solutions impossible. Legacy systems no longer have the resources needed to operate effectively. The best way is to replace them.

modernize legacy systems

Companies that are still using outdated technologies should start looking for effective operational tools and modern technologies right away; otherwise, they risk disruption in the future. Legacy modernisation is a process-improvement innovation that companies may use. It’s a strategy that can help organisations get ahead of their competition.

When organisations become trapped with legacy technology that cannot communicate with up-to-date solutions, they understand it’s time to replace their legacy system.

There are several possible reasons to modernise your system:

  • Handle tech constraints
  • Obtain operational efficiencies
  • Integration with current technologies
  • Improve user experience

When organisations become trapped with legacy technology that cannot communicate with up-to-date solutions, they understand it’s time to replace their legacy system. A software modernisation process aims to assist companies in achieving their stated corporate goals.

It should begin with evaluating the time it will take to update the application and hardware. Another critical step is planning, which entails predicting and avoiding potential risks. System modernisation entails enhancing performance and applying cutting-edge technology ideas.

The Negative Impact of Legacy Systems on Business

Maintaining existing applications is both time-consuming and costly. Not all current technologies are appropriate for them. Inability to comply with present technologies might impede business growth. It’s virtually guaranteed that upgrading old systems will cost you money, and maintaining them may be more costly.

existing code

Experts like Deloitte describe legacy system modernisation as one of the most challenging projects for many organisations. It is time-consuming and expensive to keep up with outdated software programs and hardware. More than half of all CIOs (55 percent) waste almost 60% of their time on antiquated legacy technologies.

Logicalis also states in the same report that businesses should devote more time to developing and implementing modernised technology strategies. According to industry experts, applications should be updated every five years. However, the following are some of the factors that businesses encounter when they use legacy systems:

Compatibility Issues

Most new software is incompatible with existing technology. It’s not always easy to incorporate legacy applications into a new system. Many IT organisations struggle to adapt current solutions to existing ones while preserving important business procedures. The following are the three potential solutions:

  • Remain satisfied with your legacy system, but you risk losing long-term clients
  • Introduce innovative program solutions without discarding existing old methods (employees will find it challenging to sync data and working processes)
  • Upgrade your legacy system to newer versions

The third one is the most preferred. It will help if you do not put it off any longer.

Flexibility Is Limited

It’s tough for companies that use legacy systems to deal with the intricacies of an evolving industry. Businesses require new solutions that can change with technological progress and advances.

Functionality Issues

Legacy application means outdated features. Customers want software firms with a track record of offering cutting-edge features and modernising solutions to help them save time and money. For example, a Comair airline software failure cost them approximately $19 million and nearly destroyed the company’s reputation.

Security Vulnerabilities

Don’t assume that because technology improves, hackers are slowing down. These intruders stay up to date on the latest developments in their field and know how to hack secure data.

modern technology

Legacy technologies are touchy and extremely prone to cyber assaults. It’s due to a variety of mistakes. Every time a fix is released, new security concerns emerge. Therefore software should be updated regularly and carefully.

Employee Demotivation

It’s difficult to keep workers motivated by offering them antiquated technology solutions. Who would want to deal with everyday bugs, lengthy load times, and data stored in numerous locations? Hiring and retaining employees becomes more difficult when a company’s application systems and hardware are outdated.

Drop-in Productivity

The majority of the factors mentioned above result in low productivity. One of the quickest techniques to enhance productivity is a legacy system upgrade.

Low-Quality Customer Service

Clients of any business want to receive responsive, high-quality assistance. Many users prefer to use their mobile phones for business transactions, and older technology is not mobile-friendly. As a result, companies that do not optimise their websites for mobile or provide adequate support will lose most of their loyal customers.

What Is Application Modernisation?

Application modernisation entails the continual development of existing applications into a new application or platform, which may include more distinct languages, approaches, libraries, frameworks, tools, architecture, and infrastructure.

There are many terms to describe modernising an existing application to be compatible with newer technologies, including re-platforming, rehosting, recoding, rearchitecting, re-engineering, interoperability, and so on.

evaluate legacy systems

App leaders are searching for a holistic modernisation approach to eliminating low-use apps, replacing SaaS applications, moving to the cloud, refactoring, optimising with cloud PaaS or containers, or rebuilding with cloud-native architectures.

With the popularity of low code approaches, many businesses are extending or rebuilding their existing LOB applications with cloud-based low-code solutions. The following are some of the examples of app modernization architecture, tools, and technologies:

  • Cloud-native computing: It is migrating legacy applications to run in contemporary cloud systems. Even though it does not remove the requirement for a server, it passes on software code from the cloud service provider.
  • Containers and Kubernetes: It’s a cloud-based approach for packaging, deploying, and running apps and workloads. It allows for the design of modular, scalable, and consistent applications well-suited for cloud infrastructures, such as multi-cloud and hybrid cloud scenarios.
  • Monolith to microservices: The idea is to break the application into several smaller connected services. Each service is focused on a distinct goal, such as payment processing or authentication and notification. Each microservice is a self-contained component with a codebase, infrastructure, and database.

Legacy Application Modernisation: When Is the Best Time to Do It?

Before determining the right way of modernising legacy applications, let’s look at when is the best time for this procedure:

The System Frequently Generates Problems

If your software becomes unstable and unable to manage the volume of activity, it’s time to upgrade. Frequent system failures suggest that the technological basis on which it is built is insufficient to withstand the strain.

Inadequate Opportunity for Development

If you find yourself standing still and unable to advance, consider what you might modify to get moving again in small steps. If you’ve come across such a problem in your business, it’s surely time to update legacy software.

The System Can No Longer Be Maintained

It’s time to modernise your system if it’s gathering dust on the shelf. Do not overlook the opportunity to keep the software up to date when it is feasible. You’ll acquire a new system that incorporates the ideas and capabilities already implemented in your firm if you upgrade it.

Poor Integration With Current Technologies

It’s time to update your system if it supports a variety of solutions to complete various goals and you find that one particular solution does not function well with them. By performing this, you’ll be able to get all of your organisation’s critical software up and running.

It Is Impossible to Close New Business Processes

As previously said, your legacy application will not be able to adapt to the new procedures in your firm. If you have new processes in your organisation or are considering implementing them, it’s time to consider legacy application modernisation.

Legacy Application Modernisation: How to Choose the Right Strategy?

How can you successfully modernise old applications? The answer is straightforward. Choose the appropriate approach. The following is how to accomplish this in detail:


To determine the most appropriate way to modernise a legacy application, you must consider the architecture of an existing application. The architecture of an application must be well-engineered for it to function properly. The architecture will be designed around the application’s logical operation and how navigation will function effectively.

Current and Future Risks

It’s also essential to consider the risks. The possibility of failure exists in any process that is new to you. As a result, you must consider the benefits and drawbacks. To minimise all possible risks, you must develop a strategy for moving that will work. Always keep in my that a plan is a key to success. Include all the business challenges that may occur during the modernisation process and possible solutions in this plan.

Current Processes and Plans

For your strategy to be successful and correct, you must first evaluate all of your current business processes and determine what modernization you’ll have to make in the existing application so that it may handle the activities at your company. Also, note that if you’re looking to introduce new processes into your business, this should be factored into your decision.

Data Security

Data security should be a must-have in any effective legacy application modernisation strategy. Today, there are more and more data leaks or system hacking occurrences. As a result, you must plan on how to safeguard your up-to-date application from fraudsters. Now, there is a plethora of cutting-edge technology available on the market to secure personal and business data.

Financial Opportunities

Also, you must plan your budget carefully if you want to implement a successful plan. To begin, set aside a certain amount for the entire legacy application modernisation process and each sub-process. This is quite essential to avoid stopping halfway. If you establish financial limitations, you’ll be able to achieve your goals more simply and swiftly.

The 7 Step Modernising Process

This type of assessment examines the dimensions that would be affected if you were to migrate a particular app to the cloud. Each step reveals crucial information that will assist your business in determining the best migration path for each application.

However, the following are the seven areas to examine before starting your application modernisation process:

1. Analyse Your Objectives

What are the company’s major business goals? What is the estimated time of completion? Who are the stakeholders? What are the specific areas of your business that could be impacted? You must implement an app modernisation plan to have metrics in place that can assist you in establishing business goals and objectives.

code structure

To establish your baseline, you should keep track of developer time, develop a help desk ticketing system, and document recurring manual activities. You won’t be able to comprehend your goals if you don’t have a baseline.

Do you want to boost your income or productivity? Reduce some certain costs? What are your end goals, and what metrics will you use to evaluate your progress? Here, a business analyst should be consulted to guarantee that these are properly addressed.

2. Plan Your Migration Path

There are many ways to go for each app. You’ll have to decide which is the ideal option for the app you intend to modernise. However, depending on the needs of your legacy modernisation project, you may need to:

  • Re-hosted
  • Re-platformed
  • Repurchased
  • Refactored
  • Retained
  • Retired

You’ll have to choose which path is ideal for your application modernisation approach and what that route will look like.

3. Assess Your Level of Experience

What is the staff’s existing expertise with this migration process, tools, and operating models? Is there a way to bridge the gap if one exists? This could necessitate training techniques for the employee to become comfortable using new technologies or consulting services to help supplement internal resources.

4. Determine the Landing Zone

How might legacy application modernisation affect licensing, connectivity, architecture, configuration, and DC (Disaster Recovery), as they currently exist?

5. Examine Your Application

What apps are being looked at for modernisation? However, to examine an application for modernisation, there are several factors to consider:

  • Prioritization: What are the levels of importance? How does each application match up with a priority category?
  • Dependency mapping: What are the app’s intended uses, processes, and automation?
  • Performance analysis: What are the app’s server requirements and usage?
  • Data discovery: What sort of data structures does the application require to function?
  • Maintenance: What will future functionality improvements and future support requirements of the application?

6. Security and Regulatory Compliance

There are always security concerns to consider when software is updated. How will you manage these concerns when they have been modernised? Every organisation has its security structure that must be followed and reported on for compliance, among other reasons.

modern cloud environment

Software developers must evaluate different ways to safeguard their apps without an operating system. Modernisation projects utilising container technologies generally include two types of security testing in each deployed container: Dynamic application security testing (DAST) and static application security testing (SAST).

This enables developers to scan containers for security updates, out-of-date versions, and known vulnerabilities while they’re still in development and when they enter production. If a virtual host is unavailable, these security measures are incorporated into the application itself, allowing for automated node recovery and updating.

7. Consider Your Business Operating Model

What are you planning to do, and how will patching, backup, asset management, and system configuration changes be handled in the future? Compliance with the new paradigm may necessitate the introduction of a new framework.

These should not be overlooked before getting started with the application modernisation process. However, if you’re considering beginning this process but are anxious about it, remember that app modernisation does not require you to complete everything at once when updating your existing code.

Finding the appropriate IT partner to help you or manage the entire process will guarantee that your technology investments get the most bang for their buck.

Why Modernise Legacy Applications?

In today’s world of cutting-edge technologies like AI, IoT, Cloud, and others are revolutionising the world, having legacy systems eliminates the potential for firms to stand out.

Legacy system modernisation is the preferred approach for most firms confronted with difficulties. Among the most common drivers for modernising an existing system are to gain functionality, improve operational efficiency, enhance decision-making capabilities, etc.

However, there’s more to the story. The following are ways legacy system modernisation can benefit businesses:

Increase the Value of a Business

In today’s world of cutting-edge technologies like AI, IoT, Cloud, and others are revolutionising the world, having legacy systems eliminates the potential for firms to stand out.

new platform

These technologies have been verified to provide significant value to businesses and assist in developing a strong IT infrastructure that increases value. It also establishes a level of confidence among the intended consumers.

Global Visibility Combined With Unrivaled Security

Upgrading to a more advanced IT infrastructure can give you a competitive advantage and make your IT systems more secure for each: employee and client. These systems are regulated by contemporary security ideas and follow them, therefore assisting you in ensuring that critical data is secure.

Real-Time Data to Help You Make Better Decisions

Data has become increasingly important in the business world. It aids in analysing the market, competition, and customers by providing insights into the industry and common driving forces when used during the decision-making process. Stakeholders may utilise real-time data to make business decisions and modify strategies to achieve the greatest results.

Reduces the Possibility of Human Errors

Automation is an important feature of advanced systems. Modernised systems help you eliminate human involvement to the greatest extent possible, allowing for fewer errors and inefficiencies, thus lowering your expenses.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Cutting-edge technologies like AI, AR, VR, and digital transformation are all used to improve the customer experience.

new runtime platform

You can better comprehend consumer behavior and use systems such as AI-powered chatbots, product recommendation engines, and other technologies to make customer interaction with your business more intuitive.

Stay Compliant

Businesses must stay up to date on regulations and remain compliant, regardless of how often compliance and rules change. Even the smallest fault might result in significant legal issues, costing more than simply money.

staying compliant on application architecture

The compliance applies equally to all industries. If you serve a worldwide clientele, you must guarantee that you satisfy the legal requirements of each location. As a result, upgrading your legacy systems to meet each regulation can assist you in staying compliant while saving money and reputation.

Create New Revenue Streams

Every business’s ultimate goal and objective is to create products or services that generate money. Not only is a significant portion of your money spent maintaining these legacy systems, but you are also restricted to a certain area since you can’t use traditional technologies to access prospective markets.

This Is the Time to Modernise Your Legacy Systems

In this current economy, organisations and their technology must be more agile, more effective, and more scalable. Over the last two years, numerous lockdowns have compelled enterprises to transition operations to digital. All systems must now be compatible with the most up-to-date software and a wide range of tools since you have no idea of what you’ll need next.

legacy component

Adopting an omnichannel business model in retail entails that data be readily accessible and up to date across all systems and channels. On the other hand, clients are exceptionally picky in terms of high-quality user experience. Businesses that succeed in meeting these expectations earn customer loyalty.

Also, with the new security holes emerging regularly, databases and programs should be kept up to date with the most recent security precautions and closely monitored.

This Is the Time to Modernise Your Legacy Systems

Sticking with legacy systems software makes your company a serious disservice in terms of productivity and development potential.

legacy modernization options

By modernising it, you’ll be able to keep up with the most recent technological developments and offer your company new development possibilities while saving money, process optimization, and revenue.

About the author: Joe Silk -

Joseph is a Start-up Consultant, Copywriter & Business Owner with 9 years of PQE. He is extremely client-centric, able to work on a wide range of topics and deliver high-quality standards on projects of all sizes for clients all over the world. View on Linkedin