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The Right Way to Transition from a Legacy Platform to a Modern Application

Rajesh Prakasam

May 24, 2022

Digital transformation is so much more than a buzzword, even though the tech industry often uses it as such. From blog posts to services promising to digitalize your applications, digital transformation is everywhere.

Even though digital transformation is all the rage, it would be ill-advised to allow the hype surrounding it to overshadow the importance of actual implementation. Transforming existing products and processes to attract and retain more customers is one of the main selling points of digital transformation, as well as driving growth and staying competitive in your industry.

As we make our way through 2022, we can safely say that thousands of organizations, more than half, have excited their usage of digital technologies. This acceptance of digitalization transforms legacy platforms into applications that optimize the customer experience, fuel employee productivity, and solidify business resiliency.

Your digital modernization should include updating legacy systems and processes to infuse greater intelligence (both human and AI) across your business while increasing workflow efficiencies. It begins with the update of your legacy systems.

What Defines a Legacy System?

If you’re here, you probably know what constitutes a legacy system, but just in case, we’ll cover it briefly. In short, a legacy system is any older software, method, language, or technology that your organization relies on to stay up and running.

You can continue to use legacy systems and allow them to be an integral part of your institution. Still, they come with challenges if the out-of-date technology impedes your business’s fit, agility, or value. When legacy systems become an issue for IT in the form of complexity, risk, or cost, many business owners turn to the transition to a modern application.

You can spot a legacy system from a mile away when they begin to introduce the following challenges:

Technology is changing rapidly, along with market dynamics and the need for organizational change, which often ends with updating or eliminating old legacy systems. If you’re struggling with your legacy systems built on ancient architectures contributing to a lack of connectivity and low efficiency, it’s time to consider application modernization.

What Does Application Modernization Mean?

If you’re unclear on what application modernization entails, it’s the process of taking a legacy system and updating it to a modern platform infrastructure or architecture. Application modernization can go in many directions depending on the state of your legacy systems and the problems your organization faces. It also relies heavily on the business goals that currently drive your desire for digital transformation.

Application isn’t the act of simply replacing legacy systems. There are varying approaches to migrating, updating, and optimizing your legacy systems to turn them into modern, workable, relevant architecture. When you understand what drives your modernization, you can choose the right approach for each legacy update you conduct.

Why You Should Modernize Legacy Systems

Updating a legacy platform to a modern application stems from the fact that agility has always been an IT priority, and systems designed upward of five years ago probably can’t even attempt to embrace today’s technology changes. The business landscape, primarily in technology, is hugely competitive and shows zero signs of slowing down.

We understand that many legacy systems are critical for daily business operations, and this is why digital modernization is such a massive undertaking. However, IT managers and business executives have to study the cost of continuing to maintain a legacy system and compare it to the expenses of migrating to an updated application.

Decisions regarding legacy application updates have to reach beyond the cost. The importance of updating legacy systems and embracing cloud transformation is strategic, and the recent shifts in mindset show that businesses recognize the value of modern technology.

The main driver of digital transformation is meeting customer expectations, but the decision is more intricate than just that aspect. Employees are putting in more work to operate on outdated legacy applications, and it’s not uncommon for people to leave their jobs as a result. Organizations that prioritize digital transformation can increase revenue while decreasing internal costs. It starts with committing to the change.

Technologies to Modernize Your Applications

They say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This statement isn’t always true, and if you plan to tackle application modernization without professional help, you might be in for a big surprise and, worse, poor results. Regardless, when we talk about modernizing applications, it typically means that your company should take advantage of one or more of these technologies.

The Cloud

Replatforming legacy applications on the cloud is a typical component of the attempt to modernize or automate a workflow. The cloud offers a variety of options, including public, hybrid, and private, while boosting scalability, lower cost, and overall agility.

Containers

Containers are a packaging method for deploying and operating software units within the cloud, leading to data portability and scalability. Organizations will sometimes utilize Kubernetes as well, a container system that automates the processes within a container system.

Microservices

Most legacy platforms exist on a single-tier, self-contained, monolithic platform. A major playing factor in the modernization game is reaching company agility goals to work with the ever-evolving customer and employee needs. Many organizations employ microservices to emphasize linked services by API, allowing them to choose the best solutions to meet those changing expectations that they can scale as needed.

Orchestration and Automation

Workplace automation is becoming essential, primarily when it comes to redundant tasks. When executed correctly, automation can set up such processes to run on their own, while at the same time, orchestration automates multiple tasks and turns them into a workflow.

A Strategy to Modernize Your Legacy Systems

If you’re going to transition your legacy systems and embrace modern applications, you have to do it right.

Evaluate Current Legacy Systems

If you can determine that your legacy application does not meet the current needs of your business in a competitive landscape, you should modernize it. The more drivers to update that are present (not contributing to success, introducing risks, raising the cost of ownership), the greater the benefit of modernizing such applications.

Define Your Problems

When legacy systems no longer meet the IT needs, you have to define and refine them. Pinpoint the specific cause of the friction for users, both customers, and employees.

However, you should also be able to determine what aspects of your legacy software actually do work. You can decide which modernization approach you should implement when you know what works and what doesn’t, moving forward to evaluate and choose your application modernization options.

The Right Transformation for You

What works for one company may not work for another, and this rule applies to everything from marketing to digital upgrades. The right way to modernize your legacy systems is to choose which method flows with your company from varying perspectives. There’s no doubt that this type of transformation is a complex process, and it helps to have an experienced partner who can help you make your modernization venture a success.

By

Rajesh Prakasam

VP - Engineering

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