Enterprises weigh their application modernization options based on various factors, including complexity, risk, business need, timeframe, and cost. For any transformation exercise to be successful, strategic planning, risk mitigation, disciplined execution, and rigorous monitoring are essential.
It is important to anticipate the future use cases of any application according to emerging platforms and other technologies. Legacy software applications are a risky and expensive proposition, and there is increasing awareness about the multiple fallacies of legacy systems. Enterprises are looking more than ever before to modernize and transform their applications to meet their business needs. Businesses face challenges in supporting their existing client base and acquiring new customers due to legacy systems. Modernization is often vital for the growth of an organization—however, conflict always exists between business priorities in terms of short-term versus long-term goals.
Businesses should consider the following factors when designing and developing application modernization services strategies:
- Adoption of a modular approach for hassle-free maintenance and development
- Use of APIs for smooth interoperability and integrations
- Creation of an API layer for seamless communication
- A cloud-first, multi-tenant model
- Removal of monolithic blocks in favor of finer-grained components
- Focus on reuse
Changing industry needs, the rise of digital accelerating technologies like IoT and SMAC, and the increasing popularity of next-generation flexible application architectures and robust programming languages are few of the key drivers for modernization. Key business drivers include new business models and new opportunities to offer software-enabled solutions across diverse domains.
Whatever may be the nature of the challenges faced by businesses when undertaking application modernization, they must adopt a strategic and systematic approach to overcome them. The first step in any modernization exercise is to appraise and assess the technology landscape in order to:
- Identify current pain points
- Note the current and target states of the application/system
- Analyze the current performance of the application/system as well as its code
- Review relevant modernization options
- Assess the required resources
- Perform thorough impact analysis
- Frame strategies for risk mitigation
- Create a comprehensive modernization roadmap
Modernization enables the deployment of cutting-edge infrastructure with enhanced scalability, reliability, and availability. Modernization strategies are required for migrating to newer frameworks and languages in order to fully leverage IT/OT environments and maximize profitability.
Some of the typical constraints that prevent modernization efforts are:
- Presence of undocumented code
- Challenges in refactoring old code
- Lack of expertise in emerging technologies
- Focus on requirements of existing customers
An enterprise’s legacy burden can vary based on several factors, such as application architecture, programming languages used, and mode of deployment. Typically, legacy burdens can be summed up as:
- Software that is built using 3G/4G programming languages and is difficult to support
- Monolithic architectures that feature tight bonding between data, UI, and application logic, leaving them inflexible and averse to updates
- Deployed on-premises
- Designed to address narrow business problems in a particular domain
With the rapid advances in application development frameworks, it is advisable for companies to undertake legacy modernization as soon as possible. Whether they move towards a Cloud/SaaS model, reengineering for mobile, or a microservices architecture, modernization is vital and comes with proven benefits in the long term.