Legacy applications are designed according to the business needs of a bygone era and rely on use cases and rules that were designed according to the technology present in an outdated business model. Several leading enterprises still rely on legacy applications for critical processes, highlighting a pressing need for modern systems that are more reliable in terms of security, accessibility, and scalability.
Legacy systems are prone to obsolescence and operational and financial risks, such as:
- A rapidly shrinking pool of expertise in legacy technologies and languages
- Monolithic architectures combined with tightly coupled code that makes incremental upgrades nearly impossible
- Obsolete software and hardware that is no longer supported by other aspects of the system, hence creating a single point of failure
- Creation of data silos due to the lack of open standards and integration capabilities
- Continuously rising operation and maintenance costs, resulting in vast financial outlay
- Operational failure and application instability due to several accumulated fixes, patches, and updates
Legacy software applications can be modernized through an efficient strategy that takes into consideration the current condition of the legacy software, the state of the market, and the broader business context. Software application modernization services must support:
- Integration, interoperability, and data exchange through microservices and APIs
- Multi-channel client experience
- Connected products and smart devices
- Data capture & analytics for swift decision support systems
- Scaling for security, mass market, and privacy
In the context of modernization, the numerous dimensions of legacy challenges must be highlighted along with the need for a comprehensive modernization strategy. The legacy burden of modernization varies based on the software system as well as on how the space that it caters to is being disrupted. The nature of the legacy burden also varies from a technology and solution perspective.
Before modernization can take place, legacy systems, current technologies, market conditions, and the state of the software—including technical debt, application architecture, and obsolescence—must be analyzed exhaustively. Based on this analysis, businesses can identify priorities and formulate a strategy to achieve their modernization goals.
Some of the typical pain points encountered when dealing with legacy applications are:
- Lack of scalability and flexibility because of rigid architecture
- Laborious integration with modern IT architecture
- High technology debt
- Lack of platform support
- High maintenance costs
- Shrinking expertise
The success of any modernization initiative depends on strategic planning, disciplined execution, risk mitigation, and rigorous monitoring. Some of the best execution strategies include the following points:
- Right skill and capacity buildup
- Addressing architectural changes early on
- Low-risk pilots for testing validity
- Focus on incremental value delivery
- Robust migration strategy for all functionally-critical components
Many large companies are not able to handle modernization due to the pressure of their current business needs. Management teams tend to procrastinate modernization through a ‘let’s deal with it later’ approach, which often leads to disastrous business consequences. With the correct application modernization approach, companies will be able to modernize legacy systems swiftly and at scale.