As businesses become increasingly reliant on digital and modern technologies like Metaverse, cloud computing, AI, IoT, and robotics, it’s more critical than ever for CIOs to harness modernization to remain relevant, competitive, and keep up with customer demand. This raised the need for a custom application modernization strategy to keep the application and IT landscape in tandem with the ongoing needs.
Today’s enterprises are on a whole new battlefield, facing fierce competition with cloud-native entrants challenging the market. The most agile organizations will be the most effective at keeping up against competitors.
Yet, according to a recent report from RedHat, 54% of organizations will be launching application modernization projects in 2022. This high number is partly fueled by the evolving market dynamics of a post-pandemic era.
However, modernization is not all smooth sailing and doesn’t happen overnight, and organizations are likely to quickly discover that what works for others may not work for them. In other words, the standard prescription of migrating everything to the cloud may not yield the desired results. Every business must have a customized legacy application modernization strategy to deliver unique value to their customers.
Here are the top challenges that hinder legacy application modernization.
- The cost that escalates beyond budgets
- Inability to integrate with legacy systems
- Lack of interoperability between multiple IT systems
- Wrong technology choice
- Lack of the right approach
What’s the best approach to modernizing legacy applications:
By far, there is no single and straight answer to this question. The reason is that no two businesses have similar challenges and goals.
If you are in an eCommerce business, handling many orders simultaneously and delivering an omnichannel experience could be your goal. For a bank or an insurance company, mobility, handling operations without downtime, and data security could be potential challenges. Therefore, there is no “one size fits all” approach to modernizing legacy applications.
At Amzur, we firmly believe that legacy application modernization strategies need to consider each enterprise’s unique IT environment and find the best path of changing technology to match the business goals.
Our legacy modernization approach starts with
Assessment of application landscape:
The core function of IT applications is to support the business and keep it up and running around the clock. However, a closer look at the existing applications reveals that the current state of applications might not be perfect for future needs.
The IT portfolio varies from small to established enterprises containing dozens, and even hundreds of outdated legacy applications, impeding business growth and scalability. Having just a few applications that do not provide business value can significantly impact the ability to adapt and innovate.
Rather than modernizing every application, we divide the entire IT portfolio into mission-critical and non-critical applications to ensure an effective and seamless legacy modernization process.
Focusing on and modernizing critical applications will considerably save you time and cost. Modernization adds new capabilities to your critical applications, making them available round the clock and scalable — further supporting innovation and growth.
However, a few legacy applications are no longer considered business-critical but continue to be maintained for governance, data retention, compliance, and other reasons.
Techniques to modernize legacy systems:
A better way to think about legacy application modernization is to focus on these five factors to ensure business agility, scalability, security, ROI, and improved customer experience.
Encapsulate, Replatform, Refactor, Redesign, Retire & retain.
Encapsulation is the fastest and most economical application modernization strategy for reusing legacy applications. While leaving the code in its current environment, encapsulation provides a new interface to a legacy component making it easily accessible to other software components via APIs. It helps leverage the application and extend its features and value. Encapsulation is a good option when a legacy system has a high business value and good-quality code.
Encapsulation can help businesses by moving legacy applications to the new architectures without investing the time needed to build applications from scratch — saving time and cost.
Replatforming or lift and shift is an essential and crucial process in legacy systems modernization. Unlike migrating every application to the cloud, Replatforming analyzes the existing applications and makes minimal code changes, so it can work flawlessly on the new platform while ensuring the features and functions it provides earlier.
We follow a holistic approach to re-platform legacy systems by leveraging CI/CD pipelines and making as few changes to the application as possible while ensuring scalability and it will run seamlessly in its new platform.
As soon as the application runs without errors, your applications can be deployed in the target environment with full automation. With re-platforming, your applications will become cloud-native and scalable.
Benefits of re-platforming:
- Applications will perform better, which means more reliability and fewer risks.
- Safeguard your applications from data breaches and external attacks.
- You get access to cloud-native functionalities without building a new solution from scratch.
- In the long run, upgrading will become easy, and infrastructure costs will become low.
The goal of legacy app modernization is to make the existing code adaptable and meet evolving business needs. To achieve that, Refactoring is one of the prominent legacy modernization strategies companies use to restructure the code while not changing its original functionality.
Refactoring focuses on improving the functionality of internal code by making small changes without altering the code’s external behavior. The primary benefits include improving code readability, reducing complexities, and scalable.
Updated or new functionality can be added to the existing code periodically rather than all at once, enabling continuous delivery and regression testing before releasing entirely new code.
- Refactoring eliminates dependencies and complexities — improves code efficiency.
- Code maintenance becomes easy and reusable.
- Easier for software developers to find and fix bugs in the code.
When to consider Refactoring of code:
There are two common situations where Re-factoring can help your code become agile and scalable.
- Immediately after writing a new piece of functionality: this is to refine the code, so it can perform better and deliver results as expected.
- Before making a change to existing code: going back and cleaning up the current code not only improves quality; but also makes it understandable in the long run.
An application rebuild involves writing applications from scratch to make them compatible with serverless and cloud environments. When rebuilding, the original scope and specifications remain the same while fulfilling new technological or operational requirements.
The Rebuilding phase of legacy application modernization strategy can be completed over time by adding new features to the existing code and migrating applications to a cloud platform like AWS. This process brings you a new level of personalized and digital experiences for your customers — further reducing complexity, managing costs, and unlocking the best of the cloud.
Rebuilding is used when you want to retain a legacy application that is critical to your operations but struggling to meet your evolving needs.
5. Retire and Retain:
In the long run, a few applications will become obsolete and vulnerable. Maintaining those applications will become costly and resource-intensive. In such scenarios, the Retire application modernization strategy help businesses to explicitly phase out such low-value applications. Above all, a few legacy applications face technology debt due to the unavailability of experts, affecting the overall business operations.
Legacy app modernization doesn’t mean moving every single application to the cloud. Instead, it’s a strategic approach to classifying applications based on their criticality and moving them accordingly.
Though modernization offers flexibility and scalability, there are a few applications that need to be retained as-is for many reasons, including security and control over data. On the other hand, moving some applications to the cloud would not make any sense other than consuming your efforts, time, and cost.
Amzur enables digital transformation through effective legacy modernization strategies and excellence in execution. We treat legacy application modernization as a gateway to understanding your IT infrastructure and help you formulate and execute operational strategies to achieve intended business outcomes while maximizing productivity and optimizing resources and cost.
Finding The Application Modernization Strategy That Is Right For Your Business
You’re halfway through the modernization journey. Now, weighing various modernization approaches is key to building a reliable strategy. Get access to our whitepaper to know which approach suits your business needs.
Author: Ganna Vadlamaani
President & CEO – Growth Markets
Driving strategic growth initiatives, fostering innovation, and leading high-performing teams for impactful business expansion.