How to Modernize Legacy Applications
Legacy applications are the older pieces of software that you use to run your business—these applications have been around for a while, and times have changed since they were created. While some will work fine for a while, they will inevitably need to be reevaluated at some point, which is when it’s time to evolve your legacy apps with confident cloud migration strategies.
To help ease your modernization efforts, this article will provide a basic overview of when and how to do so. If you feel it’s time to modernize one of your legacy applications, ensure you either have a well-trained and experienced IT team in place or contact an IT company if needed to help ease this process.
Understand When it’s Time to Modernize
Understanding when it’s time to modernize relies on two parties reaching an agreement: the IT team and the heads of the business. There are three things for each group to consider to decide whether or not to modernize.
If the legacy application in question is too complex, poses a risk for security, support, or compliance, or is too expensive to maintain, they need to bring this information to those in charge of the business side and see what they think. The higher-ups need to consider how the application fits into the business, its value, and its agility.
If the app cannot keep up with modern demands, can not meet modern requirements, or fails to add value to your organization in some other way then it’s likely time to modernize the application. Once both parties agree on the best course of action, the modernization process can finally begin in earnest.
Decide Priorities and How to Update
Once the decision to modernize has been made, the next step is to identify the problems the application raises and its strengths.
For example, maybe an application can handle a lot of users at once but has a major security flaw that puts the information of those users at risk. This type of understanding will tell you what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to preserve the positive aspects while mitigating or removing the negative ones.
After completing the proper tests and inspections, it’s time to decide which modernization strategy to utilize. There are seven main ways to do this, with the first one being to retain the software. Retaining software elements means that some components of the old application are reused in its new architecture, which tends to be a low-risk option that allows the app to be expanded upon.
One of, if not the fastest, way to modernize is to rehost the application, where the components are shifted into a new architecture without much modification. The third way is to re-platform the application, which is where the code is reshaped and modified on a new platform but still retains the features and functions of the legacy version.
You could also consider refactoring the application, which means to re-optimize the code. This process changes the application’s code structure to improve its performance by doing several things, from updating libraries and frameworks to completing or removing incomplete features.
Rebuilding the application would require a completely new application to be built. It would need to perform all of the same functions as the old one while eliminating the issues it faced, which is probably the most extreme option.
The sixth option is to re-architect the application or to alter the code significantly so it can be shifted into a new architecture. If none of these six options are feasible then it may be time to consider the seventh option: complete replacement.
Know When it’s Time to Replace
While your legacy application has served you well, and you may want to keep it around in some form, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to close its chapter and replace the application entirely.
If the modernization process is too expensive, poses too many risks, or takes too long, it’s time to look into other software that achieves the same goal. Maybe there’s another application that either completely outshines your current one immediately or can do so once it has been modified to fit the needs of your business. Of all of the modernization strategies discussed here, this one is the one that will have the highest noticeable impact.
While rebuilding would take time and could be noticeable, the application would have been built specifically with your business in mind. A replacement won’t have this benefit and may require time for you, your employees, and your customers to adjust to the new system. As a result, it should be a last resort for most situations.
Ensure Your Applications are Modern
Hopefully, this guide helped you understand legacy application modernization a bit better. While changing such an integral part of your operations may be difficult at first, it’s very important to recognize that everything changes in due time.
While change is neither bad nor good, you can make your transition to modernity far more positive if you take the proper steps and work with an experienced IT team to help you through the process. By taking the proper time and precautions, the end result will be well worth it in the end.