legacy software modernization

5 Steps to Successful Software Modernization

In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to maintain a competitive edge and achieve your business goals if you rely on outdated technologies. To stand out from the crowd, you should develop a well-thought-out software modernization strategy to assess and eventually phase out existing legacy systems.


What Are Legacy Systems?

In computing, legacy systems are obsolete technologies that are still in use despite the fact that they no longer support an organization’s growing needs and the availability of better alternatives. This can include outdated hardware as well as software applications and programming languages.

Organizations may hang on to legacy solutions due to a lack of knowledge or because it can be cheaper in the short term. In the long term, however, legacy technology is associated with suboptimal performance, excessive maintenance and upgrade costs, and reliance on personnel with archaic and increasingly rare skill sets.

A closely related concept is technical debt, or the additional expense of time, money, and resources organizations incur over time by opting for easy solutions now instead of going the extra mile and investing in modern technology.

For more examples of legacy software and its hidden costs, read this blog.


The Benefits of Software Modernization

Here are just a few reasons you should give legacy software modernization serious thought:

Scalable and Future-Proof Software

The vast majority of modern applications are cloud-based, pay-as-you-go services. That makes them highly scalable and indispensable to business growth. You can purchase the data storage, bandwidth, or add-ons you need and scale on-demand and in real time.

Cloud solutions also have lower memory requirements and a smaller footprint than on-premise legacy applications. This can enable you to host more apps and serve more users on the same hardware without upgrading your servers and hosting infrastructure.

Low-Maintenance Systems 

Modern web development uses microservices software architecture. Unlike the traditional monolith approach to development, microservices architecture divides apps into numerous decentralized and loosely coupled modules or services. 

This approach allows software engineers to develop, test, deploy, and maintain these modules independently and simultaneously, saving you time, money, and resources. Compared to monolith applications, microservices also have a smaller surface area that could be exposed to security breaches. 

Increased Agility 

Another benefit to using modern development practices architecture is that they usually entail short development cycles, which allow development teams to test individual components as they go along using easy-to-write, automated tests. That, in turn, makes it possible to identify and fix potential issues quickly and cost-efficiently. Within a monolithic system, identifying a bug or problem becomes much more complex and deployments affect the entire system or application.

Better Customer Experience

From the increased scalability, agility, and cost-effectiveness to the shorter time to market, everything adds up to help you create better products or services and boost customer satisfaction. 

Consider speed, for example. Because single-page cloud-based apps load most resources just once per cycle and only update the dynamic content, they are associated with shorter user waiting times. This is good news considering that bounce rates grow by 32% as page load time goes from one to three seconds.

Users today expect — and indeed demand — high-performing software, and outdated systems simply don’t cut it.


Successful Software Modernization in 5 Steps

These steps can help ensure that your legacy software transformation is a success.

1. Assess Your Current Systems

Jumpstart the modernization process by identifying the mission-critical components and functionalities of your IT system. Then, pinpoint issues that could impair user experience or hinder application performance and future growth. 

As you do that, don’t forget to consider maintenance costs, too. Your system should be easy to support — and it shouldn’t be difficult to find specialists who know your tech stack, either. 

2. Choose the Right Modernization Approaches for Your Needs

The most popular approaches to software modernization are:

  • Encapsulation: You preserve and extend an application’s features by encapsulating its functions and data and making them available as services through an application programming interface (API).
  • Rehosting: You redeploy application components to other physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure without modifying their code, functions, and features.
  • Replatforming: You migrate an application to a new platform, making minimal changes to the code, but not the code structure, features, or functions.
  • Refactoring: You optimize and restructure existing code to enhance nonfunctional attributes and eliminate technical debt, but the code’s external behavior remains unchanged. 
  • Rearchitecting: You alter the code significantly to introduce a different application architecture and exploit new capabilities. 
  • Rebuilding: You rewrite or redesign application components from scratch but preserve their specifications and scope.
  • Replacing: You eliminate and replace application components entirely.

3. Create a Modernization Strategy Roadmap

A technology roadmap is a must when introducing new, large-scale IT solutions to your business. It can help you define your overall business goals, break them down into smaller milestones, assign specific tasks to team members, identify potential roadblocks, and more.

To learn how to develop a well-thought-out roadmap for your overall software initiatives, read this blog.

4. Keep Your Documentation Airtight

Document everything. It’s hard to overstate the importance of a unified project documentation system. Among other things, it makes sure everyone is on the same page, keeps modernization costs to a minimum, and ensures visibility, transparency, and accountability.

5. Know Where to Start

You may choose to implement your software modernization project at once or optimize your tech stack over time. Either way, before you start modernizing your obsolete technologies, you should have a clear idea of which parts of the system you want to work on first. 

To do that, consider potential interdependencies and what changes are likely to have the greatest cost-to-reward ratio. You should also keep in mind that making gradual modifications is usually the recommended approach, as it allows for quicker testing and iteration, shorter software release cycles, and continuous improvement.


Modernize Your Outdated Software with Zartis

It can be difficult to create an application modernization strategy on your own. 

This is where our innovation outsourcing services come in. Our in-house experts can assess the current status of your system. Then, we’ll develop a step-by-step implementation plan that improves application performance and meets customer expectations and your growing business demands.

Together, we’ll make sure that your software modernization is a success.

To start the conversation, tell us more about your project and future goals here.

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