The Art of Application Modernization for Legacy Systems Transformation


You want to spend some quality time in a fancy restaurant, enjoying excellent food and drinks. When it comes to the latter, you’re probably going to choose a glass of nice wine, the older the better. We all know that vintage wine and old friends are the greatest. The issue is that, unlike wine and friends, software does not improve with age.

Adding new features and services to legacy systems that fit with current market trends increases operations and company productivity. As a result, it’s no wonder that organizations all around the world are using application modernization services. In fact, during the next five years, approximately 80% of older legacy systems will be modernized.

Legacy Systems: A Bottleneck for Progress

Would you believe it if someone used a rotary phone in the midst of the smartphone revolution? Legacy systems are analogous to obsolete telephones in the digital world. They create flaws and issues over time, which have a direct impact on an organization’s financial health. These systems frequently struggle to integrate with new software. Furthermore, their poor performance and lack of multiplatform support become significant disadvantages. They also have a steep learning curve, making them less user-friendly. Hidden expenses emerge, and they lag in reacting to rapid technological advances. As a result, implementing legacy application modernization is no longer a choice but a pressing need.

Application Modernization – An Overview

By integrating new functionality, application modernization handles the migration of legacy applications to new applications. It enables organizations to upgrade existing software to take use of current computing methodologies, such as newer languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms. Overall, app modernization allows businesses to improve a current system’s security, integrity, and overall efficiency rather than completely replacing it.

The art and science of modernization for legacy system transformation

1. Analyze your legacy IT architecture and systems using six drivers

First, businesses must assess their current legacy systems and determine why they need to be modernized. When reviewing and modernizing legacy systems, there are six elements to consider, which are divided into two categories: business and IT drivers.

  • Business drivers include business fit, value, and agility.
  • IT-related drivers include IT cost, application and implementation complexity, and risk.

2. Choose a Legacy system modernization techniques

Specific methodologies are used in legacy modernization efforts to upgrade obsolete technologies.

3. Rebuild

Rebuilding legacy systems is the most expensive and time-consuming procedure, but it produces the best benefits. The rebuild technique transforms legacy processes into fully integrated cloud-native environments, whereas the other R of strategies serve as milestones towards comprehensive modernization for most organizations.

The rebuild technique incorporates considerable DevOps as well as technologies such as APIs, microservices, containers, and so on.

4. Rehost

Instead of updating their code or modifying functionalities, old systems are deployed in a new environment using the rehosting process. By rehosting, organizations may keep their investments in old processes while reaping the benefits of cloud infrastructure. Rehosting, often known as the ‘lift and shift’ strategy, allows one to be in the cloud without having to re-engineer systems.

However, by taking this modernizing method, not all cloud-native tools can be fully utilized.

5. Replace

To streamlining company processes, this strategy calls for completely replacing the current system with a brand-new one. The process’s risk is determining how to integrate existing data into the new system to avoid interruption.

6. Re-platform

As the name implies, the procedure involves migrating an existing legacy system to a new platform. While maintaining app’s functionality, re-platforming moves the app’s components to a new platform with minimal coding modifications.

Improved performance can be utilized to the organization’s advantage with little infrastructure investment.

7. Build your legacy application modernization business case

Modernization can help your firm in the long run, but what precisely do you need to improve? Determine why you need to upgrade your IT infrastructure and what you intend to accomplish.

Understand where consumers and staff are experiencing friction and annoyance, why your legacy environment is causing it, and how you can modernize to address the issue.

However, you should also search for areas where your old system excels. recognizing what works is just as crucial as recognizing what doesn’t when developing a strategy.

8. Determine timeline and success metrics

Although legacy application modernization is not a quick fix, it is still necessary to develop a plan and success indicators to ensure you stay on track.

Be realistic about what you can do and the outcomes you can expect. The length of your modernization process will be determined by the complexity of your changes and the modernization approach you choose.

Establish the objectives you hope to accomplish by each date on your timeline. How will you know whether or not your team is on track? What kind of productivity gains do you anticipate? What indications will alert you if you are not accomplishing your objectives?

9. Monitor and optimize

The advantages of legacy application modernization are not always obvious. They are also not always obvious. As a result, at the end of the project, your approach should involve monitoring and optimization. Consider the following aspects when you examine the landscape of accessible tools:

Consider how to track the performance of your modernized application to verify that it satisfies business requirements and stays within budget.

  • Trying to employ numerous monitoring techniques will be difficult with fewer qualified operations workers and an expanding diversity of platform kinds. Concentrate on as few instruments as possible, preferably one.
  • If the cloud is used to modernize legacy applications, plan to monitor not only the performance of your environment, but also the expense of cloud computing. Although many businesses use the cloud to cut costs, they must be prudent to reap any financial benefits.
  • Set up good data governance and data protection.
  • Encourage data literacy by ensuring that data consumers in both the business and IT can find, comprehend, and apply data in a meaningful way, despite their disparities.


Whatever approach and technique is utilized, software modernization is a tough, time-consuming, and risky operation. Nonetheless, the results are well worth the risk.

To meet the needs of the new digital transformation economy, businesses must abandon outdated software and modernize their fundamental technology. Enterprises will gain only when they recognize modernization as a continuous process rather than a one-time project.

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