8 Step Guide to Legacy Software Modernization

Legacy system modernisation is more like a trending term today where every business is trying to make a shift towards transforming their business processes, old redundant technologies or obsolete infrastructure setup. Amidst this constantly changing business environment, it’s imperative for businesses to let go of their old systems that are becoming a barrier to growth.

Researchers state 70% of all firms will have accelerated digital technologies by 2022, altering current business procedures to improve customer satisfaction, worker productivity, and company resilience. The digital transformation of IT involves updating outdated systems and procedures in order to boost productivity and spread more intelligence throughout the entire company. Another research by Businesswire states 74% of firms started but never finished a project to modernize a legacy system. According to a recent global study by Advanced, a misalignment of priorities between technical and leadership teams is one of the biggest barriers to a successful modernization project.

To achieve this growth via modernizing legacy systems, one approach businesses must keep in mind is to identify a problem before initiating any change. Businesses must remember, more like Rome wasn’t built in a day, all your systems cannot be updated in one go. Taking a step by step approach that enlists a clear vision of what and how you wish to modernize is necessary to ensure success. In this article we’ll talk about a comprehensive guide on how to modernize legacy systems. But first things first, what’s this legacy modernizing all about?

Legacy Systems

To start with the basics, a legacy system is a collection of outdated processes, software, and infrastructure. Legacy systems often utilize customer-owned, hosted, managed, and supported software and hardware and are situated in monolithic, tightly connected environments. Although these systems are useful, they can be expensive to maintain, operate, and demand specialized IT skills that are hard to come by. In the long run, they also limit a company’s potential to innovate.

Legacy Systems Modernisations

Legacy modernisation involves updating and optimizing business systems in order to improve operational efficiency, overcome technological limitations, satisfy customer experience standards, and support adoption and integration with other systems built on more recent technological platforms,

It’s a process that’s mostly initiated when a company is forced to choose between maintaining outdated, expensive hardware that is incompatible with current technologies and taking on the enormous work of overhauling infrastructure to benefit from the finest platform for its business objectives. This forces CIOs and IT leaders to weigh a number of variables in order to decide when to modernize, where modernization will have the biggest impact, and how to organize the project effectively to minimize business disruptions and downtime.

How to know if it’s time for you to initiate Legacy System Modernisation?

You must thoroughly comprehend all of your current systems, evaluate the operation’s performance, and decide whether or not current technologies are adequate to meet your long-term goals.

Here’s a list of 5 checkpoints for you to consider that can help organize your roadmap strategy. Consider asking the below questions:

  1. Can your current systems handle diverse data types from partner systems and internal software?
  2. To connect to new applications, do you need to modify integrations?
  3. Can you quickly handle the rising data quantities brought on by new applications?
  4. Can you quickly identify and correct data processing issues using your current IT systems?
  5. Does maintaining outdated infrastructure cost more than modernizing it?

If your answer to any or all of the above questions is a ‘yes’, then it’s time for your business to consider legacy software modernization. Most businesses consider approaching an IT consulting company to help initiate the process.

Popular Legacy System Modernisation Approaches

How obsolete software develops is influenced by numerous things. Sometimes adding just one line of code may suffice, while other times you may need to completely reimplement the solution. It’s essential to choose a correct approach right from the beginning. There are two kinds of approaches: revolutionary and evolutionary. Let’s have a look at both of them:

Revolutionary Approach: Big-Bang

It happens when your company develops a complete removal of the previous solutions. It resembles starting anything from scratch. You can move on to the next type if you think updating an existing system is risk-free, but this strategy is only appropriate for companies who are willing to take a chance on security issues, the loss of important data, or system unavailability. Then it makes sense to develop a fresh solution. If the original software is unable to manage business processes or resolve problems, the innovative approach is ideal.

Evolutionary Approach: Bad-Aid

This strategy aims to improve rather than building everything from scratch. Although it takes less time and effort, it is not always the best choice. However, there are fewer risks of data loss and downtime. This approach is more concerned with finding and removing the causes of problems than it is with really solving them.

How To Initiate Legacy System Modernization For Your Business?

No matter what approach you choose, you need to have an action plan in place before you take a step. The more detailed your plan is the easier it’ll be for you to define success factors, allocate budget and define timelines for your project. You must have a clear project scope, one exact problem that you have identified in advance that you wish to address and a possible, thought-through solution to the problem.

Let’s have a look at a step by step process to initiate legacy system modernisation.

Analyze Your Business Objectives

  • What is it that you are trying to change?
  • What are the main objectives of the company?
  • What is the anticipated completion date?
  • Who are the parties involved?
  • What particular parts of your company might be impacted?

In the first stage, you must have a clear cut answer to all the above questions mutually decided and comprehended by the company’s management.

You must monitor developer time, create a help desk ticketing system, and record routine manual tasks in order to define your baseline. If you don’t have a baseline, you won’t be able to understand your objectives.

Create A Roadmap

Updating a change in your systems can be done through a variety of approaches. You must select which is the best choice for the app you want to update. Seven options have been ranked by Gartner based on the ease of implementation (the easier it is, the less risk and impact it will have on the system and the business processes; the harder, the more risk and impact it will have) that can be considered by your business.

  • Encapsulate
  • Rehost
  • Replatform
  • Refactor
  • Rearchitect
  • Rebuild
  • Replace

By comparing the seven modernization alternatives in terms of their impact on technology, architecture, functionality, cost, and risk, you can choose which modernization strategy will benefit your organization the most.

Also read: The hidden cost of running legacy systems 

Assess Your Maturity

What level of familiarity does your company currently have with the tools, operating models, and migration process? If there is a gap, is there a means to close it? For the employee to feel comfortable using new technologies, training methods or consulting services to supplement internal resources may be required. You must have answers to these questions and define how you plan to fill the stated gaps in your system.

Plan Current Legacy Data Migration Strategy

What is the goal of modernization? This procedure entails providing and maintaining modern infrastructure that is rich in different elements. Every area of the company and IT processes will be impacted. Don’t forget that there is always space for improvement, regardless of the industry you operate in

Choose Your Modernization Approach

In deciding which of the seven options to select, you can consider more than just effort and impact by assessing each one according to its

  • Workload
  • Architecture
  • Cost (modernization and continued operational)
  • Risk
  • Operations
  • Security

The importance of each of these will vary depending on the organization. However, issues like consumer demand changes and competitiveness are also taken into account when determining the true worth of each modernisation strategy. Therefore, when assessing each choice, one might take into account the relative significance of traits like scalability and agility.

Check For Security & Regulatory Compliance

When software is upgraded, security issues are a constant consideration. When they are updated, how will you handle these issues? Every organization has a security structure that needs to be followed and evaluated, among other things, for compliance.

Software designers must weigh their options for protecting their apps in the absence of an operating system. Dynamic application security testing (DAST) and static application security testing are typically included in each deployed container in modernization projects using container technology (SAST).

This makes it possible for developers to check containers for security upgrades, outdated versions, and known vulnerabilities both before and after they go into production. These security features are built into the programme itself, allowing for automated node recovery in the event that a virtual host goes down.

Prepare For The Future

Consumers, a competitive market, an unsteady economy, and the opportunities offered by emerging technology constantly modify how businesses operate. The lifespan of a typical application is 6–8 years.

Because of its often monolithic nature, legacy software forces businesses to use difficult-to-update programmes. In the current digital environment, greater agility is needed to put out new features or capabilities. The best modernisation strategy involves deciding which level of adaptability to change will work best. Despite being able to connect to other microservices, an encapsulated application still has the same restrictions as its original code base. Software that has been refactored or rearchitected, however, is more likely to satisfy an organization’s future requirements.

Ask Around & Choose The Perfect Legacy System Modernisation Partner

Due to the fact that it is not their primary emphasis, the majority of firms do not constantly develop or modernize apps. Internal teams could not have the necessary expertise to operate in the “new” environment, necessitating training. Therefore, it is improbable that there will be sufficient internal resources to make all the necessary decisions regarding the modernization method, the cloud, or the support for microservices.

Instead, to help with application modernization, many businesses rely on a reliable software partner. Look for a digital transformation company that has experience re-engineering systems, processes, and technology using a variety of modernization strategies. You should hire a team that makes use of Agile and DevOps techniques to shorten the time it takes for your modernisation project to become live.

Summing up

The rules of the game are being dictated by the quickly changing digital environment for business owners. Therefore, in order to keep ahead of the competition and stay on the  edge of technology, businesses must act quickly and frequently upgrade their IT systems. However, the assistance of an experienced IT services company  is required for a modernization programme to be successful.

Your business does a major disservice in terms of productivity and development potential if you continue to use antiquated systems software. By updating it, you’ll be able to stay on top of technology advancements, give your business new development opportunities while maximizing income, process efficiency, and cost savings.

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