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Software modernization strategies for legacy applications

December 7, 2021
Software modernization strategies for legacy applications
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Software Modernization: how to modernize legacy software

You may not need a new application, just a software modernization process. Software modernization is a strategy and an investment worth making when you have old legacy software and want to update it by implementing newer, more innovative technologies.

Modernization can consist of different strategies, more or less complex. The application can be rewritten, its architecture can be rebuilt, or exchanged for use on another platform. Which software needs to be modernised? It depends on the needs of the company, the technological innovations in relation to the specific case and the performance/results to be obtained.In general, for monolithic architectures and for software written in very old programming languages, it would certainly be interesting to at least evaluate the feasibility of modernization.

Legacy software modernization: the benefits of modernization

The approaches to software modernization can be different, depending on the degree of innovation desired. We can mention some strategies, starting from the most structural and incisive:

  • Replace the software, replacing it with another (keeping in mind the workload involved in this step);
  • Rewrite or redesign the software, while maintaining certain specifications and scope;
  • Rewrite the code to pass it over to a new architecture that can provide better capabilities;
  • Rebuild and optimize existing code to remove any dysfunctional attributes;
  • Migrate the application to a new runtime platform, implementing minimal changes to the code. No intervention on the code structure, features and functions;
  • Deploy the application to another infrastructure (e.g. cloud);
  • Leverage and extend features, encapsulating their data and functions and making them available as a service via Api.

The objectives and benefits of adopting one strategy rather than another are clearly very different. However, we can identify some common objectives, especially on the business side: reduction of maintenance costs, reduction of time-to-market and higher quality at the technological level (and therefore greater flexibility, speed and security of systems). Implementing innovative IT solutions is definitely a winning strategy for the company and an investment that is amortized over time, thanks to the reduction in maintenance costs.

Software modernization strategy: why modernize

Software modernization represents an improvement from the application point of view, but not only. There are many reasons to modernize a software and they vary according to the starting technology and the needs of the single company. Why should old applications be modernized? How convenient is it? These are the questions that entrepreneurs often ask their IT team. Older, legacy software often works very well and employees are extensively trained in its use.

So why change? First of all, because of the costs that these softwares involve and of which companies often don't realize. The budget for maintenance of these applications often covers a high percentage of the entire amount dedicated to IT, leaving very few resources for the introduction of new technologies. The same is true for security issues: legacy software needs more attention from this point of view and the related expense is always very high.

There are two other costs that are even less tangible but have a major effect on turnover: the costs associated with inefficiency in managing market changes and low agility, and the risk of becoming a less competitive custom software solution as the years go by.

Operational and process advantages can be achieved through software modernization. For example:

  • Show yourself to be more innovative than your competitors;
  • Improve the user experience and design, raising the conversion rate;
  • Create the conditions to evolve your business, even when trends rapidly change;
  • Take full advantage of the opportunities provided by Big Data;
  • Reduce costs and inefficiencies.

Where to start? First of all, it is essential to request a feasibility study to understand how you can modernize your software, in what timeframe and with what costs. This study will help you to understand which strategy is more convenient and to draw important considerations on the costs and benefits of a software modernization intervention.

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