Application Modernization Strategies: A step-to-step guide

Businesses have seen an undeniable acceleration in digital transformation in recent past specifically since the pandemic began to tighten its hold on the planet. Enterprises gain agility and the flexibility to respond to dynamic business changes by modernising legacy applications. Most firms have recognised a high appetite for digital transformation, and software solutions are being upgraded and deployed at an unprecedented scale. According to Markets and Markets research, the global application modernization services market is predicted to increase at a 16.8 percent CAGR from USD 11.4 billion in 2022 to USD 24.8 billion in 2025.

Various factors are driving the need for application modernization, with COVID-19 limitations remaining one of the most important. Organizations are struggling to maintain a smooth workflow as a result of COVID-19 regulations forcing their employees to work from home. Under the great burden of rising app-based digital business transactions, businesses’ old programmes and software have given up, compelling businesses all around the world to update their legacy apps.

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In a very dynamic market, companies should have an application modernization strategy in place to maintain business continuity and growth. The greatest strategy to exploit current capital and minimise unnecessary technological investments is to modernise your existing apps or systems.

Modernizing legacy applications might help to avoid accruing technical debts and business immobility. This article explains how application modernization enables businesses to digitally shift and scale up during a pandemic.

What is application modernization?

Application modernization entails rewriting existing software to accommodate new computing methods. New languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms are among the updates. In this digital world, data becomes the primary business driven force to study and analyse the in-depth business dynamics in terms of sales, revenue, expenditure and proftis etc. The IT industry matured a lot in recent years and the latest technology advancements have made the giga bytes of data processing possible quicker which helps to forecast the business well in advance. Modernization process takes care of application security in greater width by enabling / enforcing multifactor authentication process which was not possible with older technologies.

Some businesses are ready to phase out older applications in favour of the most up-to-date. However, both financially and operationally, this can be expensive. As a result, “the most reasonable strategy to exploit newer platforms, technologies, and frameworks is to modernise applications.”

Benefits of Application Modernization

Cost reduction: Because of the pandemic’s limited resources, “cost” has been the most crucial motivator for application modernisation. For example, the more data you collect, the more you’ll have to pay for your on-premise data centre, requiring businesses to replace storage systems more frequently. It is costly to own and maintain infrastructure since additional costs for cooling, space, and electricity are incurred. Besides these costs, maintaining a large data center would necessitate a specialised IT team to manage the same. As a result, investing in timely application modernization is both reasonable and advantageous, as it helps to avoid all of the costs listed above. The recent cloud platforms (PaaS) offer zero dev-ops it means no manpower is required to maintain and manage the application with respect to deployment. Keeping all these factors like machine, manpower and other infra resources taking into account, enterprises would reduce the recurring expenses significantly.

Improves customer experience: The market has become a battleground for enterprises that cater to similar products and services. At a time like this, it is the customer experience that will give a company the needed competitive edge. Customers preferred with minimal clicks to get things done. Using an obsolete technology will be difficult attain this client experience. Legacy software has an impact on productivity and the time taken to complete the integration.

Furthermore, outdated software’s security flaws can easily jeopardise your business and consumer data, harming your brand. By altering the end-user interface, automating laborious procedures, and adding new features, application modernization can improve your customers’ experience. Essentially, more stable systems, faster updates, and improved security will make your business operations more efficient. All of this, taken together, distinguishes your company and ensures that it flourishes. Without investing extensively in all new technology, your company may get up to speed via application modernisation. In the long term, application modernization will increase revenue, efficiency and security of the applications.

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Application modernization strategies

An effective application modernization strategy can minimise the resources needed to run an application, increase the frequency and dependability of deployments, and improve uptime and resiliency. As a result, a plan for application modernization is a standard component of a company’s overall digital transformation strategy.

Legacy application support is difficult for a variety of reasons. These old and difficult-to-maintain systems are becoming progressively obsolete making it less effective at fulfilling their intended goal as they age, also posing a cybersecurity risk. While application modernization is not without its difficulties, the advantages are substantial. Here are five best practises to keep in mind when you create your approach:

Rehost: This strategy, often known as the ‘lift and shift’ concept, entails migrating your application’s fundamental resources from an on-premise data centre to the cloud in their current state. The application codebase is kept the same, but the infrastructure, which includes cloud-based storage, compute, and network resources, is transferred to cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Attempting to migrate current systems, particularly monolithic legacy apps, to a cloud architecture will prevent them from taking advantage of key cloud-native capabilities such as PaaS, multi-cloud, microservices, agile methodology, containers, CI/CD, and DevOps processes. However, this approach is good if you re trying to utilize the cloud benefits to save cost and as a disaster recovery option.

Refactor: The applications are expected to be on cloud nature in digital era. It includes modification of the application itself and part of code to avail all the benefits of a public cloud. Developers can take advantage of the organization’s strategic code by repurposing investments in languages, frameworks, and containers. It is a time and resource intensive, but the advantages that it brings outweighs the earlier said issues. Organizations take advantage of developing independent services for some of the functional features and make it useable for both internal and external users.

Re-architect: The legacy monolithic application is re-architected using the microservices model, containerized, and current DevOps processes in this option. This involves breaking down or dividing your monolithic application into a set of services that can be written, deployed, and managed separately. Rather than a complete rebuild, it entails fundamentally modifying or deconstructing the application into services. This divide-and-conquer approach to design gives you more control and offers advantages like business agility, faster time to market, lower costs, and the ability to reimagine the customer experience. Cloud-based PaaS (if desired), microservices, serverless, containerization, and current DevOps approaches are among the technologies used.

Rebuild: It’s comparable to a re-architecture, only that instead of remodelling, you’re flattening it and beginning again. And, as with a home, starting from scratch can be more cost effective and usually results in a much better outcome than a renovating effort. The programme is redesigned as a cloud-native application during the rebuild, which helps to speed up innovation, release value sooner, and lower overall operational expenses. Given advancements in technology, languages, frameworks, and other efficiencies, the effort necessary to construct the old programme in the first place could be far greater than the effort required to replace it today. Lower-level programming is now frequently abstracted.

Replace: You can sometimes replace a legacy programme with a more flexible cloud-based solution if it offers certain functionality that is still relevant. Replacing an on-premise version of Microsoft Exchange Server with the cloud-based Office 365 is a simple example. These services are now available as a pay-as-you-go subscription rather than a purchased licence.

The advantages of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions include always running the most recent version without the need for updates, significant cost savings, perhaps greater security, and moving the support responsibility outside of the business.

Author: Vaibhavi Tamizhkumaran
Vaibhavi is a Digital Marketing Executive at Indium Software, India with an MBA in Marketing and Human Resources. She is passionate about writing blogs on the latest trends in software technology. Her passion further encompasses writing blogs on fashion, religious views, and food. Singing, dancing & mandala artwork are her stress busters. Sticking to the point and being realistic is her mantra!