Written by: Erica Martin, CEO
Has your organization invested extensively in applications that are critical to your operations over the past decades? If so, you might be struggling now with software that no longer helps you meet your strategic business initiatives.Â Legacy application modernization retains your investment in those assets while modifying them to address your companyâ€™s challenges for today, tomorrow and decades to come.
How Applications Become Legacy
Most companies rely on their applications to perform critical company functions. Those applications may be provided by a vendor or they may be proprietary to the business and comprise a portion of the organizationâ€™s value. Either way, every application a company uses must integrate with all of its other software applications to achieve maximum productivity.
However, as the digital world continues to evolve, previously valuable and operational software may lose its compatibility and reliability, degrading its effectiveness. While most third-party vendors maintain support services for outdated software, it often lasts for only a short-period before being phased out.Â And, if the software is proprietary, the amount it contributes to the companyâ€™s value may fade over time.
What Happens When Companies Fail to Modernize?
Many companies discover that an application is outdated when they find that they are struggling to keep up with emerging industry trends and technology demands. They find that one application is no longer sufficient to manage a single aspect of the business, and/or that it does not function with other systems. In addition, legacy software may no longer integrate with updated platforms or operating systems or it may use a language that is no longer recognized by new software or platforms.
Such legacy applications can impact a companyâ€™s operations in a myriad of ways:
- Lagging software that erodes IT effectiveness also destroys efficiency, slowing production and increasing maintenance costs.
- Present or future obsolescence creates a gap in organizational systems. Your software may be able to achieve today’s goals, but emerging digital and hardware innovations will soon outpace its capability.
- If the technology used to track and record specific activities cannot capture newly implemented data formats, safety and compliance requirements may suffer. In many instances, your risk of loss, damage or injury can rise as your software applications age.
What Legacy Application Modernization Entails
The timing and speed of the modernization process are critical to any project’s success. Some companies choose to implement their modernization during a dedicated downtime period; others phase out the implementation gradually over a period of time. Often, the size and complexity of the business suggests the optimal modernization time frame, with larger organizations phasing in new application versions over a specific duration or by site, and smaller entities performing the entire process at one time.
Utilizing an agile methodology to application development allows the modernization to be implemented on a case-by-case basis, as every company has different requirements for different projects. This ensures an emphasis on DevOps when developing both the application and the infrastructure surrounding the project implementation.
Reasons Companies Avoid Modernization
Despite the awareness of the issues that accompany a failure to modernize legacy applications as well as the benefits that accompany modernization, there are legitimate concerns that may prevent companies from addressing them:
- Companies have made significant investments in their legacy solution and they do not want to replace it with expensive new software.
- Companies do not want to replace their existing applications because employees are familiar with current software.Â Any software replacement would require months of training which can affect customer servers.
- A companyâ€™s focus is on their core business and finding solutions to these challenges will be too time-consuming.
- Companies may lack the in-house talent to do the job, and their resources and investments are tied to their primary strategic initiatives.
- A companyâ€™s in-house IT department does not have staff who are familiar with the development of the legacy applications thus rendering them incapable of performing the necessary updating.
How You Can Modernize Your Legacy Applications
Because of these concerns, many organizations outsource their legacy application modernization projects to a vendor that specializes in the processes. Application development service providers have both the programming skills and tools necessary to develop and implement an optimal application legacy modernization – quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. These providers can structure the upgrades as needed by an organization while allowing company personnel to remain focused on their day-to-day operations and core initiatives.
Regardless of how companies decide to implement their modernization strategy, the company will always benefit significantly from doing so. Modernization will help maximize existing software assets, so that organizations are building on existing values. It will better position the company to not just compete but excel in the growing global marketplace by reducing both, costs and risks as operations become more efficient and flexible.
VantageOne Software is a leading onshore software development provider offering web, mobile and enterprise-level custom software and application services. For more than 20 years, our teams have used their technical expertise and in-depth domain knowledge to streamline organizationâ€™s operations for optimal success â€” a real competitive advantage. Certified as a Womenâ€™s Business Enterprise (WBE) through NEORSD and WBENC.