10 signs that your legacy systems need modernization and practical advice on how to do it.

legacy systems need modernization

Old is not always Gold. Imagine a situation where all the appliances, automobiles, and electronic phones you use are old. You would lag and waste more time, energy, and money to keep them running. It is the same with technology, software, and software products.

In the era of Digital Transformation when technology is progressing fast, and markets are rapidly changing no one would say that sticking to the old is a virtue. Yet legacy software and systems are still in use.

The reasons may be many, such as fear of losing customers, uncertain security issues, difficulties in risk assessment, lack of clarity on modernization goals, etc. Or in some rare cases, the legacy systems might seem quite enough. In this blog, we discuss ten major signs, anyone, using legacy software should watch out for and modernize before it’s too late (and we will help you with that).

  1. Is your domain highly unpredictable and facing the threat of disruptions?  

Modernization involves many aspects, one of them is business process modernization. Various processes are simplified and expanded to cater to the growing needs of customers. Such modernization is not just to gain a competitive advantage, it is essential to sustain in these disruptive times and often includes or equates to Digital Transformation.

  1. Are you looking to make your enterprise application multi-platform and multi-device compatible?

Most of us worked from home during the pandemic, and our systems had to be tweaked to enable seamless remote collaborations. Many businesses now adopt a hybrid model of working and employees prefer the flexibility of remote working when needed. Most applications used to run only on computers before the pandemic. Now the scope of the applications has widened, making businesses more agile. More people use them on mobile phones and tablets too, and the applications also have added functionalities.  Users should be able to start the application on one device and continue it on another.

  1. Is your legacy application limiting your business goals?

Unlike in other transformations, the desired endpoint is important while modernizing legacy systems. The goal of modernization should coincide at least in part with the business goals. Without modernization, businesses may have to restrict their goals of expansion to new customers or geographies or products and services for they become impossible to achieve without advanced technologies.

  1. Is your business process much slower and cumbersome owing to the legacy systems?

Most legacy systems are heavy and hence slower. Building and modifying them is cumbersome and risky too. This decreases user engagement, and the user doesn’t find them productive enough. And if the systems are not updated to be faster and lighter the users would shift their loyalty to other competitors.

  1. Is your application incompatible with newer solutions that you would like to integrate with?

In a digital ecosystem, the sum of the connected applications is more than the sum of the parts. The applications share data, and responsibilities too. While some popularize others, some make way for the followers. Any user would use applications that leverage these meaningful connections to help their businesses grow. Hence legacy applications that are not compatible with others in the ecosystem should consider upgrading. Modernization will make the products capable of participating in a domain-specific platform.

  1. Is your application not so transparent?

Siloes must be broken down. Innovation requires integration with other wings like sales, marketing, etc, to provide meaningful data analytics. This could help you with making confident business decisions and is crucial for deciding the course of innovation. Disconnected legacy systems make data unavailable, errors are difficult to identify, and provide no clear view of where the business is heading.

  1. Is the code too old to be upgraded or cleaned?

Old code blocks growth. Earlier coding practices are not appropriate for today’s loosely coupled systems that need to be upgraded quite regularly. If your code is built using obsolete programming languages or is too tightly coupled, it may not fit with the newer additions and might become error prone. Consider rebuilding it with newer ones using API, Microservices, etc. This makes it possible to upgrade your application frequently to answer changing customers’ needs.

  1. Are you stuck in a legacy mindset?

Any transformation in the digital world should not be confined to only applications and processes. To succeed the ideals of transparency, collaboration, and agile values need to be inculcated in the mildest of everyone in the organization. Attitude transformation is so crucial not any legacy modernization project is incomplete without it.

  1. Do you want to add new Streams of value to the customer?

Modernization increases connectivity and clarity that help businesses open additional revenue streams. For example, a business during modernization encapsulated a base version of the product and sold it to others in the domain. Now, in addition to the main service/product offerings, the business gains revenue from the sale of the product and its extensions. Such success stories have increasingly become common in today’s digital world underpinning the well-accepted fact that modernization is essential.

  1. Did your domain witness vast changes in security systems and regulatory compliance requirements?

Any software is vulnerable to threats, and hence everyone must take security rather seriously. However, older code and systems that hackers could easily crack are more prone.

Global and any nation’s regulatory compliance laws change to answer new threats. For the reasons already discussed above, it is hard and sometimes impossible to modify legacy systems to make them compatible with the latest regulations.

It is now clear for any of the above reasons businesses choose to modernize their applications. Some move the applications to the cloud, some build them from scratch, and some others modernize the architecture of parts or whole of it.

Notwithstanding technology and architectural constraints, legacy applications still have significant business value, along with functional and domain expertise accumulated over the years. Conventional modernization strategies fail to leverage these legacy investments. At coMakeIT, we have evolved a unique strategy, SecuRef, that not only leverages the accumulated functional and domain expertise but also achieves modernization with a safety net. This is a strategy based on an inside-out approach to legacy modernization.

Whether you are pondering what is appropriate for you, rehosting, rebuilding, refactoring, or looking for collaborations that would modernize your applications and your business while carefully considering your business goals, mail us at info@comakeit.com. With more than a decade of experience in modernizing many applications across diverse domains, we have successfully helped several businesses on the path of modernization.

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      Divya Prathima

      The author was a java Developer at coMakeIT before turning into a stay-at-home-mom. She slowed down to make art, tell stories, read books on fiction, philosophy, science, art-history, write about science, parenting, and observe technology trends. She loves to write and aspires to write simple and understandable articles someday like Yuval Noah Harari. We are very happy to have her back at coMakeIT and contribute to our relevant and thought provoking content.

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