Data Modernization
legacy application modernization

What is Legacy Application Modernization: A Complete Guide

Legacy application modernization is the process of updating traditional software to align with the current business demands and technological standards. The application modernization strategy tackles all the challenges that businesses often face such as scalability, security and performance limitations. While, a successful modernization strategy begins with assessing existing applications, identifying areas of improvement, and selecting the correct approach, for example- rehosting, re-platforming, refactoring, or rebuilding with cloud-native architecture and microservices.

This comprehensive guide explores application modernization approaches, key concepts, benefits, challenges, and best practices follows within Legacy application modernization. With a correct understanding of these fundamentals, businesses can strategically plan their approach to minimize costs, enhance agility, and provide a better user experience.

What is Legacy Application Modernization?

Legacy application modernization refers to the transformation of outdated systems with modern cloud-based solutions and applications. Apart from that, legacy application modernization also involves the integration of new solutions to enhance existing system efficiency, retiring outdated applications, or migrating to a better version.

Updating software and applications that your team has been using for years seems quite overwhelming. However, sticking with outdated IT systems may result in maximising error, performance reduction and numerous challenges and threats to your business and customer experience.

By modernizing legacy applications, you focus on challenges from outdated tools, benefiting your digital workplace. This process enhances team efficiency, boosts performance, and provides a better user experience.

What are the benefits of Legacy Application Modernization?

benefits of legacy application modernization service

Modernization is not all about replacing older applications; instead, it is about giving them a new shape to meet current business needs and standards. Modernizing legacy systems provides a wide range of benefits to organizations willing to stay ahead in a competitive world.

  • Enhanced Performance and Efficiency

    Modernization improves legacy application performance by enhancing operational efficiency resulting in a smooth user experience and quick response time.


  • Improved Security and Compliance

    Strengthening security measures and following standard business compliances is crucial in modernization efforts. This approach reduces the risks of security breaches resulting in cost-saving.


  • Better User Interface and Experience (UI/UX)

    Modernization includes providing a modified and better user interface and experience (UI/UX), resulting in better customer experience and employee satisfaction.


  • Cost Savings

    Modernization helps organizations minimize maintenance costs, optimize hosting, and leverage global workplace efficiency, providing long-run cost savings benefits.

What are Legacy Application Modernization Challenges?

Legacy modernization is indeed a gem for businesses, but it comes with its own set of hurdles that organizations must tackle to achieve growth and success.

  • Difficulty to Maintain

    Legacy systems can be quite difficult to maintain due to outdated infrastructure, technology, and limited customer support.


  • Code Bloat

    Accumulation of unnecessary codes makes it harder to maintain resulting in slower down of the systems.


  • Hacked Integrations

    Weak or outdated integrations maximize the risks of security breaches due to poorly secured connections.


  • No Support for Third-Party Integrations

    Difficulty in integrating with external parties due to poor connectivity and lack of updates.


  • Slow Load Times and Performance Issues

    Delays in loading times and performance result in poor customer experience.


  • Security Threats and Compliance Risks

    Due to outdated and old security practices, systems and applications are more prone to security threats and compliance risks.


  • Inability to Keep Up with New Tasks and Workflows

    Struggles in adapting new tasks and workflows due to outdated systems or processes.


  • Poor Customer Experience

    Poor customer interactions for support caused by outdated systems or processes.

Five Key Application Modernization Strategy

There are five key application modernization approaches available depending on the specific needs and challenges of the business. The strategy is selected based on factors like current status, budget and desired goals. Let’s discuss the five major application modernization strategies in detail: 

01
Rehosting

Rehosting refers to the transferring of a legacy application to a new environment with minimal changes to the existing code or functionality. This is not a full use of modernization’s potential but still is considered a great option for a quick move. However, understanding the code is considered crucial to know about how the code was previously arranged or organized in a software application.

02
Refactoring

Refactoring involves restructuring and optimizing an existing code to boost its performance and maintainability without making changes to its core functionality. This strategy is an excellent option to enhance the application’s efficiency.

03
Replatforming

As the name suggests, re-platforming involves transferring legacy environments to a different platform or infrastructure. This strategy involves a minimal code modification resulting in enhancing the application’s performance and reliability.

04
Re-architecting

Re-architecturing involves re-designing of complete application’s architecture to meet the business goals and objectives following the comprehensive standards. This process requires a defined strategy to efficiently manage the process while addressing the architectural issues.

05
Full Replacement

For scenarios, where the legacy systems are extremely outdated, a complete replacement of the system becomes a necessity. This approach provides a fresh beginning, although it comes with the risks of potential disruptions during the transition.

Why You Need a Technical Audit Before Legacy App Modernization?

Conducting a technical audit is a crucial step before the legacy app modernization process as it identifies necessary changes and potential risks to the system. The motto is to identify the problem’s origin before solving it. A tech audit identifies and highlights the tech debts in the application code and architecture and evaluates the risks associated with it.

Additionally, tech audits refer to which part of the code can be shifted to the new environment with ease, while which parts require modifications. Following a tech audit business can get a clear picture, as it provides recommendations for code and architecture improvement, with clear project goals and budget.

Tech audit becomes a necessity for a following reason:

  1. Addition of new features
  2. Aligning your product with industry standards and norms
  3. Identify technical debt and outdated codes
  4. Plan for future upgrades
  5. Evaluate scalability and performance issues
  6. To maximise performance

Top Legacy Application Modernization Techniques

The legacy application modernization process follows a few techniques to ensure the smooth updating of outdated software to enhance the system’s performance, reliability, and security. Below are the top five Legacy Application Modernization Techniques that can be useful in resolving the challenges that businesses face:

  • App Migration to The Cloud

    Transferring an application to the cloud involves shifting a software application from on-premises software to the cloud provider’s platform. The transition enhances software’s scalability, performance, and availability by utilizing cloud services for data storage, processing, deployment, and maintenance.

    Migrating operations to the cloud offers numerous benefits such as:

      1. Enhanced application availability via remote servers
      2. Improved scalability, providing efficient performance
      3. Reduction in cost by utilizing cloud infrastructures
      4. Ease in application updates through centralized management

    However, cloud migration isn’t the only solution for all legacy applications. Each application demands customized solutions to meet their business's unique needs.


  • Moving App from Monolith to Microservices

    Moving applications from monolith architecture to microservices involves breaking down the application into smaller, independent services that work together in a mutual ecosystem. This shift becomes a necessity when the monolith application is large, complex, and challenging for maintenance and development. For scenarios where application requirements update more often, it is necessary to implement new features quickly; transferring to microservices can help make the process of adding features quick and efficient.

    Moving the App from Monolith to Microservices offers a few benefits:

        1. Enhancing performance by scaling individual components without affecting the entire system
        2. Isolating errors in one service, protecting the system from wide failures
        3. Independent development and testing, accelerates the overall process
       4. Updating services independently allows quick deployment without affecting and modifying the overall system

    To summarize, Moving App from Monolith to Microservices enhances application flexibility and scalability resulting in faster business growth and better user experience.


  • Application Technical Modernization

    Building an application in a new form can minimize costs, and maximize quality and customer experience. Modernizing the tech stack primarily focuses on improving performance and product efficiency.

    In simpler terms, the process involves updating the technology and structure of an application to make it faster, easy to use, reliable, secure, and updated according to the industry’s standards and norms.


  • Application to Web Application

    Migrating a desktop application to a web application involves transferring applications from a local computer to a web server, allowing users to access it via web browsers. This approach is claimed to be best for employees who work from different places and require remote access to applications from any location.

    Below are a few advantages that Migrating Desktop Application to Web Application offers:

        1. Centralizing applications on web browsers minimizes maintenance costs
        2. Allows employees to work from anywhere utilizing remote access
        3. Web application offers better control and protection against web threats
        4. Can be accessed from any device via browser

    This technique acts as a crucial step for business growth, enhancing employee productivity and data security.


  • Wrapping Legacy System to A Modern Technology

    An alternative approach involves updating a legacy system with modern technology like Docker or REST. The encapsulation process allows legacy components to remain in their current environment while linking them to a new presentation and layers via API.

Final Thoughts

The above blog was a complete guide to the Legacy Application Modernization process. From learning about what Legacy Application Modernization is to exploring its long list of benefits such as better performance, improved security, minimal costs etc, every aspect is discussed in detail. Learn about strategies and techniques to tackle integration challenges and maintenance issues to enhance efficiency and user satisfaction.

Explore AAHENT’s Legacy Application Modernization services, the company is known for their expertise knowledge, guaranteed outcomes, and seamless cloud migrations. With the focus and years of experience, AAHENT transforms outdated systems into agile, secure and efficient assets.