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Top Strategies to Overcome Challenges in Legacy Systems Modernization

Companies are being forced to modernize more than ever before due to radical changes in both the corporate sector and customer behavior.

There are various ways businesses have adapted to today’s online customer, and many business owners have started the process of updating their operation for today’s market, from opening online storefronts to creating complex websites to managing social media accounts.

What are the in-house challenges to modernizing legacy systems?

The rise of millennials and the retirement of baby boomers at the same time can provide unexpected workforce-management issues, especially for companies that rely on older software for essential business tasks.

The coders who created and now maintain legacy systems and mainframes are among the baby boomers.

When these professionals retire, they typically bring years, if not decades, of experience with how apps work and the languages they’re developed in with them.

Millennials and other younger professionals, on the other hand, are more likely to be unfamiliar with legacy programming languages. And they frequently have no interest in learning these heritage languages, which they regard as unimportant and antiquated.

The rising retirement of legacy coders can offer major hazards to large firms that rely on outdated applications, as well as have workforce management issues.

The loss of individuals who are fluent in the languages that run your essential systems could lead to operational inefficiencies and downtime, as well as possible income, reputation, and brand value damage if your systems fail.

As more legacy coders log off for the last time, these potential hazards grow exponentially. As a result, it’s critical to devise a strategy for retaining staff with the necessary experience and abilities to keep your essential programmes running.

Every technique of modernization entails some level of worker risk. You might start a modernization project with an all-star legacy staff, only to lose key individuals along the road.

A robust workforce of legacy specialists is critical to keeping essential systems up and running until the code is updated and the mainframe is decommissioned (or maintained).

As previously said, workers with experience with vintage code are retiring, and finding replacements can be difficult. One issue is that most schools no longer teach old languages, thus newer workers are often unfamiliar with them.

These system developers are fluent in the language and have firsthand experience with how system functionality has grown over time to meet evolving business requirements.

As a result, finding people who are proficient in both old languages and business procedures becomes more difficult.

The public sector, where employees stay on the job for more than twice as long as their private-sector colleagues, has a particularly large skill gap.

Even if appropriate replacements are found, the transition can be difficult. All of this emphasizes the importance of prioritizing a modernization effort that is in line with current human-resources objectives.

Retooling a core application is a time-consuming process that can take up to five years. It appears that legacy specialists will retire during the course of the project.

As a result, businesses that rely on outdated software should explore automatic refactoring to update code and plan for future changes.

The IT department can use modern technology to help make legacy positions more appealing while improving operational efficiency.

Bringing new open-source software and DevOps practices to the mainframe is one approach to do it. This may help younger workers to master new skills using modern tools. 

This lack of skilled expertise either due to inexperience, lack of personnel or moving away of experienced talent can lead to a temporary void.

The only solution to this is hiring an external agency who can assist you in successfully modernizing your legacy systems.

Planning ahead and keeping users’ expectations in mind are key components of legacy application migration. Additionally, migrating legacy systems involves more than merely transferring current functionalities to a new system. Instead, it is a chance to create a strategic system that will support your company’s objectives and guarantee both current and future customers’ acceptance.

How can legacy system modernization help you beat competition?

Legacy IT modernization may help your company gain a competitive advantage by providing numerous benefits to both IT and business, including:

  • – Reduced Complexity and Dependency – The mainframe has been in use for over four decades, resulting in millions of lines of COBOL code that are becoming difficult to manage. Only well-trained resources can use procedural programming, which is based on instructions. Furthermore, institutions all over the world now teach new age languages, leaving few retired or soon-to-retire resources for languages like ADSO and IDEAL.

    The lack of resources and reliance on legacy expertise is not only costly, but it also slows the organization down.
  • – Legacy application modernization leads to open, agile, web-based systems that aid in the resolution of the legacy crisis. In addition, any developer who has been trained in a new language may easily maintain it.
  • – New era apps are less complex and extremely flexible than legacy applications, which are localized and monolithic. Cloud-based applications provide greater mobility and may be accessed and maintained from any location.

    Automated procedures of well-integrated programmes that reuse code are simple to maintain. Furthermore, there is no shortage of resources to support such applications.
  • – Language neutral platforms like Windows are more efficient than mainframes. Modularized, flexible, event-based, usability-driven Java and are replacing legacy applications. Application modernization can assist businesses in migrating their assets to more efficient, open, scalable Cloud and SOA-based systems with improved integration and functionality, as they take advantage of cloud computing, development and operations (DevOps), and big data processing tools required in today’s mobile, connected, and socially aware world.
  • An organization has a competitive advantage if it can convince its consumers that they will receive the best value and services by following process compliance laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPPA.

    Legacy modernization makes it possible to keep up-to-date, regular records and reports from any location and at any time, which was previously impossible with paper-based legacy systems.

    Real-time access to current apps, simple data entry via mobile devices, higher security via geo-fencing and encryption, improved accuracy in time entry, and project status tracking have all resulted in better customer service, fewer risks, and easier compliance.
  • – It’s challenging for businesses to align their business and IT goals. For example a company wants to spend corporate funds on attracting new customers and expanding innovation, whereas IT is primarily concerned with maintaining existing programmes.

    Furthermore, with pricey mainframes, only 25-30% of the funding is available for new projects.
    Application modernization not only saves developers time on maintenance, but it also raises their morale, boosts their productivity, and encourages them to innovate.
  • – As the definitive source of high power, availability, and security, mainframes have demanded expensive upgrade prices and license fees. Mainframes’ dependability is unquestionably capable of the ethos that it has commanded, but less expensive alternatives like Windows do not give less.

    Purchasing or upgrading even a small number of mainframe MIPS increases the appeal of other new alternatives.

    By automating manual code authoring, reusing code, improving business processes, and migrating to more current, low-cost platforms, modernization of outdated IT applications can minimize labor expenses.
  • – Businesses that modernize their applications can deliver better services to consumers and vendors, as well as increase their chances of winning new business. Enterprises find it easier to connect with customers with improved systems using web-based, scalable apps.

    Better code, well-managed databases and platforms, and SOA-based flexible and integrated applications have all emerged from application modernization.

    Online purchases, social media interactions, and the usage of public and private data for various analytics are all possible with web-enabled applications that interface seamlessly with mobile devices.

    Any buyer would be too enticed by these offers and the latest IT developments. Business is further facilitated by application networking, paperless reports, and increased compliance, to name a few elements that save project time and cost and boost business.

    Enterprises that use Mainframe have little choice but to pay a high price for the security and reliability that they have enjoyed for decades. They recognize the benefits of more efficient, yet less expensive platforms, yet they are wary about legacy IT transformation.

Final Checklist Before Hiring an Expert To Modernize Legacy Systems

Your modernization project could be as simple as upgrading a tiny but critical backend system that causes only minor hiccups, or it could be a large-scale change that affects the entire company.

In both circumstances, it’s critical to focus on these three areas when preparing for a legacy modernisation project:

  • – Evaluate your maturity – The first step in application modernization is determining your maturity level.

    If your company has never migrated to a legacy system and is still in the early stages of maturity, you should probably start with the low-hanging fruit, such as multiple instances of the same application, different applications that perform the same business functions, or non-essential or underutilized applications.
  • – Strategize – Collect data on schedules, budgets, and business requirements to decide where modernization activities will yield the best results.

    Your data, security, and compliance teams, in addition to the IT team, should be included at this stage of the modernization preparatory process.
  • – Create a timeline for the various stages of modernization – Application modernization should be a continuous activity that affects all aspects of your IT and business operations.

    It entails maintaining the newest, most efficient, feature-rich, and modern infrastructure accessible by definition.

    There will always be areas that can be modified and improved at the rate of technological advancement.

Steps To Successful Legacy System Modernization 

Once you have followed the 3 steps suggested in the previous section, chances are this self-modernization idea could spell disaster.

  • – Firstly, you don’t have the right personnel or technological skills within the organization to successfully modernize a project or system.
  • – Secondly, cost is a major factor.
  • – Lastly, time and other dependencies will tie your hands anyway.

So what now?

Hear what we have to say…

Kilowott helps modernize legacy systems.

Partner with us as we are specialists who have completed several successful legacy system modernization projects across a variety of industries and geographies for the best results and the least amount of downtime.

Kilowott, with a decade of cloud knowledge, can help your company upgrade outdated applications, alter IT operations, and optimize business processes.

Our experienced engineers will assist your team at every step of the process, including assessing, developing, deploying, and integrating modernized technology in ways that maximize your IT resources.

To tackle all of your difficulties, we use our proven methodology — BxT framework, which includes working with you to understand your goals and developing solutions that are positioned to produce optimal business outcomes.

We assist your organization to take the correct systems modernization road forward by combining the right tools, approaches, and knowledge.

Application leaders must develop effective solutions to upgrade legacy systems as a result of digital transformation.

Stefan Van Der Zijden, VP Analyst at Gartner, has said that, “Legacy systems are perceived as holding down many businesses’ business initiatives and business processes”. He added, “When a tipping point is reached, application leaders must turn to application modernization for assistance in removing the roadblocks.”

Kilowott’s three-step review procedure might help you figure out how to go about modernizing your applications. The optimum strategy is determined by the problem to be solved.

  1. Step 1- Evaluate legacy systems using six drivers
    Application modernization is driven by six key factors. These are the problems, worries, or roadblocks that the legacy application has produced as a result of its technology, architecture, or functionality.

    From a business standpoint, three of these factors are important: business fit, business value, and agility. If the legacy application does not satisfy the new digital business requirements, it must be modernized to fit appropriately and enhanced to deliver higher business value.

    Applications that aren’t agile enough to keep up with the needs of digital business might be expensive or risky.

    The three other factors are cost, complexity, and risk, all of which are IT-related. It’s time to modernize if the total cost of ownership is too high, the technology is too complex, or security, compliance, support, or scalability are at risk. Modernization options with numerous drivers from both a business and an IT standpoint are the best.
  2. Step 2 – Determine whether or not modernization is necessary.
    Examine modernization possibilities once the opportunity has been chosen and the problem has been recognized. Kilowott has assessed seven options based on how easy they are to adopt (the easier it is, the less risk and impact it will have on the system and the business processes; the harder, the more risk and impact it will have.)

    – Encapsulate the application’s data and functionalities and make them available as services via an API to leverage and enhance the app’s features.
    – Re-Host the application component on a different infrastructure (physical, virtual, or cloud) without changing its code, features, or functions.
    – Re-Platform – Migrate to a new runtime platform with minor code modifications, but no changes to the code structure, features, or functions.
    – Re-Factor – To eliminate technical debt and improve nonfunctional qualities, restructure and optimize current code (but not its outward behavior).
    – Re-Architect – Change the code in a significant way to adapt it to a new application architecture and take advantage of new and improved features.
    – Re-Build. Redesign or redesign the application component from the ground up, keeping the scope and specifications in mind.
    – Re-Place. Remove the old application component entirely and replace it with a new one that takes into account new requirements and needs.
  3. Step 3 – Select the most effective and valuable modernization strategy.
    Finally, map the seven modernization alternatives in terms of their impact on technology, architecture, functionality, cost, and risk to determine which modernization method will have the greatest impact and value for your firm.

Finally, there are three options for upgrading historical applications: rearchitecting, rebuilding, or replacing.

Rearchitecting has a medium cost and risk, but rebuilding or replacing has a higher cost and risk but delivers the best benefits. The goal is to weigh all possibilities to see how much of each will have the desired result with the least amount of effort and the most positive impact.

Need help modernizing your legacy system? Let’s talk!

Contact Kilowott, Kilowott number, Kilowott email, Kilowott Sales
Jonas Bocarro
Jonas Bocarro

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