The expectations of digitally savvy customers and employees are rising, and businesses are no longer content to let their legacy applications fight a losing battle to keep up. How can your business be digitally transformed to resist this assault?
The greatest way to travel is one step at a time since digital transformation is a long journey. In other words, start your digital transformation journey by updating existing systems one app at a time using legacy modernization strategies.
By opting for app modernization, you gain access to the cloud infrastructure, enable mobility, and create opportunities for your applications to gain intelligence.
What are some legacy system modernization techniques?
There are seven modernization techniques, generally referred to as the “seven Rs,” each with its own level of complexity and payoff.
The best alternative for your company will help you cut costs while also making your operations more agile. The legacy modernization techniques are as follows:
- – Substitute – Decommission and replace existing old components completely.
In this strategy, the company scraps the old system and replaces it with a whole new one that takes into account new requirements and improved or changed business processes.
Replacing a traditional email system with Microsoft 365 in the cloud, or an indigenous CRM system with Salesforce CRM.
Replacing on-premises software with SaaS can be a speedier path to the cloud, but it necessitates a lot of planning.
IT teams must figure out how to migrate and utilize current data in the new system, as well as account for the business disruption caused by user training and learning curves.
You might also think about assessing corporate platforms or systems that match your needs and hosting them in a modern cloud environment.
- – Reconstruct – Restructure and optimize legacy pieces to work in a cloud-first environment.
A complete rebuild is the most time-consuming and costly option, but it provides the most benefits.
This is the preferred end state for most businesses, with many of the other possibilities merely serving as stepping stones along the way.
A full rebuild, as opposed to alternative methods that simply use modernized infrastructure in part, transforms the legacy system into a fully modernized, cloud native environment.
DevOps approaches and technologies such as containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs are all part of this.
In the long run, the combination of approach and technology allows for more flexibility, better performance, and lower operational expenses.
- – Change the platform – Transfer the runtimes to a more current platform.
The replatforming technique transfers an application’s components to a new runtime platform with minimal code modifications and the same functionality (e.g., moving a COBOL-based system from a UNIX or mainframe system to a LINUX or Windows environment).
To adapt to the new platform, developers can make minor modifications to the code without affecting the code structure or the system’s features and functions.
Compilers that allow you to transfer apps from one platform to another are frequently available.
With little effort, a company can benefit from lower infrastructure expenses and increased performance.
Furthermore, it is able to derive value from existing investments.
- – Rehost – Deploy legacy pieces in a new environment (physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure) without having to recompile, change code, or change functionality.
By rehosting, businesses can keep their legacy systems, such as ERP or databases, while benefiting from the cloud’s underlying infrastructure’s improved performance and security.
Rehosting, often known as the “lift and shift” migration method, allows businesses to move to the cloud more quickly without having to restructure or re-engineer existing systems.
An organization migrates its existing ERP system, database, or other workload to the cloud in its current state (e.g. moving an SAP system from an on-premises data center to AWS or GCP).
This strategy, however, does not fully utilize cloud native features, performance improvements, or cost savings.
Emulators are frequently available that can run legacy systems flawlessly in modern contexts (e.g., COBOL mainframe emulator for Windows).
- – Restructure and Refactor – This entails incorporating new technologies in selected tiers of the application to take use of cloud-based or other systems, as well as certain code changes.
This technique, which is most commonly encountered in hybrid setups, takes advantage of modifying sections of the older component to optimize code for greater performance.
Frequently, this entails adjustments to the backend of historical systems without significant changes to the frontend or functionality provided.
Although technology limits may limit what is achievable, this is less disruptive than a complete overhaul.
In this situation, a company might migrate a monolithic program’s database to the cloud while keeping the rest of the application on-premises.
The application architecture of the system is optimized, frequently with code changes, as the phrase indicates.
This may entail making backend changes to legacy elements to guarantee that old systems and cloud elements work together well.
This allows a company to analyze each application component separately in order to find the optimum platform for increased performance.
- – Retain – Maintain the current environment with no changes or updates.
An upcoming merger, end-of-life announcement or other consideration may mean that there isn’t a compelling enough case for modernization.
Even though the short-term decision is to retain, there should be a long-term strategy in place that ensures the sustainability of critical functions.
Generally, retention is a temporary measure, not a long-term strategy.
Organizations should be careful about adopting this “kick it down the road” approach.
The longer inefficient, resource-heavy infrastructure sticks around, the less budget and resources are available to invest in innovation.
Often, a retain approach may necessitate building “connectors” or “bridges” to interoperate with other modern elements in the organization.
Low-technology and proven AI models like Robotics Process Automation (RPA) may impart a fresh breath of life to legacy systems with minimal investment and risk.
- – Retire.- After assessing the workloads, usage, and business consequences, retire the system entirely.
Following a workload analysis, you may decide that retiring the programme and transferring any remaining users to existing systems is the best option.
This may need process redesign to fill the gap in operational processes left by the retiring technology, as well as provide a chance for better and more efficient business processes.
Need help modernizing your legacy system? Let’s talk!