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Blend the Old with the New: 7 Expert Tips for IT Legacy Modernization

Application modernization services will be worth $16.67 billion by 2022. Many companies need legacy modernization because their outdated software doesn’t meet business goals. As such, they’re losing millions of dollars in data trapped in their legacy systems.

One reason why businesses hold on to old software is that some systems are hard to replace.

An example of a legacy system is pagers used in the healthcare system. Its application spreads to other sectors like banking, transportation, and insurance. Many other legacy systems exist, but their continued use in the modern day might not be reliable.

Let’s have a look at how you can integrate old systems with new ones through legacy modernization.

What are Legacy Systems?

Legacy systems refer to information applications based on outdated technologies. Despite being old, they’re crucial in everyday operations. Legacy systems are not always defined by their age.

They could fall in the legacy bracket due to their inability to meet the needs of a business. It could also be that they lack the support needed by modern-day systems. They are hence tricky to support, maintain, or improve.

Complex legacy systems can pose a barrier to digital transformation. However, integrating them with new systems isn’t entirely impossible. With a few essential guidelines, you can have a successful legacy modernization process.

Factors for Successful Legacy Modernization

Legacy modernization is a process that comes with a fair share of challenges and risks. There are also cost and time resources involved. Most legacy systems took developers years to develop and hence would take time to replace or modify.

In other cases, legacy modernization is inhibited by an unwillingness by personnel to adjust to changes. Motivating, training, and coaching them towards that direction might be costly and time-consuming.

Regardless of these challenges, here is a procedure you can follow to enhance your success rate.

1. Assess the Current Legacy System

Assessing the state of your legacy system is crucial because it may not be old or outdated. There could be aspects of the system that are still functional. In doing your assessment, strive to uncover current and potential issues that may be problematic in the future.

Do a thorough and detailed assessment. Study the underlying technology, codes, and architecture. Consider how the system looks and how it feels to use it in relation to other systems.

2. Consider the Architecture of the Systems

One reason why legacy systems fail to work is their overly complex systems. In legacy modernization, less complexity is desirable and also works best. Both the architecture and functionality of the systems should remain as simple as possible.

A successful approach to modernization is to embrace the Service-Oriented Architecture. This is technology that reaches the cloud and the time it takes for its development is relatively shorter. Alternatively, you can use a microservices architecture approach that makes your product scalable.

A microservice is an application that you deploy from your legacy system to run a single business function. You can integrate it with other interfaces, and it comes with its own data storage.  

3. Use Application Program Interfaces

Old technology doesn’t lose its value. If your legacy system meets your business requirements, make it better by integrating it with the latest technology. This will save you the initial costs of total technology replacement.

One approach to legacy modernization is the use of APIs. The interfaces are available in different sizes and layers. You can deploy them to

  • Unlock data from systems
  • Compose data into processes
  • Deliver experiences

Using APIs in the modernization of software requires the input of developers. APIs are continually evolving, and it’s only fair that you get the input of experts in the area.

4. Choose a Reliable Technology Stack

In the process of reengineering your legacy system, choose a future-ready technological stack. The technology you choose should depend on specific functions. To make the right choice, consult with your internal IT staff or a professional consultancy.

The best technology stack should help build a reliable, performing, and efficient system.

5. Consider Replacing the Entire Application

If you determine that your business could do better without the legacy system, replace it in its entirety. Most market-leading organizations readily embrace change. This alters their course for the better when new opportunities come along.

The cost and complexity of your legacy system shouldn’t limit you from extending your horizons. Replacing the entire system could mean migrating to cloud apps. However, not all aspects of the system will be useful for your business.

6. Document for Future Growth

As you work towards legacy modernization, adopt a best practices approach. This helps you avoid the same mistakes that led you to the point of reengineering your system. Work with a set of internal processes and coding standards.

Orderly documented codes make it easy to understand our software, extend it, and maintain it in the future.

7. Train Your Team

Your legacy modernization budget should also cater for the training of your team. Employees who have worked with old systems for years may find it hard to adapt to a new one. They, therefore, need guidance to understand and master the new software.

Investing in staff training will improve overall business performance and efficiency. Besides, you should also plan for regular system updates. Ignoring updates will see you faced with another modernization challenge.

Final Thoughts

Legacy systems may not work in the best interest of your business. They may lack features that enhance efficiency and business performance. If your legacy system is no longer working for you, consider legacy modernization.

Modernization of your applications leverages big data technologies for modern systems. It’s important to be aware of the components of your system that may require modernization. Once you identify, choose reliable technology approaches to upgrade your system.

If modernizing various components puts your system at risk, you can consider overhauling the system. This will depend on your business needs and what you hope to achieve. Most importantly, work with a professional to guide you on the modernization process.

Be sure to continue reading our business articles to stay educated and informed.