A legacy application is something like new wine in an old bottle. It continues to run on old, if not outdated technologies but is efficient enough to still support the important functions in an organization. Modernization is something that no company can afford to ignore lest they be left out. With new software applications being released frequently, companies need to upgrade their legacy applications.
One risk companies run with legacy applications is the frequent technical breakdowns that a modern company can ill-afford. Moreover, the need to contend with the challenges that globalization and digitization impose on businesses that still use outdated applications is keenly felt.
- Take stock of the situation
Firstly, you need to know where exactly you stand in today’s era of modernization. You certainly can’t rush into a modernization spree as it can have a profound impact on your infrastructure, and contrastingly, decisions taken with regards to your infrastructure could have adverse impacts on how your applications are delivered. You need to take some time to make a detailed assessment of your infrastructure and applications in order to know the impact modernization will have on your business. A few pointers that can help:
- Understand and mark out the applications that need to be upgraded or phased out gradually.
- Identify the outdated and unwieldy applications that need to be eliminated.
- Look for and identify applications that may have duel functions, and put them to good use.
- Check if some applications are too complex and try to simplify them to suit your needs.
- Strategy and approach
You should plan a strategy that includes prioritization of applications that need legacy modernization. Once you decide on your approach, the modern tools and updated methodologies will make a difference on life cycle of the application. There are several time tested approaches like:
- Maintaining status quo, ready to accept the inherent risks or rewards as the case may be.
- Consider re-hosting where you will have to shift a legacy system from your mainframe to an affordable and flexible system.
- You may considering deploying new software technologies that can analyze, break down and rebuild the legacy code to an all new language, yet maintaining the basic business logic.
- Go for pre-designed software that is available off-the-shelf that is offered by many third party vendors, which can be purchased outright or leased on long-term basis.
- Focus on quality
While attempting to revamp the system through legacy modernization it is important to focus on quality assurance. You need to be absolutely sure that the new legacy applications you propose to infuse is tested and technically sound. The quality assessment process should include case testing, acceptance testing (for users) and stress/load testing. If you intend to buy any off-the-shelf software solutions ask for a demo and check if it meets your standards and requirements. Remember that a modernization project means several changes; hence all the concerned people need to be apprised so that they can acclimatize themselves. If required, training sessions can be organized for the users.
- Back up and support
Lastly, this is a case of technology implementation and legacy application modernization is not a touch and go process. It is a continuous process, and the system needs to adapt to the changes in the environment lest there is marked decline in the very utility of the modernization, leave alone the benefits. Applications do have a life cycle and unless managed properly the performance could get affected. One great advantage is that most of the changes are effected using hybrid tools, hence time taken is reduced as are the costs involved. If handled and maintained properly, modernization of legacy applications can go more smoothly than you ever imagined.