Application Modernization – Why and When Should You Do It?

Traditionally, modernizing an application needs rewriting of the existing application code written in COBOL to a more modern, web-friendly language to extend the life of the application. For about three decades, modernizing legacy applications meant moving from Mainframe to PC, to web, to mobile, and now to cloud. What remained constant over time is the need to modernize. This is because keeping legacy software running smoothly is challenging, especially when it becomes incompatible with the underlying operating system. Today, enterprise-grade technology has made it easier for organizations to undergo modernization. Cloud services and open source have made it possible to build applications that meet modern users’ expectations.

Literally, application modernization refers to re-purposing legacy software applications to make it more relevant to current business needs. Simply put, it means replacing your older system to derive new business value. The goal is to reduce operating costs and increase ROI.  

The benefits of application modernization 

As the market is becoming more competitive, a successful application modernization effort can be beneficial for you in the long run. Here is why:

  • Reduced costs – On the infrastructure side, modernizing applications helps to reduce hardware, software and maintenance costs. Making use of cloud vendors’ utilities eliminates costly capital expenses. Maintaining legacy systems can be expensive as diagnosing problems may take hours or even days and you may need the help of skilled workers who are few. Modern applications are written in open source language, reducing the need to hire skilled workers.
  • Improves productivity – Open source code enables people with less knowledge of coding to diagnose and address application incidents and add new features also. Once they undergo modernization, companies can eliminate manual processes to a large extent and deliver entirely new services to their customers. By moving the entire workforce to the cloud, you can improve the productivity of your teams in day-to-day activities.
  • Improved customer experience – Modernization helps you to add value to your existing applications. You can transform your front-end user interfaces, create new features, automate manual processes, and even launch new services to provide a better customer experience.
  • Unlock new opportunities – An updated legacy system can open up new streams of revenue. Modernization enables you to innovate and create new services that add value to the customers. It makes you more flexible by allowing you to integrate the latest functionalities into your app.

When to modernize?

Although modernization is necessary, don’t jump on to the bandwagon just because everyone else is. Some technology may work for others but not for you. It’s important to analyze your requirements and identify in which areas you need to invest in. Being in the market is not just about surviving but innovating with time. When you are not able to do that anymore, it’s time to modernize your legacy applications. There are many such instances when modernization is necessary.

When your software is unable to perform the task for which it was designed, it’s a clear sign that you need to modernize your software. Issues such as outdated technology, lack of flexibility, unable to support expansion, high maintenance costs are all indicative of the fact that your software needs to be upgraded.

Having an application that is dependent on a particular device can also restrict the way you do business. In order to deliver an omnichannel experience as consumers expect today, applications must work smoothly on multiple operating systems. If your application fails to do that, it is time you undergo modernization.

Following in the same lines, if you want to reduce your dependence on hardware, application modernization is a must. Maintaining hardware is expensive and it often becomes outdated in a short time. This is the reason why many companies are shifting to the cloud as part of their application modernization efforts. 

Take your time!

All said modernization efforts require planning and strategy at the organizational level. The IT department and the business stakeholders have to work together to implement modernization. Your legacy applications are critical to your business and should not be discarded overnight. You need the right game plan and the right tools to modernize your applications without disrupting your business.