Legacy app modernization for enterprises: priorities, challenges, advice

February 27, 2024
Legacy app modernization for enterprises: priorities, challenges, advice

Recent years have shown that business modernization is more than just getting things done, but rather doing things right. To deliver better customer service, increase operational efficiency, and improve data management, companies adopt the latest tech and hire new talent. And yet, many organizations struggle with legacy modernization efforts they have begun, stumbling upon the lack of expertise and the need for a cultural shift.

Transformation can bring benefits in the long run, but you want to be sure that now you make informed decisions and invest in a feasible strategy. Read on to learn what it may look like for your business.

Goals for legacy transformation are shifting

Organizations that have embraced digital transformation are now refining strategies based on lessons learned. A Harvard Business Review survey indicates that executives consider their efforts more effective today, better recognizing the required partnerships, target customers, and the future of their business.

In recent years, for example, internal processes, business continuity, and agility have taken priority, reflecting the time when companies adjusted to new technology and processes. Looking ahead, businesses emphasize scalability, security, customer satisfaction, and enterprise data analysis for better insights.

Legacy Modernization for Enterprises - Legacy transformation goals

There are those still contemplating modernization. The RedHat survey showed that today, companies plan to rapidly transform their workloads in less than a year driven by innovation and new business opportunities.

Today, modernization needs to run swiftly and smoothly, as most companies aim to transform major workloads within a year.

To achieve the goals effectively, it is crucial to follow a proven methodology, adopt the right technology, and promote agile adaptation.

Top legacy modernization challenges

In the modernization journey, companies battle with challenges that could hamper success.

Readiness to migrate from legacy

Getting teams to break up with the old and embrace the new can be tough. Such resistance is often rooted in prior investments, familiarity, and potential business disruption risks.

Common reasons enterprises stick to their legacy
Read more

Identifying best-suited technology

Selecting and integrating advanced technologies for compatibility and future scalability is a complex task. To enhance and future-proof operations, businesses need to strategically weigh opportunities and make informed decisions for sustained growth.

Acquiring the right talent

Transformation revolves around people with the necessity to invest in their development. However, many organizations experience personnel challenges, involving recruiting and retaining talent to strengthen modernization efforts and commit to a culture of continuous improvement. 

Time pressures

Time constraints often stem from poor allocation of efforts and the inability to align teams within the organization. People usually need to juggle multiple tasks, involving ongoing and modernization projects. So without proper scheduling, prioritization, and transparent communication, hitting project deadlines becomes an intricate balancing task.

Budget constraints

For companies that are already undergoing transformation or just planning to, this issue remains top of the list. Even though modernization may involve significant investment costs, it is possible to make it effective with a thorough plan in place. In some scenarios, the cost of system maintenance may far exceed those spent on modernization, with software support contracts, hiring challenges, and missed opportunities.

How to mitigate: practical advice

While there are numerous obstacles down the transformation journey, organizations can reduce the burden by following best practices.

1. Assess your IT infrastructure

Look closer at your app portfolio to understand what services and why need modernization. There are common factors to consider when transforming legacy systems.

Business factors

Cost efficiency: What are savings achieved through modernization vs. maintenance and support?

Productivity: Can upgrading improve user experience, leading to increased satisfaction and productivity?

Compliance: How compliant are the legacy systems with the latest industry regulations, and what risks do non-compliance pose?

Customer experience: How can modernization enhance the customer experience and meet dynamic expectations?

Technical factors

Scalability: Is the legacy system struggling to handle increased data volume and user demands?

Security: Are there potential security risks associated with the aging systems?

Compatibility: Are there compatibility issues with newer software and hardware affecting system performance?

2. Involve stakeholders

Identify what exactly turns your customers around, outline areas for immediate modernization, and run the cost-benefit analysis . Backed up with these findings, you can ensure you gain leadership support and the necessary resources to achieve success.

3. Assemble teams

Build a team with the right technical expertise to support your mission. Onboard individuals who can address specific technology needs, including both technical and business leaders. This diverse team will drive holistic modernization efforts, fostering ownership, minimizing resistance to change, and promoting a transparent culture.

4. Partner

The recent survey found that only 31% of applications will be fully modernized in-house, with the remaining 69% managed entirely by external dedicated teams or through collaboration with internal staff. Such partnerships are crucial for filling the knowledge gap, especially when dealing with outdated or rare tech, with few experienced engineers and limited documentation.

External partners play a pivotal role in ~ 70% of application modernization projects, leading internal teams or spearheading transformation directly.

5. Train

Provide opportunities for ongoing learning and innovation, educating teams on the use of modern tech, agile methodologies, and industry best practices.

More on legacy transformation: 3 tips for executives

1. Opt for diverse modernization strategies

It is important to select a modernization strategy aligned best with your workloads. Quite often, companies select a combination of approaches based on the system’s maturity, the modernization process stage, or the engineering team's expertise. For example, refactoring is usually a two-step process, with 90% of organizations replatforming their legacy first. Additionally, developers tend to be more cautious about bold strategies and prefer rehosting instead, unlike software architects or IT executives.

The 6 Rs of application modernization
6 common ways to modernize your legacy system
Read more
2. Inventor your data

No matter what modernization approach you choose, data management should be a top priority. Ensure your crucial data stays accessible and secure during the process, while also eliminating siloed data to save time and reduce transformation complexity.

3.Change gradually

Instead of undertaking a massive overhaul, break down modernization efforts into manageable pieces of work. This allows you to proactively improve, reduce the disruptions risks, and help teams adapt better.

Key TYMIQ’s advice: Modernization is already a complex task. Choose a seamless, low-risk path to avoid unwanted disruptions.

Partner with a team of experts like us to propel your modernization and address every challenge. Contact us to learn more.

Design your transformation strategy and pave the way to success

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