Business never change, however ways to conduct business keeps changing
Change is inevitable and to continue to be profitable, businesses have to adapt to changing times. Technology has been instrumental in how business is conducted nowadays steering it through periodic information technology advancements, business competition, and changing government policies.
Legacy modernization refers to the process of converting legacy application systems to a modern system, protocol or platform. A very important part of it includes retention of the existing business functionalities and extending all business values amassed over the years to the preferred new platform. The challenge lies in correct assessment of the core of legacy applications and ensuring that the entire wealth of legacy assets is retained along with its gamut of business rules and protocols with added technological improvements and delivering the desired business functionality to the various client interfaces.
In a nutshell, to “modernize” a legacy application indicates porting the existing legacy code to new architecture or platform while utilizing the business functionality and services the existing application offers. Ideally there are only few options to modernize legacy applications, which are to:
The best choice would be to select an option that yields maximum benefits with minimum risks; one that would leverage the existing business values of legacy system into the migrated environment seamlessly with provision and support for future business initiatives.
As long as the existing application caters to all the organizational needs and technical advancements such as web, mobile, remote accessibility etc. there is no need to change the legacy application.
In the short run, organizations could also consider maintaince of their legacy system to fix any halting bugs and may also undertake enhancements without affecting the existing business functionality. If they do not possess these resources in-house, they can approach a suitable vendor who specializes in such services.
However in the long run, modernization is the most ideal step for an organization to adapt to changing business and IT trends for sustaining the business value that it has accrued over the years.
All existing business applications are outcome of previous capital investments made. Changes in technology greatly influence these business investments as its utility value keeps diminishing over time. Greater the depreciation in competence of these applications, the more “legacy” the application becomes.
“Maintenance” of the legacy code in the form of investing on enhancements to align its applications as closely to the shifting business needs, is a viable option. But soon a time will definitely come when the weight of business changes cannot be met within the technical boundaries of the existing technology. For instance, granting web, mobile accessibility and other major infrastructural changes.
The inspiration for improvement in the way business is conducted, and to seize the competitive advantage technology provides, is what drives the need for legacy modernization.
Legacy Modernization is an expansive step for business and technology and is a big strategic decision that a company has to make.
The following are some scenarios that shed light on the path towards legacy modernization.
Legacy Applications, which often forms the base for a business, can be metaphorically depicted as the heel of a foot that supports the entire body of business value, process, data etc.
However in spite of its enormous significance it may prove to be an “Achilles' heel” for a business’ growth opportunities. It has its weaknesses such as inflexibility to accommodate technological renovations, curtailed accessibility in extending functionalities to clients and low adaptability to web, mobile and other integrations.
Organisations could stay put in legacy code, only if
Technology oriented functioning of business and the consequent changes it imposes on the application workflow, has made “maintenance” an inevitable part of any business application’s life cycle. More often than not, compelling reasons like cost, complexity of business workflow and even time, force organizations to consider “maintenance”, through necessary enhancements, over migrating to new technology.
Organizations could continue with “maintenance”, only if
The looming need to migrate legacy application takes more momentum when “maintenance” fails, i.e. when the application is nearly impossible to extend and has lost all its agility, flexibility and extensibility leaving “modernization” as the only option.
What does the organization do to “modernize”?
The choices vary from “very trivial” which is to merely replace its legacy applications with COTS, or a “modest” attempt of rewriting the legacy code “as-is” in new technology, or otherwise doing the most “substantial” step that of taking up total transformation in new technology, through architectural driven modernization.
The choice could be any, as long as it helps to -