Legacy systems today are often crucial to the proper functioning of an organization. However, they involve high operational costs and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the right people to manage and maintain them.
It is quite a challenge to align these outdated and often monolithic applications with the current and future digital age, in addition to keeping them up-to-date in line with the speed at which companies are moving. As a result, a company may no longer be able to respond quickly enough to the needs and expectations of its industry and/or customers.
Correct management of your application landscape and deployment of a modernization process will help you to switch gears quick enough. Modernizing also reduces your technical debt backlog. And the timing is perfect: there's no time like the present. There are various ways to get started and we will explain them to you.
The right tactics for your context
Once you’ve made the decision to modernize an application, it’s time to dive into the deep end. The current application landscape must be mapped out in detail and evaluated in order to determine the best way to modernize it. A number of questions must be answered, such as: Can a certain application be deployed in the cloud?
In addition, it is also good to have a functional discussion: Where should the application landscape evolve? Which business needs are covered or not (yet) covered now?
All this information is weighed up to make some architectural choices and identify the technical requirements of the modernization project. It's a good idea to present the chosen way forward to all stakeholders, so that everyone is on the same page and a concrete action plan can be created.
Once everything is mapped out and it is clear what modernization is needed, a whole range of modernization strategies can be deployed. The most appropriate can be determined on the basis of the available budget and the requirements resulting from the previous investigation.
- Rehost: The aptly named Lift & Shift. This is purely about infrastructure. The servers are moved to the cloud, but the applications remain untouched.
- Replatform: Traditional infrastructure components are replaced by Platform as a Service (PaaS) components, e.g. the database, identity and application servers. The added value at the application level is still very limited, but a re-platforming strategy does deliver an immediate significant reduction in costs in terms of infrastructure and its management.
- Refactor: The existing code is reviewed in detail, and changes are made in order to bring the code up to today's level. The application is usually split into several parts for this task, and refactoring is carried out one module at a time.
- Rebuild: This involves a full rewrite of the existing application(s).
- Retire: If the undertaking is no longer worth the effort, then nothing is done and the application is quietly killed off.
- Retain: Of course, it can always be a valid decision not to modernize yet and to (temporarily) keep the application in its current form.