Unlocking Growth: The Top Benefits of Application Modernization for Businesses

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

The tech world is a constant race for the cutting edge. Businesses need to innovate, adapt, and stay one step ahead to win. That’s where application modernization comes in. This involves taking your outdated apps and giving them a makeover with the latest tech. In this article, let’s take a look at the top reasons why application modernization is a game-changer for businesses and why it’s crucial to thrive in today’s digital world.

What Is Application Modernization?

The process of modernizing outdated software to use newer computing techniques, such as improved infrastructure platforms, languages, and frameworks, is known as application modernization. This technique is also occasionally referred to as legacy application modernization or legacy modernization.

Applications Modernization Patterns

There’s no single right way to modernize an application. The following patterns provide different levels of change and complexity, allowing you to find the best fit for your system:

Lift and Shift

Also known as rehosting, this approach involves transferring an existing application from a legacy environment (like an on-premises server) to modern infrastructure, such as a public cloud platform.

This is the least disruptive option, getting you up and running quickly with minimal changes. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution – some applications might need a bit more TLC to truly thrive in their new home.

Refactoring

Think of refactoring as giving your application a makeover. This method involves taking a close look at the code and architecture, then optimizing it for a new environment, often the cloud.

Refactoring can involve significant code changes and even a complete rewrite in some cases. But the payoff can be big. Developers can break down a large, complex application (a monolith) into smaller, independent components called microservices.

These microservices are like tiny, self-contained components, making them easier to manage and update. Plus, they play nicely with the latest cloud features like containers, which are like pre-built shipping boxes for your code.

Replatforming

Replatforming strikes a balance between lift and shift and refactoring. It doesn’t require a full code overhaul, but it does involve some tweaks to make your legacy application more comfortable in the cloud.

These adjustments may include modifying or replacing the application’s backend database, among other enhancements.

Key Technologies for Application Modernization

Application modernization relies on a toolkit of powerful technologies. Let’s dive into the key players that will transform your legacy systems:

  1. Cloud Computing: With services like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), you can ditch the heavy lifting of managing hardware and focus on what matters – building amazing applications. Cloud solutions offer scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, letting your apps grow as your needs do without breaking the bank.
  2. Containers and Container Orchestration: Technologies like Docker and Kubernetes allow for the packaging and deployment of applications in lightweight, portable containers. Container orchestration platforms streamline container management, scaling, and resource allocation.
  3. Microservices Architecture: Ever seen a building so massive it blocks the sunlight? That’s kind of what monolithic applications can be like – cumbersome and difficult to maintain. Microservices architecture flips the script by breaking down these giants into smaller, independent, and easily deployable services. This approach offers agility, making it easier to update individual pieces without impacting the entire system.
  4. APIs and API Management: Exposing your app’s functionalities as APIs, you open up the door for integration with other systems, which fosters communication, flexibility, and reusability, allowing your apps to seamlessly interact and share data with others. Think of APIs as a universal language that lets your app speak to and understand other programs. API management platforms further enhance this by providing security, versioning, and monitoring capabilities, keeping your app’s communication channels smooth and secure.
  5. DevOps Practices: The key to modern application development lies in collaboration. DevOps practices bridge the gap between development and operations teams, fostering teamwork and streamlining processes. By automating tasks through continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, you can ditch the manual work and focus on innovation.

Benefits of Application Modernization

Modernizing your applications isn’t just about today’s challenges; it’s about future-proofing your business. Here’s what you gain:

Enhanced Performance and Scalability

One of the biggest benefits of modernization is a dramatic leap in performance and scalability. Imagine your applications effortlessly handling more users and data, even during peak hours. Modernization achieves this by leveraging cutting-edge tools like cloud architecture, microservices, and containerization.

Cost Reduction and Resource Optimization

Legacy applications can be expensive to maintain. They gulp up hardware resources and require specialized skills to keep them running. Modernization tackles this problem head-on by migrating your apps to the cloud. This frees you from managing physical servers, saving you money and streamlining operations. Modernized apps are also easier to maintain, so you can ditch the constant tinkering and focus on growing your business.

Improved User Experience

In today’s digital age, user experience plays a crucial role in the success of apps. Legacy applications, with their outdated interfaces and functionality, often fail to meet the expectations of modern users. Modernization lets you revamp your app’s look and feel, making it user-friendly and intuitive. Plus, you can add exciting new features that keep users engaged and coming back for more.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

Security is a top concern for businesses operating in today’s interconnected world. Application modernization services let you implement robust security features like encryption and access controls, keeping your data safe and sound. This also ensures compliance with the latest data protection regulations.

Accelerated Time-to-Market

In today’s fast-paced business world, legacy apps can slow you down with their cumbersome development processes. Modernization allows you to embrace cutting-edge development practices like DevOps and CI/CD pipelines. As a result, you can deliver new features and updates to your users lightning-fast, keeping them happy and giving you a competitive edge.

Facilitated Integration and Interoperability

Ever feel like your business is stuck in a maze of outdated software? Different systems don’t talk to each other, creating data silos and slowing you down. That’s where application modernization can help.

Modernization facilitates seamless integration and interoperability by adopting open standards, APIs, and middleware solutions that enable communication and data exchange between disparate systems.

Future-Proofing and Long-Term Viability

Modernization isn’t just about fixing what’s broken today. It’s about safeguarding your business for the future. Legacy apps are destined to become outdated and expensive to maintain. By modernizing, you embrace cutting-edge tech and architectures, ensuring your systems stay flexible and adaptable. This keeps you ahead of the curve in a digital world that’s constantly changing, giving you the edge you need to stay competitive.

How to Perform Legacy Application Modernization

Modernizing legacy applications requires a strategic approach. Here’s a breakdown of the key phases involved:

Legacy application modernization typically follows a structured approach consisting of two main phases: initial assessment and execution. During the initial assessment phase, the team collaborates to evaluate the entire application portfolio and gain insights into each application’s specifics. This assessment involves rating applications based on various criteria such as technical complexity, integration with other systems, expected return on investment, and catalysts for change. 

Applications with higher ratings undergo further analysis to estimate the modernization efforts required. The assessment process continues iteratively until all apps are evaluated. Then, the team establishes priorities and develops an application modernization roadmap.

Once the assessment phase is concluded, the execution phase starts. Following the established roadmap, the team proceeds with modernizing the selected applications. The typical steps involved in the execution phase include:

  • Design and Architecture: Planning and designing the modernization approach, including architectural considerations and technology choices.
  • Implementation: Executing the modernization plan, which may involve various strategies such as rehosting, redeploying, replatforming, refactoring, rearchitecting, or replacing the application components.
  • Validation and Testing: Assessing the modernized application for correctness, functionality, and performance through comprehensive testing and validation procedures.
  • Deployment: Rolling out the modernized application into production environments, ensuring a smooth transition and minimal disruption to users.

It’s important to note that the execution phase can follow either a waterfall or iterative model. In the waterfall model, each step is completed sequentially for the entire app before moving on to the next phase. On the other hand, in the iterative model, the execution steps are applied iteratively to smaller sections of the application, allowing for incremental progress and feedback incorporation.

Trends in Application Modernization

Application modernization is embracing flexibility and customization. Here are the key trends to watch:

Application modernization is witnessing significant trends, mainly in the realms of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. Here’s what’s trending:

  • Going Multi-cloud: Imagine having the best of both worlds from different cloud providers. That’s the magic of multi-cloud. Companies are using two or more public cloud services to save money, have more flexibility, and keep their applications running smoothly, no matter what.
  • Hybrid Power: Some companies want to keep some things on-premises, while enjoying the benefits of the cloud. Hybrid cloud environments let them mix public cloud resources with their own data centers, all connected seamlessly for easy data flow and operations.
  • Containers on the Rise: Containers are like tiny shipping containers for your code. They package everything an application needs to run smoothly, making it easy to deploy and manage across different environments.  Legacy applications can even be containerized, but they truly shine when building new apps with a microservices architecture, where each part of the application acts independently.

Modernization is the answer to getting your existing apps to work with new cloud environments. Instead of a complete rebuild, teams can update their applications to work perfectly in these multi-cloud and hybrid cloud setups.

Conclusion

The imperative for businesses to remain competitive hinges on their ability to adapt and modernize. Application modernization is not just a technical upgrade; it’s a strategic investment that propels businesses forward, enhancing efficiency, security, and user engagement. Companies can transform their legacy applications into dynamic, scalable systems that drive growth and innovation by adopting cloud computing, containerization, microservices, and robust API integrations. 

The modernization process involves careful planning, execution, and continuous improvement, but the outcomes—cost savings, improved performance, and future-proofing—far outweigh the challenges. As businesses continue to face the complexities of digital transformation, the insights and trends outlined in this discussion provide a roadmap to not only survive but thrive in the digital era. Whether you’re just starting your modernization efforts or looking to refine your approach, the strategic integration of these technologies and practices will ensure your business remains resilient and competitive in an ever-changing technological environment.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.