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Want to keep getting value from your existing business information systems? You need a game plan for application modernization. 

You’re not alone. Every organization I talk to feels the pressure to keep pace with the cloud and the internet of things (IoT) and leverage big data. But wait, there’s more: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Blockchain are also disrupting your business. No matter your industry, you’re also a technology company. Rapid innovation is essential If you’re to compete, optimize business processes, transform business models, and meet security and compliance demands. 

You must also meet employee expectations. As a business leader, you want agility and flexibility – they do too. Remote work means your team members want to connect to any application from anywhere on any device, securely and efficiently. Cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery models only get you so far – digital transformation can’t be done overnight.  

If you have legacy systems – and most businesses do – they need to be adapted. Enter application modernization.  

Why You Should Modernize Legacy Systems 

If “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is often why legacy systems endure, especially in large, well-established organizations.   

Legacy applications are critical to core operations, but it can be hard to update them with the latest and greatest functionalities. Your IT team must juggle to keep them running smoothly and meet current-day needs – it’s time-consuming, resource-intensive and costly. 

Ironically, cost is what’s probably keeping you from starting your application modernization journey. But if you’re serious about digital transformation, you can’t afford not to. It’s essential for leveraging emerging technologies and empowering your business users. Competitive advantage and data security should be enough incentive to look at how you can modernize applications. 

Organizations that keep maintaining aging infrastructure are hampering business agility and productivity. They have thousands of systems operating to support budgeting, order processing, invoices, approvals, and so on are all vital to how an enterprise functions, but they can also be overly complicated, and prone to manual errors.  

These organizations also tend to have multiple systems that serve similar functions. A single task can force employees to jump from system to system. Significant time is lost duplicating data and searching for it across multiple legacy systems. Not only does this hamstring productivity, but businesses struggle to react in a timely manner to disruption and new opportunities. 

IT staff and budgets are anchored to running current processes or maintenance – there’s little wiggle room for innovation. Legacy applications and aging infrastructure are a drain on resources – application modernization is the proverbial plug. 

Done right, it saves you money in the long term. Goodbye costly capital expenses – say hello to manageable and scalable operating systems, and increased productivity and staff retention. They’re spending less time maintaining and troubleshooting. Instead, they’re developing and deploying. You’re getting more from your IT talent as business users benefit from new features and functionalities that propel the organization forward. 

Application Modernization Can Be Done in Many Ways 

The good news is there’s many was to slice application modernization. You can: 

  • Replatform: Few changes to code are needed, but you must still modify it to ensure the application properly interacts with third-party tools and databases. 
  • Refactor: You can improve code structure without changing its functionality by cleaning up lines of complex code, reducing redundancies or errors, and making the code readable and manageable. 
  • Rewrite: Less demanding but pricier, rewriting is common for financial and business applications, many of which were originally written in COBOL, the first popular programming language designed to be operating system agnostic. 
  • Rearchitect: You can redesign the existing architecture with new advanced computing concepts to preserve most of the business logic and avoid building an entirely new application. 
  • Rebuild: You can rebuild legacy applications to have a cloud-native architecture. 

No matter which route you take, application modernization isn’t about starting from scratch. Rather, you take the bones and DNA of the original software and evolve it to meet today’s needs. 

Star The Application Modernization Journey with Containers 

No matter the application that’s getting modernized or how you decide to do it, agility and quality must be kept top of mind. That’s where container technology comes in.  

Containers package and isolate applications with all the files necessary for them to run. This allows you to migrate legacy applications to a modern environment. Containers also ensure long-term portability – you can move them as needed and maintain complete functionality. A cloud-native container platform can handle a wide variety of programming languages and frameworks, including Java, .NET, elixir, or any current or future types of code. You’ll enjoy a level of flexibility not available with legacy systems. 

Cloud-native containers have quickly become a reliable, cost-effective path to application modernization, beginning with pioneers such as Docker and Kubernetes. Today, there’s no shortage of container technology providers and cloud environments to run them, including Microsoft, AWS, Red Hat, and Google, among many others. 

Application modernization also requires that you move digital assets such as data, workloads, IT resources, or applications from an on-premises (“on prem”) environment to a cloud infrastructure. Like application modernization, cloud migration offers many benefits: 

  • Elasticity and scalability: The cloud lets you almost instantaneously add or take away resources on an as-needed basis or to match changing demand – computing power, memory, networking, and storage resources. 
  • Cost savings and effectiveness: You only pay for the resources you use, allowing you to rein in costs, and get a bigger bang for your buck. 
  • Agility and flexibility: You can quickly develop, test, and launch business applications at an optimal time to respond to market demands. 
  • Performance, reliability, and resiliency: Cloud providers run a worldwide, world-class network of facilities packed with cutting-edge technology – infrastructure and applications are highly available and error-tolerant. You can count on low network latency and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with unparalleled data backup and disaster recovery capabilities. 
  • Reduced maintenance and simplified IT: Because your cloud provider takes care of maintaining infrastructure, your IT staff is free to drive innovation without the distraction of legacy systems. 
  • Security and compliance: Technical controls protect company assets guided by knowledge of regulatory frameworks and privacy legislation, be it local, national or international. 

Your application modernization journey enables you exploit cloud-native architectures and container technology as part of your broader digital transformation efforts. No matter the application or chosen cloud environment, the Architech team is well-equipped to guide you wherever you are in the process. 

Start your application modernization journey today. Connect with our Distinguished Engineer to learn how Architech can accelerate your digital transformation. 

Balaji Abiraman
DevOps Practice Lead

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