Every sphere of business and technology change with times, and the further the faster. However, companies and organizations that invested considerable time and money in the initial development several years ago are faced with the question of either totally replacing their systems responsible for the core functionality or modernize them to the needs of time.
Modernization means transferring of the old systems, or so called legacy applications, to new programming languages and operating systems that correspond to the modern standards and are now flexible for further renovation.
Why to modernize legacy applications?
There can be different reasons of application modernization, but the most obvious and common are:
An overall transformation of business;
Changes inside an industry;
Appearance of new user devices, operation systems, browsers and their versions while the popularity of the old ones is going down;
Gaining of more flexibility and dynamic improvement of existing systems;
Converting the app to a newer, more efficient code makes it easier in the future to update application without having to rewrite or replace it entirely.
What are the business questions to ask yourself before starting app modernization? When the company decides to renovate their legacy applications, it should take into account numerous aspects, such as cost, time, and resources.
The following questions have to be well-thought out before the start:
What are the reasons for modernization? (see above)
How the value of the application increase if modernized?
Are there areas that will generate more value than others if modernized?
What and how much effort will be needed for modernization?
It is possible to make modernization with own forces or is an external help needed?
What are the potential risks?
What are the steps to start with?
1. Get rid of redundant functionality. Look through your system and analyze what areas are not used at all or the way they were meant to be used for. Talk to your users who can point out the things that could have escaped from your attention. Because of staff changes, the experienced users can have more information about how the application is used in reality then people in the IT department. Create a list of obsolete and rarely used areas. Think of their reasonability and possible ways of their future usage.
2. Connection between areas. Be mindful of the relationships between areas when you decide to get rid of one.
3. Get rid of redundant code. Before you chose any technology to go at, it is important to look through the code and determine do you really use all this code. Eliminate all that is waste.
4. Data migration. It is a huge task, an issue almost as big as migration of the whole application. It is indispensable to move all data and information that is really significant and influences other areas that you are going to transfer. The obsolete data should be deleted to free the space.
5. Roadmap for future. You should have a long-term plan for strategically development of your application modernization. Having an effective roadmap may be useful for selecting the technology to which transfer the application and calculating your budget phase by phase.
6. Select the technology. This question needs to be considered together with technical experts, developers and business analytics who are aware of peculiarities of your current system, your industry, business goals and are knowledgeable in modern IT tendencies, technologies, integration, migration and other development aspects. If your company has no tech guys it will be necessary to apply for a specialists from outside or find an IT development vendor.
7. Staff changes. Staff with dated skills should be able to work with the new technology and language used in the new system. Think about trainings for them. Your team may be also extended with new employees or outsourced specialists capable in new technologies.
8. Turning to an outside provider. If you do not have an IT department or the skills of your current staff are not enough for transferring the app into new technical rails you can turn to a software development vendor that specializes in assessing code and further development. This can result in lower costs and greater efficiency.
Anyway, your application will gain from careful preparation (clearing it from all unnecessary elements and creating a plan of improvements) before you start any actions on modernization. This will save your time, money and efforts when the development begins.
A never-ceasing creation of innovative IT products forces myriads of industries to follow the way of application modernization. Application Modernization is a popular business practice for many companies and organizations to rebuild their existing legacy applications.
To be cost-effective for the company, application modernization, in its preparation period, should include inspection and analysis of the current application, creating of a roadmap, identifying of risks, search for a vendor, and selecting technologies that will be most efficient and suitable for your systems.
Looking for a vendor who has knowledge and experience in the technologies and industries that your need is really important.
As a result of application modernization, you will get an application that is updated easier in the future with less efforts and costs.
Legacy Application, http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/legacy-application
Modernizing apps and migrating to the cloud: Challenges and trends, http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/answer/Modernizing-apps-and-migrating-to-the-cloud-Challenges-and-trends
Using old apps? New approaches for application modernization,
What you need to consider before modernizing legacy apps, http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/tip/What-you-need-to-consider-before-modernizing-legacy-apps
April 25, 2014