Path To Application Modernization
Things have never changed as fast as they are changing today. You can chalk up the shifts in how we are doing business to the rapid creation of technology. With so many advancements and innovative inventions, things quickly become outdated. Systems that were once top-of-the-line legacy systems are now nearly obsolete. You put a lot of money into building your systems, but now you are facing the need to modernize. As you look to update your applications, it is important to know that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. How you approach application modernization will be up to the system you have, your budget and your business goals.
Why Modernize Business Applications?
According to Markets and Markets, the demand for application modernization is expected to grow to 16.8 billion by 2024. Last year, an estimated 9.7 billion was spend on modernizing applications. This growth rate of 11.6% is projected because of the shift towards cloud and big data. As companies push towards these new platforms and hit higher expectations, they will need to alter their systems. Housing their applications on traditional infrastructure and hardware becomes much more expensive than shifting to the cloud-native technology.
The reason businesses are pushed to modernize really comes down to the bottom dollar. While it is expensive to overhaul their system or begin replacing elements, it is more expensive to hold out and deal with an outdated application.
Long-Term Savings with Modernization
The money saved with modernizing your applications can come in the form of lowered maintenance requirements, fewer security issues and reduced overhead. Most of the points for why systems need modernization ultimately deal with the bottom line, but there are direct costs related to housing old systems. Over time the savings is worth the initial cost to pay for the assessment and modernization services.
Business Wire has reported that office workers spend 552 hours every year doing repetitive administration tasks, like data entry and copying data from one system to another. Over $5 trillion is estimated to be lost each year in the global service industry because of productivity issues and 75% of office workers say new technology can improve their productivity.
With the right systems in place to better support your employees, you are likely to see profits and turnaround time increase. This can lead to better customer satisfaction and even higher employee retention rates.
The Cost of Threats
There are issues that could come up with noncompliance from outdated technology or increased threats. This can lead to a lawsuit that would more than make up for the cost of modernizing your applications. Noncompliance could be an issue with outdated processes and applications. These costly issues could end up a big gouge out of your company budget because you wouldn’t address the security of old systems.
You will struggle to match the competition if your software is sluggish. It is harder for your team to collaborate when they can’t connect to your other systems easily and they can’t access various parts on their devices. You will lose money from lower cycle speeds. With a better platform, you will give your employees the space they need to innovate and create.
There are a number of reasons you could need a systems change, including better user experience for the customer and better tracking of customer purchases and contacts. But what kind of change do you really need?
Options for Application Modernization
If you are ready to upgrade and get a better system in place, don’t plan to throw out the whole system from the start. There are other options you may want to consider. A legacy system is expensive to replace and it may be that you aren’t in a good place to make a change like that, or it may be that you just don’t need everything gutted. There are a number of different approaches that may apply to various components in your application modernization strategy.
Encapsulate: You could keep your features and value by creating an application programming interface (API). All data and implementation specifics will remain veiled by the interface.
Re-host: You can use the cloud or another physical or virtual location to move your applications without changing their makeup, functions or coding.
Re-platform: You can move your applications to a new platform that will require minimal coding changes to adapt without major structural changes.
Re-factor: Reduce your technical issues and improve on specific components by having code rewritten to restructure and optimize application performance.
Re-architect: Change the application code to shift the architecture and reveal improved functions and capabilities on the new platform.
Re-build: Rewrite components from scratch, considering the original scope and specifications for the final outcome.
Replace: Completely start over with a new application component to meet the needs for that application.
Your system updates may require one or a number of these approaches. You will need to take it on an individual application assessment approach—looking at the system as a whole, but diagnosing each part.
Understanding the System Problem
Before choosing an approach to your application modernization, you will have to consider what is causing your problems. There are three issues that you are likely to face:
Technology: Old and outdated components can face issues with updates, inability to work on devices, incompatibility with other applications and more. Technology issues tend to have more of a problem with underlying code, while the function and structure works well.
Architecture: The design and build of the component could be an issue that needs reworking. If the component is stuck on-site when you want it more agile on the cloud or something else is wrong with the underlying structure, then it could be in need of an overhaul to be more efficient for your uses.
Functionality: From UX to not having the right fields needed for data entry, your application component may need a re-design or replacement to be more effective. If your system is not growing well with the company, has overlapping parts or is too big, it could cause a functionality issue that slows productivity.
It can be easy to overlook things in functionality if you are too impressed by technology and vise-versa. But you really need your components to work well in all three areas for a good system. If there are issues, you don’t want to ignore them now that you are a in a place to get things fixed.
Getting Your Strategy in Place
It is important you know what you want out of your application modernization. As you take a good hard look at these systems, you will have to determine what is working and what is causing issues. When you hire someone to help you with the strategy, the first thing we are going to do is likely talk to you to find out what issues you are having and what goals you’d like to see met. Your strategy may contain a mixture of application changes to achieve modernization.
Complete Overhaul: There are times when the entire system needs to be replaced badly. This can be expensive, but if you’ve been sitting on outdated technology for years, it may be time to redefine your business. You will end up with all new processes, which makes this both risky and possibly very rewarding. You may end up paying a lot upfront, but you can save a lot on an efficient system in the long run.
Module Replacement: If you are wanting to make some big changes, but not ready for a complete overhaul, there could be sections that are done at given times. As you change out the systems, you will have to have them working seamlessly with both old and new components. This will cost less upfront, but will cost more over the long-term as each component is switched out for a better version.
Micro Replacement: You can pick your biggest points of pain and deal with them one change at a time. Making small changes is going to be a short-term strategy, but can stave off true emergencies while you prepare for the bigger changes needed.
Again, how you choose to approach your application modernization is up to you. You may feel one of these components are ideal, but may have to shift based on budget restrictions or system issues.
Replacing Your System with Microservices
When you are looking to upgrade your system, you may want to completely revamp your architecture and make it ready for future changes. Shifting your system to a microservices-based application setup will help it stay agile and save you money on changes in the future. This is the best way to protect your business system from needing an upgrade again in a few years.
The microservice architecture splits services into individual parts that make up the whole. Each part will process and communicate through an overarching framework that connects the parts. Individual sections might cover billing, maintenance, customer data and order fulfillment. The microservices approach allows your system to be:
As you move forward, each system is it’s own part. You will be able to change up one component without impacting the others. You can continue to make changes and shift for scalability, allowing you a faster time-to-market.
This system is not going to depend on a central database that is easy to disrupt, but their own understanding of data. Each microservice will work within its own section to perform specific tasks and utilize specific data.
Each part of the system will have it’s own function and focus. The sections don’t even reveal their complex parts to other sections, which stops dependencies. In fact, if a component becomes too complex, it can simply be divided into smaller service breakdowns.
Rather than get stuck on a specific language that could be outdated, the technology is stacked and the languages are used based on the requirements for that task. This achieves an efficiency and functionality that cannot be obtained with just a single programming language.
Nimble and Agile
You are better able to build, deploy and maintain new services with the microservices approach to services. This can reduce your cycle types and help your teams take charge of services and customer needs.
Checked for Failure
When something goes wrong, the isolated components make it easier to pinpoint the problem. From circuit breakers to code bugs, there is less of a problem with the unit when it is kept in the component and stopped from impacting the whole system. It is also easier to detect failure, isolate the problem and then fix it when the system is not completely interconnected.
This makes the microservices option much like containers that hold onto the code for a specific tool or function. They are packaged separately to increase flexibility and help you get long-term value from your applications.
Is Application Modernization Right for You?
The best way to find out about how your system looks on a structural and functional level is to have pros look at the code. But, if you are already asking, then you probably know the answer. If your system is not working well for you, you need to consider how it could be improved. Once you believe you know what areas are causing your pain, you will need to have an audit or application assessment.
A company that will assess your company should be concerned about:
- Your business goals
- Your current system pains
- Your staff needs
- Your personal business fears
- The current system build
- The budget
- An allocated timeline
After meeting you and going through your plans for a better system, the company should get to work in planning how this strategy should look. Whether you are replacing the whole system or parts, you need a team on board that has experience and offers an objective eye. The wrong professionals will overcharge you for small upgrades and recommend unnecessary fixes. If you are unsure, it doesn’t hurt to get more than one opinion
This is the right time to pay close attention to your struggles with your current application. You are in a position to choose the direction of your new system and get it done in a way that best fits your company. Talk to your staff to see if they have ideas that should be implemented and would make their lives better.
If you need help with assessing and revamping your system, we can help! Talk to us today to see what we can offer your business for a modernized business application fit.
Finding the Right Company to Perform Your Modernization Application Assessment
It is important to find a company skilled in making meaning out of lines of code and applications. We can help your business get the right systems in place with our suggestions. We provide:
Clear reports and strategies: You don’t have to wonder about recommendations—we will make our suggestions clear and provide you with the state of your applications.
Documentation of your current system: We will be mapping how your system works and interacts. We will provide you with a clear picture of how things are working together so you know how things will be affected if changes are made.
Clear cut costs and fixed plans: We won’t keep sliding the project costs on you. When we set up our strategy, we offer transparent pricing and project deadlines. We don’t want you to feel unsure about how things could change with a shifting estimate.
No hidden fees or strings: We always look to build solid relationships with our clients, but not at the cost of tricking them. We will be straightforward and make sure you are clear on all costs as we go. There aren’t any sneaky clauses or strings attached to force you to follow our suggestions or even use our company for the implementation phase.
Clarified need and ROI: You are going to need to prove the importance of application modernization to stakeholders and other employees. Our reports will help you show clear justifications for updating the systems.