Legacy Software Modernization
Modernize Your Business
An ever-increasing reliance on software to conduct business coupled with a continually evolving technology industry means organizations need some form of investment in their software products to stay competitive. Users are becoming more sophisticated in their expectations of what a software product should offer, whether using ever-more-complex traditional desktop applications or desiring more location- and device-independent offerings through web applications. Mobile device prevalence adds a further layer where users expect access to some or all of their software’s functionality through an app on their phone. Organizations that keep up to date with or even drive evolution in user and market trends for software products can expect deeper engagement with their customers and broader market reach.
What Is Legacy Software?
Legacy software can mean several things. Systems that were designed and implemented before modern usage paradigms (web, mobile) or implemented using outdated or unsupported technology stacks can be considered legacy. Poorly implemented software that provides a substandard user experience or is costly to operate can also be considered legacy. Changes in markets, legal requirements, user expectations, or competition can even move otherwise perfectly valid solutions into a “legacy” state if the systems cannot easily be adapted to meet the new requirements.
What Is Legacy Software Modernization?
Modernizing legacy software is a range of processes around enhancing, updating, or replacing a software system with something that meets updated requirements, is more engaging to use, or is cheaper to maintain, operate, and scale. There are many activities included within this concept - the chosen activities for a given modernization effort depend on the desired outcome and budget availability. These activities can vary from continuous, ongoing improvement in a business’s software products; occasional, infrequent enhancement spikes to improve certain areas; through to completely replacing aging or costly systems with more modern, cost-effective alternatives.
Why Choose SitePen?
SitePen has extensive experience in designing and implementing software applications at the leading edge of user engagement paradigms. Since inception, our focus has been creating exceptional web applications that delight users; however, our expertise extends beyond this to include desktop and mobile application development, including uplift and migration of systems across these paradigms. Many of our enterprise clients have engaged us for our ability to analyze existing legacy systems and design and implement modern web-focused replacements that drive improved customer experience and engagement.
Benefits of Legacy Software Modernization
Certain legacy software may have never been designed to scale horizontally. When trying to increase such a system’s capacity, businesses need to purchase larger and exponentially more costly individual machines to scale vertically instead. Additionally, finding people with the necessary skills to enhance or operate the legacy system from a dwindling pool of resources requires significant investment in a seller’s market. Such factors can quickly outpace the equivalent costs of implementing and operating a more efficient, up-to-date replacement system.
Trends in application security are also constantly changing in line with advancements in privacy laws across the globe. Users expect to have their data held and operated securely, in line with their local security legislation. Advances in computational power and security research also mean previously-secure encryption algorithms need replacing with updated alternatives over time. Keeping up with these types of security-related software modernization efforts is increasingly becoming a legal requirement for most organizations.
Modern trends around compute and storage virtualization have opened up more cost-effective ways to host and operate software systems. Companies can make more effective use of their existing hardware, achieving higher ongoing utilization and reducing overspend on unneeded infrastructure, or they can outsource infrastructure and middleware system management entirely to third-party cloud vendors. This direction has opened up new ways of developing systems that are simpler to implement and scale. However, legacy systems need to be adapted or replaced to use these advances in runtime simplification and hosting options.
Our Software & Systems Modernization Process
At SitePen, our focus is on helping our clients to provide the best experience for their end-users. We are passionate about designing and implementing software solutions that engage users and make performing their tasks more enjoyable and productive. Our work includes analyzing legacy systems to identify improvement areas where minimum investment can realize maximum increases in user satisfaction and operational efficiency. We explore a range of alternatives that enhance existing systems where possible or migrate to new solutions that better meet updated requirements. Cost management is also key, with all possible modernization options weighed against the investment needed to achieve them and structured as phased deliverables to realize value throughout a modernization project. The assembled matrix forms the basis for selecting the most appropriate modernization approach that best meets your needs and budget. With a strategy agreed, SitePen can begin work with your technology teams or as a standalone delivery function to implement the desired modernization plan.
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Software Modernization FAQs
Any business that relies on decades-old software should keep a close eye on the ongoing costs required to maintain their legacy systems and weigh such costs against those needed for modernization efforts to see if cost saving over the longer term is possible. Businesses with software systems that may be satisfactory for current needs but do not allow them to reach new market opportunities can use modernization to extend their systems appropriately. Other types of businesses that would benefit from modernization are those with software systems that are not user-friendly or counterproductive to user efficiency - modernization can help improve user experience and engagement in such systems with comparably little investment required.
The time required to modernize a system depends entirely on the chosen modernization strategy. On the upper end of the scale, this would be equal to building a new replacement system, including any migration required between old and new systems once the new system is operational. More straightforward strategies such as smaller enhancements on existing systems will typically require less time. Whichever approach is chosen, it is very likely that some phasing is possible, meaning modernization efforts can deliver value incrementally without having to wait for a big-bang replacement.
Similar to time requirements, costs for software modernization can vary significantly and depend on which modernization strategy is chosen. As costs can quickly spiral, careful cost analysis and management are required to keep modernization efforts in line with budgets. An important factor to determine is the “cost tipping point” where cost of whichever chosen migration strategy falls below that of the ongoing maintenance cost of operating the legacy system. Modernizing a system may also open up new market opportunities, so the exact cost tipping point can vary backwards and forwards on a budget timeline and requires careful analysis to determine correctly. Organizations should start planning for modernization efforts well in advance of reaching their cost tipping point.