Legacy System Modernization Approaches to Revamp Outdated Software

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Technology advances at a breakneck pace across a range of business sectors every year. Many businesses agree that staying current with modern business processes is essential to reaching the contemporary customer and producing continual advancement. However, many of these same companies continue to use outdated, or “legacy,” software throughout their practices.

Although legacy software presents serious disadvantages to businesses, many organizations are hesitant to begin modernizing their outdated software. If your company uses outdated programs, Prime TSR can help you achieve successful digital transformation through an efficient legacy modernization project.

Read on to learn the best legacy system modernization approaches and the numerous benefits of updating your company’s software.

What Is Application Modernization, and Why Do Companies Need It?

Application modernization, or legacy system modernization, is the practice of updating outdated programs and software to implement more modern protocols and programming languages. Legacy system modernization is an essential step in a business’s overall digital modernization efforts.

Companies that use legacy software lose out on the benefits of updated systems, such as:

  • Modern insights
  • Efficiency mechanisms
  • Software usability advancements

They often trail behind other organizations in their industries, and their business processes tend to mirror their outdated systems.

Additionally, most legacy applications require regular upkeep and maintenance that is more expensive than it is worth. Companies that use these systems may have trouble finding professionals who know how to maintain these systems properly. Instead of investing in new, modern software, these companies waste money maintaining outdated systems that offer few advantages to their companies.

Finally, companies that use legacy software often have trouble integrating more modern programs into their practices, necessitating outdated software in all of their procedures.

Companies cannot take advantage of modern technology while operating legacy software.

What Are the Overall Benefits of Application Modernization?

Legacy system modernization provides a wealth of benefits for systems across industries. Switching to more updated systems can produce the following benefits:

Gives Businesses a Competitive Advantage

Even if a company uses updated business practices, failing to modernize its IT systems could cause it to fall behind other companies in its industry. However, using the latest, most innovative enterprise software within business practices gives business owners an advantage over other companies in their industries.

Creates Opportunities for Future Growth

Legacy systems drastically hinder a business’s success and growth. Transitioning core business operations to an updated system can improve efficiency, allowing companies to focus more on development than maintaining existing processes.

Minimizes External and Internal Security Breaches

Outdated legacy systems typically do not contain the infrastructure necessary to protect business data against modern data breaches and cyber attacks. Internal and external security breaches are rampant among legacy systems. Employees and hackers alike can steal company data through these systems without businesses even realizing it.

However, when businesses modernize legacy systems, they often update their software to include modern security practices that keep their information safe against breaches.

Bridges the Gap Between Customer Expectations and Current Practices

According to a State of the Connected Customer report from Salesforce, 75% of customers expect businesses to use new technologies and updated practices in their business models. Even if customers do not see a business’s legacy systems, they can often tell that the company does not use modern practices through the work it produces from its legacy technology.

Updating legacy software is an important way to bridge the gap between expectations for a business and that business’s actual practices, creating more significant customer satisfaction.

Reduces Software Costs and Maximizes Profits

Many businesses running legacy software do not realize how costly it can be to use this outdated technology. However, companies that use outdated technologies tend to dedicate most of their IT budget to maintaining these systems, wasting money they could devote to growth and advancement.

One example of the steep running costs of these outdated legacy systems involves the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS still uses IT software that is close to 60 years old. On Tax Day in 2018, the organization failed to process electronic tax returns due to a legacy system error. This mistake was costly for the organization to correct.

Modernization improves business value, leading to better profits and financial growth in the long run. Legacy system migration allows businesses to

  • Adopt more modern processes
  • Improve efficiency
  • Reach more customers
  • Increase business value

Legacy system modernization not only saves money previously dedicated to maintaining outdated software.

Optimizes Data Analytics

Modernizing legacy systems gives businesses a newfound opportunity to begin using data-driven business models. Modern accounting software, for example, presents insightful data trends that financial institutions can use to improve customer experience or tailor their approaches strategically.

If businesses do not currently take advantage of data analytics, they can incorporate this new approach into their modernization journeys.

The Best Approach to Legacy System Modernization

Most IT experts recognize six primary approaches to application modernization. These include:

  • Encapsulation: Integrating the primary legacy component into a modern platform to improve UX
  • Rearchitecting: Changing and improving the legacy code structure to modern application architecture
  • Rebuilding: Implementing custom software development to meet a business’s specific needs
  • Refactoring: Improving a system’s existing code without changing its external processes
  • Rehosting: Moving the existing software to a new virtual environment, such as cloud infrastructure
  • Replatforming: Transitioning the entire system, including its data, to a new runtime platform

Each of these legacy modernization approaches has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, rearchitecting can improve software functionality, but it involves a highly technical process and may disrupt the company’s workflow.

At Prime TSR, we tailor each legacy system modernization approach to best suit our clients’ needs. The best software modernization approach for a specific business depends on several factors, such as the business’s systems, the industry the company operates within, and its software goals.

Recommendations When Starting a Modernization Journey

Starting the journey of legacy modernization can feel overwhelming at first, which is why many businesses put off the legacy modernization process as long as possible. However, this transition can be quick and seamless if companies plan strategically before beginning their legacy system modernization process.

Here are a few recommendations to consider before updating legacy systems:

  • Analyze existing systems objectively: Before businesses can adequately modernize legacy systems, they need to determine what problems within their old systems need addressing.
  • View modernization as continual improvement: Successful legacy system modernization doesn’t typically have a start and end date. Instead, it is a process that continues as businesses attempt to stay modern with ever-changing technology advancements and business trends. Businesses should view modernization as a business model, not a one-and-done event.
  • Choose a system with new practices, not just a new release date: The most modern IT software isn’t the one that came out today—it’s the one that uses the most advanced processes and modern interface. When looking for a new system for legacy transformation, businesses should analyze software tools and systems over release dates.
  • Partner with the right modernization business: At Prime TSR, we have helped dozens of companies across various industries implement a strategic legacy modernization approach. Partnering with our team can ensure that a business’s new system benefits its business processes without sacrificing the value of the legacy application.

Working with an experienced IT consultancy firm is the most important step a business can take when beginning its modernization journey.

How Prime TSR Can Help Update Your Legacy System

Is your business considering modernizing your legacy system? If so, Prime TSR can help.

At Prime TSR, we use the best techniques in the industry to help businesses achieve profitable digital transformation through legacy modernization and custom application development. A few of our expert IT consulting services include:

  • Building advanced analytics platforms
  • Creating innovative cloud roadmaps and infrastructure design
  • Building new cloud-based applications
  • Modernizing existing business tools and programs
  • And more!

When you partner with our team, we will create a specialized plan to help your business adhere to modern business requirements for success. We will work to maintain your integral values and facilitate the smoothest software transition possible.

We know the best business software components in the industry, and we enjoy sharing our expert knowledge with businesses across Chicago to help them achieve success. We will walk you through every step of the legacy software modernization process and identify a flexible and secure system that produces the most benefits for your company.

FAQ

How Do You Modernize a Legacy System?

IT consultants utilize several legacy system modernization strategies to update old software and help businesses optimize technology within their practices. However, companies typically follow a process similar to this one to modernize their systems:

  • Assess existing systems: First, businesses need to examine their old systems to determine which ones to update and which to continue maintaining. Talking with an IT consultancy firm can help businesses identify outdated software that they may not realize is lagging behind modern systems.
  • Pinpoint a modernization approach: We listed the six most popular modernization approaches above. Once businesses determine a modernization approach to utilize, they can proceed with their legacy system update process. Create a rough timeline for implementation: While modernization is an ongoing process, businesses should have a rough timeline in mind for when to roll out new systems and when to achieve total integration.
  • Begin rolling out the modernization plan: Once businesses achieve the planning and preparation steps above, they can begin implementing their modernization plan.

If you’re unsure where to start in the legacy modernizing process, our team can help walk you through the most logical steps for your specific business needs.

How Do You Manage a Legacy System?

Managing outdated programs can be time-consuming and expensive. Often, only certain professionals have the experience and skills necessary to maintain legacy systems. This lack of resources requires companies to track down these specialized professionals and hire them for all of their maintenance needs.

Additionally, because legacy systems stop releasing updates eventually, businesses may need assistance managing modern business practices with outdated programs. They may need to acquire new software to perform some functions while keeping old practices on the obsolete program.

The bottom line: managing a legacy system is more work than it is worth. Absorbing the upfront cost of modernizing your system and software provides a more cost-effective option than maintaining a slow legacy system with data security issues. Businesses that run legacy systems should jumpstart their modernization process to begin saving time and money with more innovative software.

What Types of Changes Are Made to Legacy Systems?

During the modernization process, IT consulting practices may take several approaches to change a company’s legacy systems. They may make a few changes to the existing system’s code structure, transition the system to a new platform, or even craft brand-new software from the ground up. The approach a company should take depends on its specific needs and its existing legacy programs.

At Prime TSR, we have extensive experience helping businesses across Chicago modernize their legacy systems, and we’re ready to assist your business as well. We will make your digital transformation journey as smooth and stress-free as possible, allowing you to benefit from all of the advantages of a new system in no time.

For more information, contact Prime TSR today.