What is Application Modernization? [A-Z Guide]

Entrepreneurs like you are under pressure to keep up with the latest trends and innovations. If you have a legacy app, you may be facing challenges with:

  1. Security of the app
  2. Too much money spent on software maintenance
  3. Incompatibility with the latest technologies

If you are facing all these challenges, then you must have considered knowing more about app modernization and landed on this page.

A report by Gartner suggests that legacy applications, while still functional, can create significant challenges for organizations that want to take advantage of new technologies or digital transformation initiatives.

But what is application modernization, and how can you modernize an app?

Don’t worry, to clear your doubt and help you streamline the modernization process, we, being a leading mobile app development company, have curated this guide.

Why Modernize Legacy Applications?

Modernizing legacy applications come with a lot of benefits. Hence, it becomes essential for businesses to modernize legacy applications.

Application modernization enables an organization to update the software and leverage modern infrastructure, application modernization tools, and technologies. A robust application modernization strategy will help you reduce resources and reduce the costs of running the application.

Here are the following benefits that you will get by modernizing legacy applications:

  • Digital Transformation: Digitization will bring new opportunities for your application and help businesses transform faster by adopting DevOps and cloud-native tools.
  • Faster Delivery: Adopting DevOps will accelerate the continuous delivery process and drive a culture of automation. With quick code changes, you will be able to deploy software faster with less human intervention.
  • Hybrid Multicloud Platform: Hybrid and multi-cloud platforms will help you automate operations. So, all you have to build once and can deploy to the cloud anytime.
  • Reduce Integration and Build Time: With DevOps, you can use multiple code streams into one without worrying about the changes in the current environment.

Looking to Modernize Your Legacy Application?

Contact us with your requirements. Our experienced technical consultant will look into the details and help you define a strategy for the project.

Next, we are going to discuss the roadmap to modernize your legacy application. Following the 4-step process will help you efficiently modernize the app. So, have a look at the strategy.

4-Step Application Modernization Strategy

If you are concerned about how you can efficiently modernize your legacy application, then do not worry. We have explained the application modernization roadmap step-by-step to make it easier for you.

  1. Evaluate Legacy Systems

    Start the application modernization process with an application assessment. This involves assessing the current state of the system, identifying issues or areas for improvement, and determining the cost and benefits of updating or replacing the system.

    To develop a roadmap or create a plan, it is recommended to hire an app modernization consultant. The consultant will assess the best approach to modernizing a legacy application & what components you really need to modernize.

    List of components that one can modernize:

    • App Infrastructure: This will include things like servers, data storage, networking, application monitoring, and logging capabilities.
    • App Architectures and Tech Stack: This will include things like programming languages, frameworks, a database, front-end tools, back-end tools, and applications connected via APIs.
    • App Integrations: This includes components like object structures, channels, services, endpoints and handlers, integration web services, external systems, API keys, and predefined integration content.
    • App UI/UX: This includes elements like CTA on Mobile, primary action button, image overlaying, and icons.
  2. Define the Problems

    You actually need to define the real problem which is going with the legacy system and look for how you can match it with the present-day IT needs. Find what is causing the friction and know what is drifting your users away.

    This is one of the application modernization strategies that you should not miss in the process. Find out what will actually work well in legacy software. In short, identifying what works and what not will help you determine the modernization approach.

  3. Pick a Suitable Application Modernization Strategy

    Organizations should choose an appropriate modernization approach that meets their specific needs. Some common approaches include:

    • Rehosting (Lift and Shift): This approach involves moving the legacy application to a new hosting environment, such as a virtualized environment.
    • Refactoring: This approach involves refactoring the legacy application’s code to improve its maintainability, scalability, and performance. It will break down your monolithic application into loosely coupled microservices. This also includes cloud migration.
    • Replatforming: This approach involves moving the legacy application to a new platform, such as a cloud-based platform.
    • Expose functionality via APIs / Encapsulate: Encapsulation allows you to break the legacy code into pieces. Using the APIs and breaking codes, you let the app run efficiently and improve its performance.
    • Rearchitect: This approach involves re-architecting the legacy application to make it more modular, scalable, and resilient.
    • Rebuild (or rewrite): This approach involves writing a new application to replace the legacy application entirely.
    • Replace: It is better to identify if the app is not working and replace it with a ready-made solution. This will save you time and free up valuable resources.
  4. Perform Application Modernization & Optimize

    In the last stage, identify different patterns of application modernization and choose the right strategy. Once it is performed, it is essential that you continuously monitor and optimize the application’s modifications. This will ensure the application is working seamlessly.

    Further moving ahead, we will discuss the highly considerable technologies for modernizing a legacy application. Want to find out? Have a look at the next section.

Key Technologies for Application Modernization

Various technologies are useful for modernization. In this section, we are going to discuss the same and see how these technologies can streamline the overall modernization process.

  1. Cloud Native Computing

    Cloud modernization strategies come with offering migration that can capitalize on scalability and flexibility. In addition, cloud computing will help you enable applications to run concurrently and seamlessly.

  2. Containers and Kubernetes

    Containers and Kubernetes will help you quickly deploy, scale, and manage software. Hence, these technologies are scalable, deployable, and portable, making it easy for you to automate the business processes.

  3. Microservices

    Most legacy applications are monolithic applications. So while modernizing the app, microservices help you improve the infrastructure. It also increases security for separated data and applications and isolates points of weakness.

  4. Orchestration and Automation

    Automation will let you automate a single process. On the other hand, orchestration technology helps you manage and automate multiple tasks to create a dynamic workflow.

  5. Private, Hybrid, and Multi-cloud

    In order to protect and secure crucial data and quick access to it, private, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud can help you do this.

Now, let’s quickly go through the best practices that you can consider to modernize your legacy app.

Application Modernization Best Practices

You will get quality results only when you efficiently follow the best practices for app modernization. Hence, we have shared 4 practices for you to consider. Have a look.

  1. Prioritize Apps for Modernization

    It is essential that you understand and finalize the list for modernizing the apps based on priority. Then, you can shortlist them based on the app’s performance in the current environment and its integration with other systems, and how it performs within the ecosystem and under different conditions.

  2. Set Smaller Modernization Goals

    Taking small steps will always be helpful in understanding what is working in favor and what is not. Also, you will be able to take the necessary steps. Therefore, map out your primary goals and determine how to reduce the cycle time. Then, divide the project into subgoals in order to respond to changing needs and mitigate risks.

  3. Look for App Portability

    For modernizing applications, you should focus on increasing the app’s portability instead of migrating to a new hosting model. This way, you can be future-ready against rapid business changes and easily will be able to migrate to a new environment.

  4. Monitor Your Application

    Better visibility of the application for its logs, metrics, and traces will help you evaluate the overall performance. Get the consumption data from other clouds and see charges, security vulnerabilities, and platform availability. To create a dashboard and monitoring, you can use open-source tools like Fluentd, Jaeger, Elastic, and Grafana.

Want to Hire Dedicated Developers to Modernize Your Legacy App?

Space-O offers a flexible hiring model so that you hire developers based on your custom requirements for the project.

Still looking for more answers on application modernization? Want to know what is the right path to consider for app modernization and what are its myths? Then check the following section of the most asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About App Modernization

When do you need to consider application modernization?

Here are the situations when you consider kickstarting your app modernization journey:

  • Looking to improve app functionalities
  • Want to reduce costs
  • Want to reduce human dependency
  • Looking to increase the agility of the app

What are the myths of application modernization that should be debunked?

The following are the myths that are highly associated with app modernization:

  • Modernizing the application cost can be very high
  • To modernize the existing legacy applications, you need a skilled team of developers
  • Only changing the UI of the app is modernization

How Space-O Can Help in Application Modernization?

Modernization is a value-driven process where you take advantage of new technologies and digital transformation initiatives. However, it is still complex, and you need guidance to modernize existing applications properly. Through this guide, you get to know how you can update your application and unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation.

In case you still have doubts about modernizing existing systems, get in touch with us. Our experienced mobile app developers will talk to you and help you resolve your doubts with an effective software development plan for your existing legacy app. Get in touch with us through the ‘Contact Us’ form.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.