Imagine the anxiety of 20,000+ businesses using SAP ECC 6.0 when SAP announced the end of maintenance timeline for the legacy ERP system. While they have recently extended it till 2027 instead of 2025, the transformation of ERP ECC 6.0 to SAP S/4HANA is still a challenging process that requires careful planning, coordination, and investment due to the complexity, customizations, data migration challenges, downtime, and cost involved.
And that's a classic case of legacy application modernization and the pain that it brings along. But, can we, or any business, really survive in today's fast, agile, containerized, and multi-cloud world without developing modern applications? The benefits of modern apps, including improved performance, functionality, and security, can make an effort and investment worthwhile for many organizations.
The Need for App Modernization in a Multi-Cloud World
The adoption of multi-cloud architectures has become increasingly popular as organizations seek to leverage the strengths of multiple cloud providers for different use cases. This has further complicated the software development landscape, with applications needing to be designed to run on multiple clouds and integrate seamlessly with other cloud services and on-premises infrastructure.
Now, legacy applications were not designed for modern cloud platform, APIs, and programming languages. Nor were they designed for modern security features, which make them highly vulnerable to security threats in this new environment. And as they fail to perform optimally, it negatively impacts the user experience and business operations.
This is where enterprise application modernization comes in. Application modernization involves updating legacy applications with modern architectures, technologies, and development practices to improve performance, scalability, security, and user experience. By modernizing applications, organizations can take a cloud-first approach by leveraging the latest innovations in cloud computing, microservices, containers, cloud-based tools, and serverless computing to build more agile, flexible, and scalable applications that can meet the needs of their customers and stakeholders across multiple clouds.
Why to Modernize Legacy Applications? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
Considering the complexity and cost involved in legacy app modernization, many enterprises dawdle in their decisions of modernizing existing apps along with their existing infrastructure. Here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself if you are still wondering why your application development process or monolithic applications are not aligned with your cloud adoption goals:
Are You Receiving Zero to Little Support?
After a few years, most hardware and software reach the end of their life. What this means is that manufacturers stop offering support for these systems, including operating system, Microsoft Windows 7 and 8.1, for example. The more the number of years between the deployment of the system and its being in use, the lesser the support that will be available.
Have You Experienced Breaches in Security?
In recent years, cyber security issues have become more sophisticated and hard to predict for security teams. Legacy applications can be security threats because they often run on outdated software and hardware, have known vulnerabilities, and lack modern security features such as encryption and two-factor authentication. These weaknesses can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data, compromise systems, and cause disruptions to business operations.
Are Employees Frustrated Because of Reduced Efficiency?
Legacy applications can negatively affect application performance because they were not designed to run on modern hardware and software architectures. These applications may require more resources to run than modern apps, and their code may not be optimized for modern computing environments. From slower response times to high load times or increased downtime, using legacy applications can be more time-consuming and a hindrance than they help.
Are You Paying High Maintenance Costs?
Many times, even before a legacy app reaches end-of-life, it starts requiring more maintenance. Legacy applications may also be more prone to bugs and security vulnerabilities. Additionally, as new technologies and business requirements emerge, legacy applications may become increasingly difficult and expensive to integrate with other systems and adapt to changing needs. Keeping these outdated systems running also need specialized skills and knowledge. All of these factors contribute to the high maintenance costs associated with legacy applications.
Have Employees Been Unable to Tap Data When Needed?
When organizations use a combination of old systems and modern cloud application architecture, data cannot travel seamlessly between them. This creates silos from which data will have to be extracted with the help of additional application modernization tools.
Organizational Benefits of Adopting Application Modernization Initiatives
Once mission-critical applications have undergone application modernization in a multi-cloud environment, they place the business in a position to enjoy several benefits like enabling it to stay:
Businesses gain greater agility and edge to adapt to changes more quickly and seamlessly. Free from the restrictions of legacy tools, businesses are not bogged down by issues like lags and security threats.
- Responsive and Productive:
Market demands can be met with greater ease when the technology is up to date. New technologies that are typically integrated into systems during legacy application modernization are designed to enhance automation and decrease reliance on manual inputs. This increases organizational-level productivity.
Any requirement to scale up can be catered to without having to make last-minute adjustments to the technologies in use. Businesses will be positioned to make the most of opportunities to leverage cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the internet of things (IoT).
- Cost efficient:
Once updated or modernized, the applications cost less to manage and maintain. That’s partly because businesses may opt to use vendor support that gives them one-stop access to maintenance, bug fixes, security updates, etc.
Businesses are not forced to take their eyes off the customer and employee experiences to focus on their application demands for smarter new technologies and tools once they perform app modernization.
Key Application Modernization Trends for Mission-Critical Business Apps
Organizations can be at different points on the spectrum of legacy modernization needs - from those that are using end-of-life technology to support their mission-critical applications to those that are just unable to support the organization to meet market demands.
It’s eye-opening to see what are some of the new routes that such businesses are taking to modernize their technology. Here are the top 5 application modernization trends for legacy applications:
Reliance on Hybrid Cloud:
While the public cloud allows businesses to manage workloads cost-effectively, sometimes it does not provide the data security of the private cloud. Because there is a growing demand for a combination of both capabilities, providers have created a third option - the hybrid cloud. This is where workload manageability meets security and cost-effectiveness seamlessly.
Preference for Containers:
Professional developers are increasingly seeking containers or containerized applications for their hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environments. This is because containers use technologies that give businesses the flexibility to deploy their mission-critical applications without delay in a multi-cloud world.
Also, cloud-native applications are portable and easy to migrate. They also become easy to deploy and give room to the IT organization to focus on customer and employee experiences.
Adoption of Kubernetes:
An extension of the preference for containers is an interest in Kubernetes. This open-source system brings modularity, scalability, and security along with reliability. With Kubernetes, containerized applications facilitate automatic scaling after deployment. This capability allows the IT organization to develop applications that are superior.
Modernization of User Interface:
Large systems typically have components that are challenging to use and processes that are complex. Most importantly, they have user interfaces that have lost relevance at the front end.
In some instances, modernizing just the front end to deliver an enhanced user experience can be just the right fix. It saves organizations the cost and the effort it takes to carry out the modernization of legacy systems at the other two key points too - the backend and the data.
Modernization of the user interface serves well when the need of the hour is a better app experience. However, shifting to modern cloud application architecture is called for when the infrastructure in use is costing more in terms of maintenance than it would once it is updated.
With the right infrastructure, organizations can gain better performance, portability, and scalability capabilities – all of which lead to cost optimization.
Modern Software Development: The Way Forward
Organizations can either implement their app modernization strategy in a measured and slow manner or in one go. No matter which route you choose, remember that the objective is to transition to become a fully digital business that can make the most of the application modernization tools available to make your organization future-ready, gain business agility and streamline business processes.
It’s also to ensure that your company achieves the goal of infrastructure updating with as little disruption as possible. And on this journey, having a partner with the expertise and know-how of the modernization of cloud-native applications tools to drive these modernization initiatives can be invaluable.
Cloud4C has a plethora of approaches to ensure the right app modernization strategy is in place for your organization. We have helped many enterprises choose the combination of approaches that will work best for them, including lift and shift, rehosting, replacing, re-platforming, rearchitecting, and rebuilding apps.
Our services include microservices approach consulting, Kubernetes-as-a-service, and data migration services. Through our Intelligent Managed Service for Application Modernization, we bank on AI and ML that helps our clients stay ahead of challenges and work on them proactively.
Our app modernization offerings extend to Microsoft Azure application modernization, AWS application modernization, and application modernization Google Cloud Platform. We leverage app modernization tools that are designed to deliver maximum benefit for your business.