Legacy Application Modernization Approaches That Take Your App to The Next Level

Quick Go-Through:

Legacy app modernization is the procedure of redesigning, rewriting, or eliminating out-of-date applications that can no longer function properly and fail to meet business objectives. Modernizing legacy applications remains a hurdle in digital transformation for many enterprises. Find out how to make your legacy app modernization a success.

The term ‘digital transformation’ has achieved immense significance in recent years. However, this should not outweigh the importance of modernizing current products and processes in order to draw in and keep clients, encourage business growth, and maintain competitiveness.

With 75% of organizations having complete Digital Transformation (DX) adoption roadmaps, there will be a significant transformational change in all facets of enterprises and society in 2023. Therefore, the IT digital transformation also involves upgrading legacy systems and operations to improve productivity and spread more knowledge throughout the business.

Hence, legacy app modernization is significant today, as it continues to be a hurdle in the path of digital transformation for many businesses.

Several questions must pop into your mind right now – what the heck is a legacy system? What is legacy app modernization? How to modernize any legacy app? And so on.

Don’t stress! I’m here to answer all your questions, and for this, we’ll need to start by diving into some basics.

So, to solve all your queries, you need to promise to be with me till the end.

Come on! Let me take you on a short ride to legacy app modernization.

What is a Legacy System?

A legacy system is an organization’s outdated software, technology, approach, or language. Even if a legacy application may still be in use and of importance to the organization, there are several issues with its technology, architecture, or functionality. They are either in the way of IT-related problems like complexity, risks, and expense or business-related matters like fit, agility, and value.

Simply put, a legacy system is any software, technology, or other challenging system to manage, maintain, or integrate with cutting-edge technologies.

You must wonder why businesses keep utilizing outdated systems if they slow down operations.

The answer is quite simple. First, it might be more affordable than creating a brand-new solution from scratch. Second, due to shifting business requirements or other causes beyond your control, legacy systems frequently include critical data that cannot be disregarded (like regulatory changes). Lastly, creating a legacy system often leaves out some needs, which causes a problem: the new solution may miss some crucial product components.

What are the Challenges in Legacy System Management?

Let’s go through the challenges you can face while managing legacy systems that can also be seen as an alarm to modernize your legacy apps.

  • Technical Expertise – Organizations do not start application modernization to avoid technology-driven disruption because they do not know the appropriate strategic approach.
  • Data and App Security – Organizations need to work to modernize their applications because, after a certain point, security is one of the biggest challenges they start dealing with.
  • Monolithic design – Self-contained monolithic apps make updating or modifying the framework more challenging since they add complexity.
  • Legacy Systems – The incompatibility of legacy systems with next-gen technologies and platforms could harm app developers and designers.
  • Limited Agility – When legacy applications are not migrated to a new platform, there are operational risks because they are essential to business.
  • Outdated Infrastructure – This is a significant reason to replace legacy applications with future-proof alternatives.

Umm, now what to do to avoid these issues? The only best-known answer is legacy app modernization.

What is Application Modernization?

One might wonder, what is legacy app modernization? It’s simply modifying a legacy system to integrate modern platform infrastructure, functionalities, and architecture.

In essence, app modernization is a journey that can take many different twists and turns based on the status of the legacy system, the challenges the business is facing, and the business objectives driving digital transformation and modernization. The utmost goal of app modernization is to migrate, modify, and optimize legacy systems to more modern and reliable architecture. This is entirely different from simply replacing them.

Why Need Modernize Legacy Applications?

Although IT has always focused on agility, systems created five or ten years ago could not have foreseen today’s competitive environment or technological advancements.

Even though many legacy systems are essential to the functioning of businesses, IT managers and executives eventually need to weigh the cost and transition of legacy app modernization against the ongoing maintenance costs of a legacy system. After this, they can decide which application modernization solutions to choose.

Always remember the strategic value of modern apps must be considered in addition to cost when deciding to modernize a legacy app. There was a dramatic shift in perspective regarding the strategic significance of advanced technologies, as indicated in a McKinsey analysis on the acceleration of digital transformation related to Covid-19.

Moreover, addressing all issues and challenges related to legacy systems, from customer and employee experience to cost to agility to frontend and backend development using more cutting-edge technologies, is essential to understanding the need to modernize legacy applications.

But the main question is – How?

So, here comes the heart and soul of this article, where we’ll discuss the legacy app modernization approaches that will take your app to the next level.


Let’s go for it.

Best Approaches for Legacy Application Modernization

  1. Encapsulate – Encapsulation happens when the current application is wrapped as an API into a new service or app. The existing app remains unchanged but is made accessible as an API that other apps can use.

PRO TIP: This method can be best utilized when you don’t want to rebuild your existing systems but want to develop a new app that uses its parts.

  • Rehost – Running your app on a different platform from the one it was created on is known as rehosting. It entails switching from an open-premises to a cloud system or vice versa.
  • Replatform – Replatforming is similar to rehosting, except instead of transferring your app to a new platform, it switches the whole stack of your app from one tech stack to another with little modifications to the codebase or architecture.
  • Refactor – Refactoring makes minor gradual changes to code to raise its quality without changing the functionality.

PRO TIP: I advise refactoring as it can help you pay off technical debt and make your code more extensible and maintainable.

  • Rearchitect – Rearchitecture is an intense effort to restructure an entire existing app completely. It helps to enhance the scalability and performance compared to the previous app.  
  • Rebuild – It often requires you to rewrite every app component from scratch completely. It is the opposite of Rearchitect, which merely modifies specific application parts.

PRO TIP: Rebuilding is most effective for apps whose vendors no longer support them or whose codebase has made them excessively sluggish.

  • Repeat – You should do a thorough app audit if you don’t want your software to end up as a legacy system. It’s a painful truth; nobody can’t hide it!

Modernize Your App Today and Witness the Change!

Legacy app modernization boosts your company’s performance and has significant long-term benefits. By updating your old systems, you may improve their functionality, increase their efficiency, and enhance the user experience. As a result, your organization can run on the technology that best suits its current operational requirements.

Mind it when I say modernizing your app is the cherry on top of your business growth.

Moreover, these apps are more resistant to hostile threats like hacking attempts and viruses. Modern technology may better automate processes, increase revenue, and make better use of technology investment by replacing legacy systems.

However, if you’re still confused and hesitant about legacy app modernization approaches or need guidance on transforming legacy systems, you can opt for ideal legacy app modernization services. And I swear, choosing the best services can benefit you in every aspect.

That’s all from my end.

Thanks for your time and patience in reading.

Happy Learning!

Angela is a senior editor at Dreniq News. She has written for many famous news agencies.