For the best web experience, please use IE11+, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari

What is application modernization?

Application modernization is the process of transforming a legacy system to function on today's cloud and hybrid platforms in order to meet your business objectives and operations more effectively. A legacy system is frequently described as any outdated technology, operating system, or application software that is still in use, regardless of its age. While the system may still fit the requirements for which it was developed, it does not allow for growth or easy integration and may be rather expensive to maintain.

What are the benefits of application modernization?

Important business data is isolated in the outdated databases of your legacy applications. By modernizing your legacy systems, you can discover new insights in your data, drive revenue, and gain efficiencies from today’s cloud and hybrid platforms.

Improve quality of service

Transforming legacy applications to leverage the cloud can improve your quality of service by enhancing your ability to seamlessly scale to accommodate increasing levels of usage.

Realize cost savings

Modernizing your applications enables you to reduce the costs of on-premises IT infrastructure and IT administration, plus you can reduce licensing costs by migrating to open source databases.

Create new revenue streams

Application modernization gives your organization the chance to develop new processes or services that provide added value to your customers, resulting in new streams of revenue.

Increase customer satisfaction

Modernizing an application can improve the customer experience with changes like enhancing the user interface, adding new features or services, or automating processes that were manual prior.

Why does application modernization matter?

Application modernization is an important part of digitally transforming an organization and should not be taken lightly. It means rethinking the core design of applications and redesigning them on a different platform, perhaps with a different programming language to better support your business objectives.

Then, someone might say, why don't you just buy new software off-the-shelf? This may be possible for some common business operations like human resources or finance, but many legacy systems are deeply customized to perform business processes that are unique to the organization.

Why modernize your applications?

Legacy applications keep important data segregated in older databases at a time when businesses need to leverage their data as a strategic advantage. By moving away from the slow, cumbersome processes of legacy applications, organizations can move to faster, more reliable automated methodologies, democratize their access to data and gain insights from analytics that can drive revenue and increase competitiveness.

It's hard to leverage data in silos

Enterprises are now actively working to break down organizational boundaries in order to promote data and resource sharing, and overcome the negative consequences of an era when data and processes were jealously guarded within IT and lines of business fiefdoms. Legacy systems generate a slew of issues due to their lack of interoperability, including inconsistent data, overlapping job positions, and error-prone data entry.

More importantly, organizations are suffering from a lack of a 360-degree view of their data. This deficiency makes it more difficult to reach strategic objectives, comply with regulatory requirements, increase operational efficiency, and improve the customer experience.

Maintaining dinosaurs is costly

Enterprises are now actively working to break down organizational boundaries in order to promote data and resource sharing, and overcome the negative consequences of an era when data and processes were jealously guarded within IT and lines of business fiefdoms. Legacy systems generate a slew of issues due to their lack of interoperability, including inconsistent data, overlapping job positions, and error-prone data entry.

More importantly, organizations are suffering from a lack of a 360-degree view of their data. This deficiency makes it more difficult to reach strategic objectives, comply with regulatory requirements, increase operational efficiency, and improve the customer experience.

The security risks are high

Because of the continuously evolving threat landscape, most legacy applications are severely under-protected. They weren't designed to defend today's sophisticated attacks, and they might not be able to support security best practices like least-privileged access, multi-factor authentication, or single sign-on. They could also be missing functionality like audit trails, data encryption, and compliance-related capabilities.

Legacy applications may also be running on older hardware and obsolete, unpatched operating systems. This is especially true if the system includes specific integrations with newer applications. Many firms just ignore updating older systems because they are afraid that implementing the newest upgrades and patches would break complicated, custom code.

Security risks are also influenced by the number of years the application spent in development. Multiple layers of code and patches that aren't well documented can result in a tangled mess that gets increasingly vulnerable over time. Legacy applications are prone to intrusion because of these flaws, especially if they are connected to the internet and the corporate network.

Productivity drains have a ripple effect

Productivity and employee morale are significantly impacted by the tedious and laborious business processes forced upon users by legacy applications. Employee turnover, a bad customer experience, and a reduction in competitiveness are all consequences of the inefficiency imposed by legacy applications.

What’s needed to accelerate application modernization?

Frameworks, technologies, and processes for hybrid cloud operations, BizDevOps, DataOps, and sensitive data governance must be in place before you can speed up the process of application modernization. That means having the right tools before, during, and after your transformation so that you can properly model, migrate, manage, monitor, govern and protect your data and application ecosystem.

Process flows and data structures need to be modeled

Exactly like when you start working on a new application, you first need to think about and model it. For a legacy application, the same thing must happen. Before a new architecture can be built on top of a legacy program, the process flows, data structures, and connections between them must be untangled and defined.

A process modeling tool can help by making it easier for both business and technical users to see how workflows and connected data inputs and outputs are shown in a way that makes sense. To help organizations define and categorize their data, data modeling tools look more closely at the data itself as well as its metadata. This helps them set up rules and standards so that their data can be used by information systems. Together, these modeling activities give a complete picture of the modernized application and how it will look in the future.

Data needs to be unlocked and migrated

The data that is stored in legacy databases can be hard to get out especially if it’s in an inconsistent format with data from other systems. It could also be stuck in a database version that hasn't been kept up to date.

Also, make sure you think about how to map the data from the old system to the new system, as part of your ETL process, when you start planning an application modernization project. Data replication tools can continuously replicate the data during the migration process, and they can keep the sources and targets of the data in sync to avoid business disruptions.

Infrastructure and application operations need to be managed

When organizations are freed from their silo’d limitations, you can leverage agile methodologies like BizDevOps and DataOps, as well as automation tools like CI/CD that can speed up the delivery of business value. Using agile and DevOps practices for your modern applications may already be a part of your business, but you may not be taking full advantage of tools that help you build, test, and deploy applications faster and more efficiently. A hybrid cloud architecture also requires a different set of tools and skills to help stop cloud sprawl, manage containers, and keep costs down.

The performance of applications and databases need to be monitored

The cost of maintaining older hardware, operating systems, applications and databases is often a big reason why people want to pursue application modernization. But it can also be because the application isn't working well and users are having to wait a long time for things to happen.

An important goal of application modernization is to make applications run better, improve the user experience and deliver more business value faster. Infrastructure and database performance monitoring tools can help you keep applications running at their best. These tools can help you find problems before they happen and help you fix them quickly. These same tools can also tell when transactions aren't running well and automatically modify them to make them run better. This will help you keep database workloads efficient and unplanned cloud costs down.

Robust data governance must be implemented

As part of data governance, a company has to decide how and when its data is used, as well as who can see it and what rules and policies they follow. While data governance structures are important for any company that has to follow rules, they're also important for any company that wants to keep its data safe and private.

Data governance frameworks can be hard to put into practice because they require people to change how they treat and use data. There are, however, automated tools that can help you create a shared metadata repository that stores information about your data estate that you can harvest, activate, and manage enterprise data in a way that meets your business needs. These tools do things like catalog data, track data lineage, and improve data literacy.

The business and IT community can both benefit from this shared metadata and view information in a form they each understand using semantics they are familiar with. This helps support the digital transformation process and encourages greater collaboration.

Sensitive data must be protected

Older applications may have a lot of sensitive data, not just personal information. They may also have trade secrets, financial data, and other types of data that could hurt the business if they were divulged.

During the application modernization process, it's important to figure out which data is important and take steps to keep it safe during development, testing, and production. The previous steps have already led to the creation of a metadata repository that defines and categorizes all of the data elements. As a next step, organizations can use tools that protect sensitive data with techniques like masking, redaction or encryption. These tools can be used no matter where the data is stored.

Strategy recommendations for application modernization

The main goal of modernizing legacy applications is to help both the business and IT understand the data landscape across the enterprise.

Modernizing legacy applications also makes sure that they are resilient. You want to make sure that your brand-new application in the cloud doesn't get broken by a mistake made by someone else in the organization.

Lastly, legacy application modernization helps the business and IT work together by balancing the business's needs with IT's ability to meet those needs.

To create your application modernization strategy, follow these eight steps.

Where can I get help with application modernization?

Where can I get help with application modernization?

Quest® offers an extensive portfolio of solutions for modernizing your applications. We can help you properly model, migrate, manage, monitor, govern and protect your data and application ecosystem. Here’s where you can learn more:

Blogs

8 steps for developing a legacy application modernization strategy

8 steps for developing a legacy application modernization strategy

As data becomes an increasingly strategic asset, enterprises are turning to legacy application modernization to keep valuable data from being siloed ...
John Pocknell
What is data operations? How can it benefit your organization?

What is data operations? How can it benefit your organization?

Data operations enables your organization to maximize the business value of your data and its underlying infrastructure. It’s the overall appro...
John Pocknell
Why data democratization? Why now? What does it look like?

Why data democratization? Why now? What does it look like?

It’s true that the goal of data democratization is to help business users get their hands on data quickly, so they can respond quickly. That ki...
Danny Sandwell
Different stakeholders, different views: Why database management requires a systematic approach

Different stakeholders, different views: Why database management requires a systematic approach

What does your company’s approach to database management look like? You should always have an answer to that question. Suppose that, at the end...
John Pocknell
Database monitoring: Why keeping an eye on these 4 levels is key

Database monitoring: Why keeping an eye on these 4 levels is key

Database monitoring is a multilayer pursuit which involves the tracking of database performance metrics and resources. The goal is to identify and pr...
Tim Fritz
Data replication: What is it and what are the advantages of using it?

Data replication: What is it and what are the advantages of using it?

Data replication is the process of updating copies of your data in multiple places at the same time. The goal of replication is to keep your data ava...
Clay Jackson
Data preparation and analysis: Using data efficiently in the era of dark data

Data preparation and analysis: Using data efficiently in the era of dark data

Data preparation requires considerable time and effort, but it’s hard to get value from your data without it. Some database professionals and d...
John Pocknell

Get started now

Accelerate the modernization of your legacy applications with solutions from Quest.