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App modernization, a critical aspect of digital transformations, helps create future-ready organizations

digital transformation

Today, customer requirements are constantly evolving, and advancements in technology are catering to them, thereby equipping businesses with a competitive edge.  The changing business landscape is giving rise to novel functionalities to enable more efficiency in business processes.  However, legacy systems are a challenge to the adoption of new technologies.  The rapid digitalization across industry verticals, be it retail, financial services, telecom, or manufacturing, is creating a huge demand for services such as app modernization.  To cater to this growing demand, several DevOps teams in IT businesses are working on app modernization projects. The much-needed business agility for organizations is achieved by developing modern applications technology driving the growth of the app modernization services market.  According to a recent report by MarketsandMarkets Research, the App modernization services market is estimated to hit USD 24.8 billion by 2025 from USD 11.4 billion in 2020.


Timely addressing of challenges to digital transformation is crucial

There is constant pressure for businesses to transform despite having grown incredibly and establishing themselves over decades.  Legacy systems still used in these organizations are digital transformation roadblocks to the launch of new services that are in demand for business continuity, affecting the smooth running of several functions.  Leveraging on-premise systems lead to huge maintenance with scaling processes further increasing the expenditure.  Legacy systems require immediate upgrading of their inner architecture and adding features that are scalable.  These systems do not receive accurate information in real-time making unnecessary room for guessing games and leading to inefficiencies.  Time-consuming tasks impact faster decision-making, productivity, customer experience, and revenues thereby losing to competition.  Such challenges put business leaders under pressure to bring about the changes with strategic digital transformation where app modernization is a critical pillar.


App modernization accelerates the digital transformation process

Digital business demands are growing by the day and not modernizing IT systems will certainly impact both the short-term and long-term growth of organizations.  To harness the full potential of digital technologies, the reliance on legacy systems has to be eliminated.  Today, increasingly businesses are modernizing their applications to deliver better customer experience, and employee satisfaction and bring about the required operational efficiency.  The IT and business leaders know now if this exercise gets delayed, it will lead to failure in scaling key services and meeting compliance requirements.  Some of the app modernization benefits include resiliency, availability, improvement in overall performance, a significant increase in annual revenue, and a decrease in maintenance and running costs, while positively transforming the business. For rearchitecting the legacy models in business houses, modernizing legacy applications is a key priority for CIOs this year and going forward.


Guide to legacy applications modernization strategy

Assessing the legacy systems and opting for the best application modernization approach should be deliberately embarked on by organizations to gain the best results.  Any legacy app that cannot live up to current business requirements should be modernized.  Additionally, it is crucial to update those apps that are risky and increase TCO.

At the outset, it is important to lay out a plan that is based on the organization’s business goals.  Decide on which apps deliver the highest value and are more critical to achieving business objectives.  Begin the modernization efforts after clearly defining the problem and the real challenge faced by users with the existing app.

Then choose the right application modernization approach by using the 6Rs for assessing which one is the best for each case.

–      Retain the app which is working well in the modern business environment.

–      Rehost or “lift and shift” those application components without modifying them, to another infrastructure, such as moving the app from on-premise to the cloud.

–      Replatform is transforming an app or the existing code to a new platform with a few small changes.

–      In the Refactor process, changes are made to the code structure to eliminate technical challenges and updated to improve availability, performance, and more.

–      When the code is significantly altered to a new architecture, delivering great capabilities is Rearchitecting or Rewriting or Redesigning the app

–      Replace or Retire those legacy apps that no longer serve any purpose and are outdated.

After categorizing the apps according to the 6 Rs, real app modernization begins.  Ensure there is the deployment of the most advanced and relevant technologies, such as data management, AI and ML, Analytics, autoscaling, containers, microservice architecture, and serverless architecture in the process.

Evaluate the approach in terms of costs, risks, architecture, operations, and security.  Building security into the application is a critical step.  This app modernization process should also be tightly integrated with DevOps.  Choosing the right modernization partner is another important step that needs to be considered after a thorough assessment. Even using the right tools and approach will not serve any purpose without the people leveraging them being well-trained and committed.


Businesses are always subject to changes due to constantly varying customer demands, evolving market needs, larger economic shifts, and technological developments.  This means the average lifespan of an app is around six to seven years.  An app that has been refactored or rearchitected is better suited to meet an organization’s future needs.  By re-architecting legacy models, businesses gain the flexibility and agility to cater to evolving business needs while making use of every opportunity presented thus enabling growth in the coming years too!


(The author is Ms. Anjna Bhati, Director Data Analytics and AI, BluePi Consulting, and the views expressed in this article are her own)


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