12 min read

9 common myths about legacy systems modernization

legacy systems modernization

Are you having trouble convincing stakeholders to greenlight an application modernization project? Many IT leaders have this problem, and it doesn’t help that there are a great number of myths perpetuated about modernization. This can lead to postponing modernization projects, which means postponing outcomes like rapid innovation, improved customer service, and increased business agility.

This blog will shed some light on nine of those myths, as well as give the approaches needed to overcome them.

Myth #1: It takes years to see the results of application modernization

One reason why enterprises delay application modernization is the idea that it takes too much time to modernize legacy systems and to see the results.

If we’re talking about a total rip and replace approach, that may be a fair assessment: It can often be difficult to justify the cost of such an initiative and to continue the journey, unsure if the benefits at the end are worth the effort.

But there is another way. Even for monolithic applications.

Modern technology has enabled enterprises to increase the speed of modernization and deploy business features in a short period.

And in conjunction with an approach that focuses on incrementally improving legacy systems, results can now be seen in months or even weeks.

Myth #2: The oldest systems need to be prioritized for modernization

You may have a favorite product that works better than a newer version. Or even a favorite movie that Hollywood mistakenly thought needed a remake.

The point is, not everything that’s old needs to be replaced or updated. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

In terms of the technology that helps run your business, it doesn’t make sense to create something shiny and new if your current technology is perfectly capable of supporting your business goals and needs.

And that’s probably true of most of your current systems, “legacy” or not, which is why age should not be a factor when deciding what to update. Instead, focus on modernizing the components that cannot support your business goals, regardless of age. In other words, let return on investment (ROI) drive the modernization.

Myth #3: Application modernization is a one-and-done initiative

Modernization isn’t finished once you’ve achieved certain metrics or satisfied x number of requirements. Your business needs will always be in a state of change, which is why modernization requires a continuous effort to match those changing needs.

And aside from a big bang approach to application modernization being a risky and costly endeavor, there simply isn’t a need to modernize your legacy systems all at once: Most of your current technology is most likely capable of handling your modern digital business initiatives, so there is no need to replace them just yet.

So take a continuous approach, modernizing when necessary.

Myth #4: Your business processes will be disrupted

Business continuity is achievable and should be emphasized with whichever modernization approach you take. This can be accomplished by taking an incremental approach.

With this method, the new systems can run in tandem with the old systems — either until the new system is completely operational and can run independently, or for longer, creating a harmonious environment where both systems continue to work together to produce the best outcome.

Myth #5: Modernization is just another project for the IT team

Application modernization isn’t just a run-of-the-mill IT upgrade. Treating it as a project that concerns only the IT department can lead to systems that don’t match what the company really needs, delaying or even derailing application modernization journeys.

As an integral part of digital transformation, the application modernization process should bring in input from experts across departments to ensure that the modernization plan supports the company’s goals.

Myth #6: It’s about modernizing just your technology

Wrong. Application modernizing is about modernizing your business through modern infrastructure, technology, and processes.

Thinking that it’s just about modernizing your technology can lead to unsuccessful outcomes from your application modernization initiative.

Modernizing without a clear business vision and a modernization plan that matches could turn out meaningless from a business standpoint. Because what’s the use of a bunch of shiny new applications if they don’t support your business goals?

Myth #7: Modernization is too expensive

The upfront costs of application modernization can make some organizations hesitant to begin such an initiative, but it shouldn’t:

  1. Upgrading legacy systems can significantly lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your application portfolio, leading to long-term cost savings.
  2. There are ways you can optimize costs and reduce risks involved in application modernization. Check our upcoming blog post for more.

Myth #8: Cloud migration is application modernization

With the cloud being the center of many modernization plans, it can be easy to conflate the two terms. But one is not the other.

Migrating to the cloud often means a lift and shift approach, which means taking your old infrastructure and putting it in the cloud as-is. This approach does not address the inefficiencies of your legacy systems.

Application modernization, on the other hand, seeks to improve those inefficiencies, and build systems that can support your business goals.

Myth #9: You can’t modernize your systems while remaining compliant

It’s understandable to be worried about compliance. Compliance failures can cause not only huge penalties and fees but also damage to reputation and customer trust.

To help you remain compliant, the top cloud providers offer comprehensive services and features that make it easy to operate in a compliant way. And the cloud providers themselves regularly undergo independent verification for thousands of global compliance requirements such as those from HIPAA, GDPR, PCI, ISO, and more.

Automation is an enabler of compliance as well. Supported by technologies such as RPA and AI, automating workflows can improve compliance by performing actions in a consistent and error-free way.

In short, modern technology and tools such as those offered by the cloud can help you adhere to regulatory policies while also giving you the speed and agility you need to stay competitive.

Dispelling Myths Through Action, One Client at a Time

As you build modern mobile and web apps, strengthen your digital customer experience capabilities, and leverage the cloud, you need to choose the right partner who can help you achieve these objectives with speed, at scale, and with reliability through a business feature-focused approach to application modernization.

For a leading investment research firm, we’ve been that partner. The client’s legacy decision management platform was limiting their ability to adopt the security, data residency compliance, and integration aspects of its customers’ obligations. As a result, they faced rising operational costs, and customer onboarding was difficult.

Business expansion and revenue growth were also limited, as the system was not able to meet the data residency requirements. In addition to that, limited input channels prolonged the time to market, forcing its customers to look for alternatives.

Through an incremental approach, we developed a transparent, efficient, unified data platform on the cloud for global use:

  1. The cloud’s global footprint allowed region-specific access from data centers worldwide, each compliant with local regulations.
  2. The platform supported multiple input channels, and advanced tracking and monitoring features increased its efficiency.

The solution reduced data collection costs by $400,000 a year and operational costs by $10,000 per client per year, allowing the firm to onboard new customers while staying compliant.

What Relevantz Can Do for You

With our business-first, outside-in modernization approach, Relevantz can help your application modernization initiatives, including the rehosting, re-platforming, refactoring, rearchitecting, rebuilding, and replacing your current enterprise systems, separate the applications from legacy infrastructure, modularize intermingled business processes, liberate data from legacy systems, and innovate new digital systems.

And because our approach is iterative, your enterprise will be able to enjoy all the benefits of new information technologies, such as having the agility to adapt quickly to the demands of the marketplace, while keeping your legacy systems humming behind the scenes.

Do you want to discuss your legacy modernization challenges?