Small and medium businesses (SMBs) face many challenges when trying to stay competitive. They have to worry about the big players in their industry and the ever-changing landscape of technology.
One way SMBs can stay ahead of the curve is through application modernization.
What is Application Modernization?
Application modernization is taking an existing application and making it compatible with new technology, which is crucial in a constantly evolving and changing competitive business environment.
The process can involve anything from updating the code to make the code more efficient; you can add new features and functionality to ensure your applications stay up-to-date and relevant. As new technology emerges, you can take advantage of modernization to stay ahead of the competition.
Additionally, application modernization can help improve performance and security. Outdated applications are often inefficient and can be a security risk. Ultimately, application modernization is important because it allows you to stay competitive and keep your applications running smoothly.
The process can be complex and costly, but the benefits can be well worth the investment.
The Benefits of Application Modernization
Application modernization can bring many benefits to an organization, specifically to SMBs.
1. Implementing New Features to Improve Business Workflows
Legacy applications often operate as monoliths, making implementing improvements and functionality extremely difficult. If you try to change one thing, you could end up causing a dozen other problems. This holds many development teams back, as fear of the unknown outweighs the need for new features. And, as businesses evolve, so do their dependencies on technology. Teams who can’t automate their processes or have the data they need at their fingertips struggle to remain productive and reach their potential. The business suffers.
You can build a network of connected functionality that developers can easily update as single, autonomous mini-applications through application modernization and implementation of microservices, middlewares and cloud services. Once a good application foundation is built, you can continuously add new features through CI/CD pipelines allowing rapid feature deployment to your production environment.
2. Remaining Competitive
Application modernization can also help SMBs implement new functionality they may need to stay competitive. By eliminating the monolith, you can improve operational efficiency and streamline production, offer more services to partners and suppliers, and give your customers an engaging online experience with your brand.
3. Improving Security
Many businesses think online systems are more vulnerable to security threats, but our team has found that older applications often have more pressing security weaknesses. IT teams must constantly monitor their on-premise infrastructure to ensure it remains secure and up-to-date.
Through application modernization, businesses can take advantage of the heavily-tested cloud-based infrastructure. These services are monitored and updated more often by trusted platform developers, leaving internal IT team members to focus on educating employees on two of the biggest security weaknesses: their people falling victim to phishing attacks and poor password management.
4. Reducing Costs
Monolith applications often carry significant technical debt, which refers to the cost of taking shortcuts and making less optimal long-term decisions when updating an older application. You may be getting from Point A to Point B quicker right now, but you’re compounding a costly problem you will have to solve one day. Our team recommends getting out from under a legacy system sooner rather than later. Application modernization may seem costly upfront, but it offers innovative cloud services at a cost-effective price.
For example, digital and cloud-based storage, backup services, AI and ML, serverless infrastructure, and dozens of other cloud services lend to efficient and automated workloads. These, in turn, can make a huge difference in the day-to-day operations of a small to midsize business. In the long run, an application modernization investment can yield significant operational savings and business growth.
5. Preparing for Future Enhancements
Application modernization can make your existing applications more cloud-friendly, allowing them to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility of cloud services and microservices. For example, an application modernized with AWS also opens itself up to the potential of cloud-based storage, Machine Learning, and more.
By taking these steps, businesses can set themselves up for success as they modernize their applications.
The Process of Application Modernization
Almost every company will have to eventually face the question of whether to modernize their existing applications or start from scratch with new ones. The decision is not always easy, as there are many factors to consider.
But with the right process in place, organizations can make the best decision for their business.
1. Assess Your Current System
The first step in the application modernization process is to assess your application’s current state. This includes reviewing the technology platform, architecture, codebase, and team that maintains it. You may also consider running a code auditor to analyze the quality of your existing code base.
2. Set Your Application Modernization Goals
Once the current state is understood, the next step is to identify the goals of the modernization project. These goals could be anything from improving performance to adding new features or reducing costs. You can set more than one goal, but we recommend keeping your project focus narrow so that development stays manageable.
3. Understand Development Risks and Benefits
Once the goals are clear, the next step is to assess the risks and benefits of different modernization strategies. This includes everything from rewriting the application from scratch to migrating it to a new platform.
Your data could be exposed; your employees could struggle with onboarding leading to a drop in productivity; your customers could end up confused. However, the opposite of these situations could also happen. Map out potential scenarios, and then plan around them to get to the application modernization experience your business deserves.
4. Choose Your Application Modernization Strategy
Your next step is to decide on which modernization strategy to pursue. You can undergo this process with an in-house development team or choose an application modernization partner. You can integrate SaaS solutions to remove the need for your existing monolith system or build a brand-new cloud-based solution. Your business can even choose a hybrid model, with some on-premise features and other functionality hosted online. Consider what’s best for your business and move forward accordingly.
5. Start Building!
It’s time to implement your chosen development strategy. This phase will, of course, vary depending on the chosen strategy. For example, if you’ve decided to rebuild the application from scratch, your team will need to start by designing the new application.
If you decide to migrate the application to a new platform, your team will need to migrate the code and data to the new platform, with probable code adjustments.
Or, if you’re working with a trusted partner, you could just sit back and relax while they do all the work.
6. Assess Your Success
Following deployment, you’ll need to review the performance of the application, the user experience, and the overall business impact. And most importantly, you’ll need to determine if you achieved your original project goals. If you didn’t, the application will need more work.
Moving Forward with Application Modernization
Technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum — with a stronger, more modern foundation, you can now update and evolve your application as needed, making it a powerful tool for your business for years to come.
Of course, application modernization has challenges. By creating a detailed plan, choosing the right modernization strategy for your business, and working with trusted resources and partners, you can avoid potential pitfalls and set your company up for success.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you modernize your applications and take advantage of cloud features, our team at Soliant Consulting can help. We have the experience and expertise to rebuild or rearchitect your on-premise applications on the cloud, ensuring a smooth transition with minimal disruption. Contact us today to get started!