From reduced costs to better security, companies that stick to legacy systems have all the reasons to consider modernization. Still, many businesses put off their transformation, placing it in the “not urgent, but important” quadrant of their time management matrix.
However, in this insanely competitive world, leaders can’t afford to postpone progress. Instead, they should ask themselves, “What can be improved to achieve better results?” and think of the barriers that might hold them back right now. Without any doubt, one of the biggest obstacles is going to be an outdated system that “works okay”.
Below, the JatApp team will highlight the hidden costs of resisting modernization, list benefits of digital transformation, and give you some advice on how to sunset a legacy technology without major pain. You’re welcome to learn more.
Still using your legacy system? Think again. The price of not willing to change
Many business owners believe that updating their system is a very time-consuming and expensive project, so they ignore the need for change, sweeping all software issues under the carpet. While upgrading legacy systems may indeed be costly (as the team would need to spend long hours trying to figure out legacy code they didn’t write), continuing to use an outdated solution will eventually result in even greater expenses for your business. Let’s have a look at the hidden costs of keeping a legacy system in place.
Frequent crashes will cause reduced productivity
Imagine your father left you a turntable and you are happy to find out vinyl records are still relevant in 2023. The problem is, your vintage record player doesn’t perform as well as newer models and it’s only getting worse over time. Stretched belt, shredded stylus, or worn out motor are some of the problems you have already discovered when trying to play your records. After spending days searching for the new parts to get your turntable up to snuff, you learn that a repair job would cost $400 – but you don’t mind throwing good money after bad. Why? Because at this point, you’re completely worn out, just like the parts of your poorly-aged turntable.
Similar to a vintage record player, legacy systems don’t work well either. As years go by, they can start glitching and become a headache to you rather than a helping hand. Hours spent on app repairs become days and weeks, draining all energy out of your workforce. And in the end, instead of dealing with core business goals, your team will be preoccupied with repairing system crashes all the time.
Your money will sunk into maintenance
Have you ever heard of the sunk-cost effect? It’s a cognitive bias that makes humans keep investing in something that is no longer working, even if they know it’s not a good idea. Just think of third-year students who suddenly realize their major isn’t for them but continue their studies anyways. It’s difficult for us to admit our mistakes and move on, so we end up spending our money, time, and energy on fixing things beyond repair.
Business owners who aren’t ready to wave goodbye to their legacy tech demonstrate the same kind of bias. Maintaining old software and hardware is quite expensive, as you need to pay for downtime and staff who will always be available to make another repair. According to the Hourly Cost of Downtime Survey, 91% of companies stated that a one-hour downtime of hardware and software critical to business operations cost $300,000 on average.
Your decisions will rely on gut feelings rather than data
Today, it’s hard to argue that data is King. It helps companies spot industry or technology trends and timely take action to improve their business outcomes. Cloud-driven technologies allow them to easily centralize information from multiple sources and get a helicopter view of their businesses.
The major drawback of legacy solutions is that they don’t ensure data integrity. Without unified data, companies can miss out on tempting business opportunities, which can make them absolutely unable to compete on the market. Leaders who shy away from modernization typically find it challenging to create truly Agile teams that would be able to quickly respond to user demands.
Legacy systems will hold you back when scaling
With legacy systems in place, you’ll also have a hard time scaling. Application programming interface (API) vendors don’t work with legacy tech, meaning that you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars to build every new feature from scratch.
And while you’re busy building custom features, your competitors out there are buying third-party integrations, releasing updates faster, winning a bigger slice of the market, and focusing on core business functions. This isn’t the situation you want to face in real life, is it?
You’ll put a welcome mat for hackers
As legacy systems were built a while ago, cybercriminals had all the time in the world to polish their breach attack techniques. Breaking systems with outdated security protocols wouldn’t be a high mountain to climb even for an inexperienced hacker.
Older solutions are often left without vendor’s support, causing security risks to go up to the sky. This leaves you with the task of handling all the security-related issues and outcomes on your own.
Top-class engineers won’t be able to help you
The software development industry is all about career and personal development (sorry for tautology). Good specialists always stay abreast of current trends and technologies, making it next to impossible to find top talent working with legacy code.
As the odds of hiring a coder with outdated knowledge is lower than those with modern tech skills, you may be forced to settle for a less competent coder, which could eventually harm your business. What’s more, the longer the position remains unfilled, the greater the costs and possible negative impact on your business operations.
How legacy application modernization helped companies transform from good to great
Updating a legacy system can take your business to the whole new level, opening up a sea of new opportunities to improve the efficiency of your solution. But don’t just take our word for it. Let’s have a look at the real-life examples of how companies survived digital transformation and became major players in their industry.
Business case 1: Better user experience
Modernization can improve the user experience of your legacy application. And if customers find your system intuitive and user-friendly, they’re more likely to prefer it to competitor’s and even recommend it to their friends.
Example: ASOS updated its e-commerce app to ensure improved navigation, faster load times, and easier search functionality. The results were impressive – a 90% increase in mobile orders and a 30% increase in conversion rates.
ASOS app functionality
Business case 2: Enhanced efficiency
Upgrading systems is often more efficient than maintaining legacy apps in the long run. Even though you might need to pay handsomely for software modernization, the use of newer technologies will help you cut down maintenance costs and improve the overall performance of your system.
Example: We had a client who asked us to refactor and reengineer an employee engagement app. The app push notifications didn’t work properly, which is why our engineers decided to redevelop the feature using Firebase Cloud Messaging instead of trying to fix bugs in Amazon SNS. By rewriting the code, we cut down the client’s expenses, while also improving their system performance.
An employee engagement app functionality
Business case 3: Increased scalability
Companies that opt for application modernization enjoy increased scalability and improved client experience. Integration with newer technologies allows them to seize new opportunities and watch their business grow.
Example: Netflix, a leading streaming service provider, moved its app to the cloud, which let them quickly scale based on the user demand. Cloud migration enabled the company to deal with overwhelming amounts of traffic on holidays and popular show premieres. It’s no surprise that a seamless streaming experience followed the rapid business growth.
Business case 4: Enhanced security
Modern solutions comply with current security standards and protocols, which make them more hack-proof.
Example: Equifax is an American credit reporting company that faced a data breach a few years ago, exposing sensitive data of around 143 million of unsuspecting customers. The breach was caused by an outdated version of Apache Struts. To avoid such reputation-damaging accidents in future, the company updated its software infrastructure, minimizing its vulnerability to hackers’ attacks.
Four critical steps to move from an OUTDATED to an OUTSTANDING system
If you’ve made a willful decision to modernize your software, you might be wondering how to do it right. Here are some important steps to breathe life into your solution and thrive on the market.
Assess your technical and business challenges
As a rule, a modernization project starts with understanding tech and business challenges that your company faces because of the legacy solution. Is the existing system too expensive to maintain? Does the legacy app help businesses to meet its goals and objectives? Is it flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions?
By answering these questions you can identify specific problems that a modernization approach would tackle. Armed with these insights, it also would be easier to communicate the change to other stakeholders and get them on board.
Evaluate the current architecture of your software
Most legacy systems have complex architecture that makes it difficult for businesses to scale. So, it makes sense to always look for ways to make your app architecture simpler and more agile, allowing for easier changes as your business grows and evolves.
As an example, we helped one of our German clients re-architecture its outdated property management platform and move it to microservices to ensure better scalability. Thanks to microservices architecture, the client is now able to quickly and easily add new features to its facility management platform without affecting the rest of the application. This means that they can release updates without the risk of disrupting other functionality and causing downtime.
A property management platform functionality
Adopt the right modernization strategy
Modernization strategies can vary significantly in terms of scale and complexity. While some, like rehosting, are easier to carry out, others require restructuring and optimizing the existing code. In certain cases, it may be even necessary to take the risk and rebuild the entire system from scratch or at least some of its parts.
It’s important to keep in mind that each project is unique. So, don’t expect a one-size-fits-all solution for modernizing your business. If you’re feeling lost, not knowing which modernization strategy to choose, JatApp can help you by running a thorough discovery phase and assessing your individual project needs.
Plan beyond system transformation
Modernization is an ongoing effort to keep your system aligned with the latest technology and practices. It’s not a one-and-done event, but an ongoing process to make sure your solution is scalable and meets business needs. With that being said, you need to begin your journey with documenting each line of software code. This will help future developers to easily understand how they can improve your solution further.
Moreover, it’s critical to plan the retirement of your legacy solution, if you rebuild it from scratch. This means you’ll need to come up with an effective support strategy for a smooth transition to modernized software.
Don’t get left behind – modernize your legacy system
If you’re feeling the pressure of lagging behind because of your legacy solution, it’s high time to consider modernization. Having completed more than 200 projects over the seven years, we know how to help you with modernizing your solution. But we’re not the only ones saying this, though – our clients write rave reviews about our modernization projects on Clutch. Here’s one of them:
“After launching the microservice we were way more flexible in enhancing our SaaS solution with new features. The “handshake” between microservice and already existing software was very efficient.”
Take the first step by contacting us today and seize the benefits of modernizing a legacy system.