Flexible application modernization

3 Low-Code Legacy Application Modernization Strategies

3 Low-Code Legacy Application Modernization Strategies by Joe Carroll

There’s no doubt that your current legacy systems are critical to running your business, but how well are they actually running? Yes, they might work fine some of the time, but is your IT department holding them together with a hope and a prayer? Is it getting more challenging to get the answers you need due to lags? Do you notice more bugs by the day?

If this sounds familiar, then your legacy systems are likely due for an update. Low-code might be just what you need to support application modernization, as it can offer a smart, modern, and flexible option for your legacy system modernization needs.

Don’t get left behind

Outdated systems could be hindering your business from growing and staying competitive. For instance, as much as Excel spreadsheets may be important to your day-to-day operations, there are limits to what you can do with them. A low-code solution, on the other hand, can help you digitalize and automate your processes.

There are a lot of hidden costs in older legacy systems. The need for continuous upgrades and maintenance adds up, taking valuable time and energy from your IT department. Plus, integrating new applications and programs is becoming increasingly difficult for many older systems to accommodate. Right now, organizations need to be as agile as possible, and not having the flexibility to pivot, test new ideas and processes, and deploy quickly can present issues. Additionally, applications that are intended to improve workflows and automate processes often don’t integrate with outdated systems, leaving organizations stuck and looking for a better way.

Updating the internal systems that your applications interact with is the answer, but that’s not to say that legacy application modernization is as easy as flipping a switch. Retooling or replacing an entire system is not a decision to be taken lightly, so you’ll need to consider the following:

  • how your current legacy system and any new systems will integrate
  • how to maintain quality control and security over a new system
  • how you will ensure that any new processes and applications meet specific regulatory or compliance needs
  • how much the updates will cost and how long they will take, including the time needed to train employees

Organizations have to weigh the cost of continuing to do business as usual against the time and resources required to make necessary updates to their legacy systems. From there, they’ll need to find the right solutions.

3 legacy modernization strategies

In an era of digital transformation, app modernization is becoming the norm. This involves reviewing outdated systems and software and replacing them with current technologies to meet future business needs.

As you explore application modernization solutions, consider the following three core classifications:

  1. Replacement: Rip and replace — sounds satisfying, doesn’t it? With this approach to legacy modernization, you would completely replace the entire system with a new one. The benefit of this is that you’d be starting from scratch, which would allow you to build an entirely new platform that addresses your specific business needs. However, it will naturally take considerable time and effort to review your current systems, determine what’s working and what isn’t, and rebuild according to your new specifications.
  2. Migration: Another solution is migration. In this case, components of your legacy system are taken and moved to another platform. A simple example is moving your digital assets, such as processes, workflows, and applications, to the cloud. With this approach, the goal is to identify significant roadblocks and flaws and fix them with newer applications or code that will help modernize your systems. The main challenge here is ensuring that the migration process goes smoothly, without any hiccups that could disrupt your business. One way to manage this is to use an enterprise microservices approach.
  3. Extension: A system extension can occupy the space between a rip-and-replace approach and migrating the majority of your systems and applications. It involves gradually adding to your current legacy system with ongoing integrations and testing. A system extension can enable you to restructure and optimize applications and code without tearing your design apart from the ground up. This approach tends to present a lower risk because your systems are moving and expanding one by one, and any significant failures or delays are more likely to be isolated. However, the process tends to take longer.

Regardless of which legacy system modernization strategy you choose, carefully review your options and consider what will work best for your needs now and into the future.

Related Reading: How to Modernize Legacy Applications — the Right Way

How low-code fits in

Low-code development allows organizations to choose the pathway to modernization that works best for their needs. Ripping and replacing or fully rebuilding your architecture can be cost and time-prohibitive, but low-code solutions streamline these processes and enable you to improve your performance and adaptability as you bridge the gaps between legacy and modernized systems.

One of the greatest benefits of modernization with low-code is that it can make typically long and sometimes clunky extension and migration processes more efficient. As key systems and processes are identified, development can kick into gear with a DevOps approach that’s cloud native and built to support app modernization needs, allowing for centralized management and easy deployment of upgrades.

Traditional migrations have a heavy reliance on IT departments, which can cause a backlog. In fact, research shows that over 71 percent of businesses have a pipeline of IT requests. Fortunately, low-code systems can empower citizen developers with little to no coding experience to produce applications, develop workflows, and digitize processes themselves. This can take a lot off the plate of the IT department, freeing up bandwidth that can be used to deploy innovative solutions that allow IT and the business to focus on higher-value tasks and streamline the customer experience.

Start your journey to legacy modernization

It’s important to take time to consider how your organization will upgrade its legacy systems. This can be daunting, but there are solutions that can ease the process of making the necessary updates. As you develop your plan, remember that low-code systems support faster, more efficient modernization and would allow your organization to control the process every step of the way.

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