Back to blog 4 Signs it's time for an Application Modernisation Project

When we think of legacy technology, it’s easy to think about a mega old system written in a prehistoric programming language that sits on a bunch of dusty old servers.

The reality is quite different, however, and even a programme that’s been written just a few years back could be ready for a degree of modernisation. That could be through hosting it differently, implementing a more modern software architecture or building out functionality to allow for greater cohesion with other business systems.

In this post, we’re going to look at four of the signs that show your application is ready for a modernisation discussion. Should there be frustrations about a particular workload within your organisation, wherever they’re coming from, it doesn’t hurt to get the right people in a room and begin chatting about what’s happening, what could be changed and how these challenges can be overcome.

The benefits of application modernisation

  • Reduced platform and hosting costs
  • More efficient use of resources through implementing more modern ways of architecting and running applications
  • Flexibility to easily port the application to new methods of hosting or providers An expanded network of technology resources provides redundancy and failover options
  • Integrate new forms of technology into existing, tried and tested applications
  • Improved value of existing intellectual property (IP)
  • More consistent, or improved, levels of performance
  • Shortcut time-to-market for new features, products and services
  • A greater integration of product with marketing, customer service and data analysis realised through getting closer to your application.

In short, the longer in the tooth an application becomes, the more risks it can pose to your business. It might not be an immediate risk, such as a security vulnerability, but the inability to keep up with user expectations (for example, instant mobile payments) and market changes (for example, legislation such as the GDPR).

In the remainder of this post, we’ll look at four signs that might mean it’s time to consider an application modernisation project.

1) Integrations with other business systems are cumbersome or nonexistent

As staff outside of IT get comfortable with the idea of automation, they may well begin to expect this of your business applications. Automated reminders and emails have become second nature within CRM and project management software which everyday company employees have grown used to utilising.

There is a range of simple automation triggers that companies have grown used to within core systems. For example, when it’s time for a client to renew their service contract, an email might be sent to the client, to their account manager and to the accounts department to kickstart the renewal process.

In the past five or so years, these sorts of simple yet mighty handy functions have become widespread in project, sales, marketing and accounts teams. As the understanding of such functions grows, teams outside of technology might express a want or need to do more with your application and its data, not fully understanding what form the raw data is in, how much work is involved or that any integrations themselves will likely be purely custom.

This can quickly become frustrating for the wider business, who are used to SaaS tools that plug straight into other SaaS tools. If your application can’t keep up without manual intervention or manual reporting then perhaps it’s time to consider a modernisation initiative.

2) New, nimble competitors are threatening a part (or all) of your business

Without wheeling out the Uber example for the millionth time, the situation where a traditional industry is changed overnight by a young, fast and slick startup is a risk for enterprises. Even if there are no new competitors emerging in your industry, there’s still a good chance it could happen at some point down the line.

Using modern hosting methods and forward-thinking application architectures, disruptors can run their businesses cheaply, a benefit which is passed through to pricing. Instead of waiting for a startup to challenge your industry, preparing your business through application modernisation will allow you to continue to lead and offer value to your industry amongst increasing competition.

3) Hosting is expensive and/ or requires a lot of maintenance

There is a range of reasons that hosting might be costing you more than it should, from how the application utilises resources to the infrastructure it runs on. Likewise, there is a range of ways to make that application more efficient, cheaper to host and easier to maintain, such as adopting virtualisation across the entire data centre, implementing a containerised approach or utilising a hybrid cloud. If the cost of running the application feels like a drain then perhaps it’s time to carry out a discovery project to investigate what could be improved.

It’s important to consider hosting costs in relation to the value and usage of the application. For example, you can make an application cheaper to host by finding a cheap hosting company, but if the application requires always on performance and is critical to the running of your business then it’s important you are realistic about how much should be spent or saved on hosting.

On the flip side, reviewing how your application uses resources might allow you to reduce costs. Just because your hosting has always cost x amount doesn’t mean that’s how it should be, or that it’s the absolutely most efficient means of doing so.

4) Building it again from scratch simply isn’t an option

In the case of certain applications, you might be aware of the fact that, when the time comes, you’ll just suck it up and rebuild it. This might be through the simplicity of it, how essential it is or the long-term plans for it; it’s very much a case by case thing. We would advise, however, exploring all options before deciding to rebuild. The point to highlight here is that, should you know you will never be able to rebuild this particular application, then you should be periodically considering whether or not it’s time for a modernisation initiative.

Checking monthly, quarterly or annually (depending on the application) with your team will keep the idea of modernisation and the overarching theme of digital transformation front of mind.

By even considering application modernisation, you’re already thinking about how technology could better support end users and your business, which is highly valuable to your business. Should you want to chat with our experts about how we can help and successful application modernisation projects we’ve carried out in the past, get in touch with us today.

Posted in Cloud Consulting, Cloud Development on Nov 04, 2018