Application modernisation strategies: which is best for your organisation?

Application modernisation strategies: which is best for your organisation?

Innovation-hungry businesses should look “up” rather than back. Embracing the cloud – and the flexibility it offers – is key to overhauling outdated legacy apps that can stymie nimble thinking and dull the user experience.

Think of it as pay-as-you-go for on-demand delivery of IT resources: you get what you need when you need it and don’t pay for anything else, such as the maintenance of physical infrastructure.

Various cloud-focused solutions each have different purposes, risks and costs. Before you can decide which is right for you, you need to know everything about your existing system.

  • How was it created? 
  • What tech is used to maintain it? 
  • How does it integrate with other platforms? 
  • Who are your customers and why do they use it? 
  • What works well? 
  • What needs ditching or fixing? 

Apps powered by monolithic architecture such as Oracle or SAP can be hard to modernise.

But by combining off-the-shelf products with cloud platforms you can create bespoke solutions that are low on code and high on flexibility.

And most likely without ditching the elements of your existing app that remain fit for purpose.

There are a number of modernisation options. Some take longer than others to implement, and some are more complex. Broadly, the quicker (and easier) the approach, the less risk but the smallest long-term gains. These options include:

  • Rehosting, often called “lift and shift”.
  • Re-platforming goes a step further, often involving optimising part or all of the app between the “lift” and “shift”.
  • Refactoring builds on the above strategies by introducing code changes. This optimises existing functionality and allows new functions. 
  • Rearchitecting is an extension of refactoring that requires more recoding.
  • Rebuilding is significantly more complex, but offers an opportunity for significant change now and in the future.
  • Replacing is the ultimate high-cost, high-confidence approach, allowing a foundation-up re-evaluation of your product, which can liberate decision-making and will still allow quick, iterative change once implemented.

For many organisations, one of the least daunting ways to approach a potentially overwhelming change process is to do it in stages: think peeling an onion.

Like an onion, your app has multiple layers. Deal with them one at a time, fixing your biggest problem first, before moving on to the next. Eventually, you’ll have done it all – or as much as you want to – in manageable stages. And you’ll be fit for purpose – now and well into the future.


Learn about the above application modernisation strategies in more detail in our free Guide to Application Modernisation EBook.

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