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How to avoid roadblocks in legacy application modernisation

September 15, 2022

Legacy application modernisation projects are costly, lengthy and complex.

While it’s not a necessary step in any digital transformation journey, it is highly recommended as most legacy applications are monolithic in design and often not compatible with modern operating systems, hardware and programming languages. Maintaining them in the long-term will become more difficult and expensive. Shifting legacy applications will also allow organisations to take full advantage of their cloud deployment model and gain new functionalities.

However, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to ensuring that a modernisation project will run smoothly. But with a detailed plan and well thought out approach, you can avoid roadblocks that can hinder your legacy modernisation project’s success and identify them before it’s too late.

Here are some tips on how you can avoid roadblocks in your legacy application modernisation journey.

Identify entangled dependencies

What many businesses fail to understand is that application modernisation usually involves various teams across the company. However, the people who are aware of or understand these dependencies may not be consulted during the initial stages of the application modernisation project. It is therefore essential for organisations to unearth each app’s hidden dependencies and consider how to manage them when migrating to the cloud. This involves asking questions about what other applications rely on the data from each application that is being migrated, and whether there will be latency if one app is on-prem and the other is in the cloud.

Determine how cloud-ready your applications are

When creating a legacy application modernisation strategy, it’s important to also consider how cloud-ready the code and architecture is. Part of that involves examining each app and using that to determine when, if at all, an app will be migrated. For example, some existing applications may be so antiquated it’s incompatible with modern cloud systems, and they would end up being too costly and time-consuming to migrate. Instead, the practical solution would be to develop a cloud-native application.

Plan for potential networking complexities

Security is often overlooked because it cannot be physically seen. But just because you cannot see a threat, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. This notion applies to legacy applications, which can be fraught with plenty of security problems such as asymmetric routing issues, or firewall, gateway, and certificate issues that can be difficult to troubleshoot during migration. This is why these potential issues need to be addressed well in advance before any migration. At the same time, migrating applications across the cloud will change the way data is managed across applications and potentially affect the way regulatory compliance is handled. This too will need to be factored into any application modernisation plan.

Learn to prioritise

Like any new project, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start and modernising legacy applications is no different. But it can be as simple as starting with evaluating and deciding exactly what legacy applications will be migrated and which to retire, rehost, or refactor.

Being able to narrow the focus down to which application will deliver the most value will also help determine which application to prioritise as part of the initial migration, especially if the budget is tight. For instance, an application that functions for 10,000 users on-prem could be expanded to more than 100,000 if it was shifted to the cloud.

Get buy-in from other parts of the business

It’s easy for one group of engineers to say they want to migrate legacy applications to the cloud, but it’s another when it involves having to overcome inflexible and conflicting networking, security, and architectural governance. It’s crucial to establish oversight with a unified purpose so that if any challenges do occur during the migration process these conflicts can be resolved and paves the way to set up collaborative structures for enterprise governance.

This ‘one team’ approach was a crucial element when Seisma assisted Education Payroll Ltd in upgrading its Oracle Stack 11G to an up-to-date, fully supported online version of its payrolling and pay run components, as part of a staged technology upgrade over 10 years.

*This blog is sourced from acquired company Fronde.

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