With business dynamics altering constantly, it can be challenging to get your software capabilities to keep up. But in an increasingly digital world, it’s often your software and systems that can make or break your ability to adapt, grow and remain competitive.
As customer behavior and enterprise norms have shifted, so have business applications. Secure and user-friendly apps are now a given for financial institutions. Retailers must be able to fulfill orders in a multichannel, multitouch eCommerce environment. Established travel brands have had to reconfigure their approach to remain competitive in the face of disruptors.
All of these changes required legacy system modernization.
Why Should Your Organization Consider Legacy System Modernization?
A legacy software update is not necessarily an all or nothing event. But your organization most likely needs some kind of update to stay efficient, profitable and up the task of meeting customer and stakeholder expectations.
Consider the following reasons to look for legacy modernization:
Sustain (or create) a competitive advantage by building out a lightweight solution when compared to your competitors.
Experience better performance, more reliable processes and reduced risks with a better functioning system and containerized applications.
Get ready to scale in the future by transforming your IT stack into an agile and innovative platform for future change.
Keep your IT infrastructure secure from external threats (and internal security breaches).
Introduce simpler integration with the host of new enterprise software, from accounting software to CRMs used by thousands of businesses.
Improve your bottom line by addressing the financial inefficiencies of legacy software.
Realize growth opportunities, exceed customer expectations and reach new customers by staying ahead of the enterprise software curve.
In a phrase, you cannot separate your software systems from your business goals and outcomes. It may seem like the decision to modernize software is an IT decision, but it’s not. It’s really a business decision. Let’s look at all of that in a little more detail.
With enterprise software, you’re always investing in something. Either you invest in a new, agile and cloud-based solution that can support your business and prime it for growth; or you invest in the maintenance and support needed to keep legacy systems and software afloat.
Investing in the former allows you to move forward with lightweight applications primed for better customer experience, improved backend maintenance and shorter deployment time. In a world increasingly defined by technology, your IT stack — its performance, integrations, support, UX, etc. — may determine whether you acquire new customers or lose them to your competition.
Updating existing software and systems can initially seem like a costly endeavor. And in the short term, it certainly can be. But when it comes to the digital economy and software modernization, we should all be thinking about the long term.
Having up to date, integrated and user friendly software and systems in place will almost certainly save your organization on transactions, downtime and more. With older systems and software, you may spend less and technology but much more on other overhead expenses.
Modern enterprise software nearly always relies on 3rd party APIs to bring full value to the enterprise. Third party software (and their APIs) can be used to track transactions, share data, authenticate users and more.
Any modern piece of software has integration capability built-in. In contrast, connecting legacy software to 3rd party services, tools or data requires a great deal of customization and coding time.
At the same time, making sure your new software is integration ready means you will be able to meet the expectations of your customers, your employees and your stakeholders.
Below is our checklist of 6 items to consider for a successful software modernization project:
1. Assess the current state of legacy systems.
Legacy software does not always fall under “old” or “outdated” definitions. There are more aspects to assess when identifying the legacy. That is why you need to assess all systems in place to uncover the current and potential issues it can bring up in the near future. The assessment should be systematic and detailed: Study all aspects of your technology, from code and architecture to visual look and feel, considering your future business plans for product growth.
2. Select the modernization approach that would be the fastest to deliver value.
Based on the assessment conducted in the first phase, choose the modernization approach that best fits your needs and will help you deliver results fast. Aside from the modernization approaches, consider existing products you can use instead. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if there is a SaaS solution available at a fraction of the cost. Yet, if your system solves rather specific tasks or you want to be able to build more features on top of it, custom product development services might be right for you. In this case, adopting agile software development practices can help you speed up the process and deliver value fast.
3. Rethink the architecture and prioritize for simplicity.
Legacy systems often fail to perform as needed due to their overly complex structure. When modernizing your system, less is more in terms of both architecture and functionality. Start by implementing only the most important features. Consider a microservices architecture approach to make your product scalable. Additionally, make sure the newly released application will work well with the rest of the tools used in your business by default. If you plan to change any of the tools soon, consider several possible options and keep their requirements in mind when building your application.
4. Choose the technology stack to deliver optimal performance and user experience.
When reengineering your system, make sure you use a solid and future-ready technology stack. The choice of technologies should completely depend on product specifics. Consult with your internal IT staff or address a professional tech consultancy. The right tech stack contributes to building a performant, reliable and efficient product. Adopt a solid quality assurance and testing process to deliver the best results.
5. Document for future system growth.
To avoid the same mistakes that made you reengineer your current solution, introduce (or adopt best practices used by other companies) a set of coding standards and internal processes. Orderly documented and clean code makes your software easier to understand, extend, and maintain in the future.
6. Budget for training and system updates.
Working with the old systems for years, your employees might need some time and guidance to master the new software. So be ready to invest in staff training for better performance and efficiency. Additionally, plan for regular system updates. If you fail to keep your product up to date, you will soon face another modernization challenge.
The Litcom Approach
Litcom’s systems integration experts help clients drive business and technical results from their IT stacks. We first start by aligning with clients on their desired business outcomes and KPIs, establishing an agreed upon reference architecture and roadmap for implementation. From there we work together to prioritize and execute integration projects, further building out to accommodate scaling needs for the enterprise. Contact us today for more information.