IT spending is skyrocketing, and it is a direct reflection of the digitisation processes that are becoming top business priorities. Regardless of industry, every business has to deal with huge volumes of data, manage its customer relationships and comply with regulations. Apps are an indispensable part of the way modern enterprises work, allowing them to achieve many of their goals. However, when long-standing apps are challenged by modern ways of working and changing expectations, they often don’t meet the mark.
Leaving legacy apps as they are may seem like the more comfortable choice. However, while they can seem fundamental to business operations, in time, they can do more harm than good. Modernising applications before they need rescuing allows businesses to stay ahead of the curve, and build strong competitive advantage. As with many things in life, when it comes to app modernisation, prevention really is better than cure.
What is App Modernisation?
App modernisation is the transformation of legacy applications to cloud-based architecture and infrastructure. The process enables organisations to create new business value from old applications, reviving them with modern features and capabilities. Modernisation takes on many forms; some applications are simply rehosted on a cloud-based platform, whereas others are entirely re-architectured to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities.
Ultimately, app modernisation enables legacy software to align more closely with business needs. With the rapid pace of change, applications can quickly become outdated. Once this has happened, applications that were once essential to the business can become a drain on resources. Application modernisation is the process by which organisations update their systems while keeping their business running efficiently. There are many ways to achieve it, and many stages to the process. However, whatever route to modernisation a company takes, the key is to be on the way. The cloud offers so many business advantages that, without modernisation, applications can restrict the ability to keep up with the competition.
Why Enterprises Need to Modernise Their Apps
The motivations for organisations to modernise their apps vary. However, there are key reasons that commonly occur that encourage them to take the leap:
Maintenance costs – as applications age, they can become more difficult to maintain. Customisation adds complexity over time, updates can be time-consuming and costly, and code becomes prone to breaking.
Restrictive processes – the arrival of the cloud has created new ways of working and processes. Our workforces are more mobile, and work has become more flexible than in years gone by. Legacy applications can be too restrictive to fit around new workflows and user behaviours.
Missed opportunities – old apps can impede productivity, restrict innovation, and, ultimately, stop businesses responding to opportunities. Not being able to take advantage of cloud-based features and functionality.
Inability to integrate – integrations with modern platforms can be complicated at best when dealing with old applications. If an app doesn’t integrate with other applications and systems it can become extremely burdensome to work with.
Lack of flexibility – when an app is cloud-based it can be accessed anywhere and anytime and data is immediately available. In contrast, old applications can be incredibly slow due to the custom code they need to run and are rigid in the way in which they have to be used.
Vendor support – once a vendor stops supporting an application, everything becomes more complicated and more expensive. Fixing problems or implementing upgrades becomes extremely challenging.
It makes a lot more sense to start to modernise applications before they begin to slow down a business and restrict its success. While there are costs and planning involved in modernising apps, the business value that results is undeniable.
Benefits of App Modernisation
On the flip side of the reasons why organisations decide to modernise their apps comes the benefits that modernisation brings:
Speed – the strain on resources that comes from relying on legacy skills is both costly and time-consuming. When legacy applications are modernised they become more open, agile, web-based systems. Modernised apps can transform more quickly and are much more scalable. The speed that results creates an ability to quickly respond to market dynamics.
Engagement – modern applications naturally offer a much better user experience, which increases productivity, creativity and innovation.
Accessibility – modern applications can be accessed in real-time, from anywhere. There are no custom widgets to worry about, mobile-friendly modern apps are more accessible and create better functional experiences.
Business value – by modernising old apps and giving them the ability to perform better, they deliver more business value. They integrate with modern ways of working and foster innovation and business growth.
Security – security is improved through encryption and accuracy is improved in terms of time entry and tracking. There are fewer risks and compliance is greatly enhanced.
Productivity – providing an intuitive interface with customised workflows helps to boost productivity.
Adaptability – ensuring apps can work on modern platforms and integrate with internal apps, devices and systems ensures no opportunity is missed.
Why start now?
App modernisation is on the radar of every CTO; it is an inevitable journey to enable organisations to function in today’s technology landscape. While every business is on a different path, they are all on the same trajectory. Old legacy applications are going to continue to age and, if not yet, eventually they will no longer be supported. When this happens, business applications that once saved time and money, will become a drain on resources and budget.
It’s vital to start modernising apps before they get to the point that they are restricting business growth. The sooner they are migrated and, ultimately, modernised, the sooner businesses can realise the many benefits that the cloud has to offer.
A 1980’s vision of the future – the EAI 2000 Analogue computer from Electronic Associates INC. developed and produced from 1978. This, the only known surviving model, is lovingly restored and cared for by Dr Bernd Ullman of the Analogue Musem. With its integrated console screen the 2000 represents the technological climax of analog computing before its almost complete extinction to fully digital computing during the period.