A Complete Guide on Application Modernization

Updated on Aug 19th, 2021

Application Modernization

With changing market dynamics, businesses are facing challenges from all sides. While employee expectations are changing the culture within, customer demands are causing disruptions to various other aspects. However, one thing that remains constant is the need to digitize the organizational processes.  

No wonder digital transformation is in full bloom across industries and businesses. While businesses are innovating themselves, legacy systems fall short of meeting this current requirement of the businesses. They are multiplying the challenges and become one of the significant causes why enterprises are falling behind the competitive curve.  

Legacy application modernization helps fill this gap. But, what it is precisely and how it helps enterprises? Most importantly, how to pursue legacy application modernization? 

Here are all the answers you need.

What are Legacy Applications, and What is Legacy Application Modernization?

Legacy applications are obsolete enterprise solutions. While there could be chances that an organization may be using such software to run various tasks within, they could be ruining the basic IT infrastructure. It is challenging to maintain and manage such applications, but they also become expensive to run in the course of their usage. But that’s not it. Legacy systems could be harming your work in more ways than you can imagine. Critical challenges of having legacy systems include: 

  • Security issues arise due to outdated security configurations and data privacy policies. This not only causes risks to the confidential business information but also is a threat to business reputation where a lot of customer data is at stake.  
  • Legacy systems don’t integrate well with other software solutions. However, as businesses today require dynamic applications to work together, this challenge can be time and resource consuming.  
  • There is no control over data and its collection. Even if the application offers this feature, the data is too little to form the basis for any decision. All this attributes to a flawed decision-making process done without considering the essential data factors and business KPIs. 
  • These applications are generally on-premises and standalone, which prove to be cost-inefficient and leads to a system that delivers lower productivity.  
  • Compliance is another issue with legacy systems. Built-in their respective times, legacy systems don’t comply with current market standards, sometimes leading to legal issues.

Solution: Legacy System Modernization 

Legacy system modernization is the solution here.  

Legacy system modernization is an approach to revolutionize existing and older enterprise applications. With technical help, enterprises can create value from their older systems and update them to match the current trends and technology requirements. It gives you the liberty to build upon organizational challenges and address them using advanced functionalities based on business requirements. Offering a comprehensive solution to the problems posed by legacy systems, modernization can help you address challenges related to: 

  • Application maintenance 
  • Support 
  • Performance improvement 
  • System integration 
  • User experience

Why Modernize Legacy Applications? 

Most of the brands facing challenges, as mentioned above, choose legacy system modernization. While business growth, operational efficiency, better decision-making process, etc., are among the common drivers of adopting legacy system modernization. But, there’s more to the story. Let’s uncover the benefits of legacy system modernization for businesses.  

1. Add Value to Business 

In the era of new-age technologies such as AI, IoT, Cloud, and more, having legacy systems takes away the opportunity for businesses to stand out. These technologies have been proven to bring significant value to businesses and helps build a strong IT foundation that boosts value. At the same time, it builds trust among the target customers.  

2. Global Visibility Combined with Uncompromised Security

Upgrading to advanced technology infrastructure helps you gain a competitive edge as well as make your systems more secure to access for each: employees and customers. These systems are governed by the latest security principles and comply with them, thereby helping you ensure is vital information is safe.  

3. Real-time Data to Boost Decision-Making 

Data has been playing a significant role in today’s business arena. While driving the decision-making process at the organizations, it gives critical insights into the industry and common driving factors. Stakeholders can use this real-time data to make business decisions and change strategies to bring maximum results.  

4. Seamless Data Sharing Among the Participants

With the onset of COVID-19, the world has been driven by collaboration between remote teams. In such a scenario, legacy systems fail. Consequently, cloud-based systems have come into the picture, enabling teams to work together and leverage seamless data sharing and backup. This not just helps the team to work together but also ensures backup for unforeseen downtimes.

5. Reduces the Chances of Manual Errors 

Automation is a vital aspect of advanced systems. Helping you cut down the human intervention to the minimum, modernized systems paves the way for lesser errors and inefficiencies, thereby cutting the cost of bearing them.  

6. Improved Customer Experience

Cutting-edge technologies such as AI, AR/VR help boost the customer experience. Not only you can better understand customer behaviour and strategize accordingly, but it also helps you make their interaction with your brand more intuitive with systems such as AI-powered chatbots, product recommendation engines, and m

7. Stay Compliant

No matter how often compliance and regulations change, businesses need to stay updated on them and ensure they meet all the guidelines. Even the tiniest glitch can lead to significant legal issues that cost more than just money. The compliance is not just area-specific. If you serve a global clientele, you need to ensure that you meet the regulatory compliance of each geographic location. Therefore, revamping your existing systems can help you stay compliant with each such guideline, thereby saving your money and reputation.

8. Generate New Revenue Streams

Building products and services that generate revenue is the ultimate goal of any business. With legacy systems, not only much of your investment is drawn toward maintaining those systems, but as you are restricted to a specific geographic location, you cannot reach out to the potential markets.

Start with application modernization

Which are the Top Industries that can benefit from Legacy System Modernization? 

Legacy system modernization has been adopted in major industries.  

  • Manufacturing 
  • Automobile 
  • Oil & gas  
  • IT & software  
  • Banking and finance  
  • Healthcare and 
  • Retail 

However, there is no limitation. Any industry can benefit from adopting legacy application modernization equally.  

Step-by-step Legacy System Modernization Process

Whether you are upgrading a small portion of the software or a small application that doesn’t affect your business much, or an organization-wide software that, if problematic, can take the entire system with it, it is crucial to create the proper roadmap for legacy application modernization. At Matellio, we suggest the following three steps: 

1. Evaluate the Legacy System

The first step is to analyze the existing application and assess the maturity level. There are mainly six main drivers of application modernization. Three of these comes from a business perspective, that is, how well the legacy system aligns to your business requirements, what value it delivers to your business, and does it offer agility for your business. If the legacy system doesn’t meet this demand of the business, it is prone to risking strong business growth.  

The rest of the three drivers are from the IT point-of-view known as cost, complexity and risk. If there is too much cost associated with managing the legacy system, technology is too complex, or risks associated with security, compliance, etc., it’s time to hire enterprise software, modernization experts.  

2. Create a Full-Fledged Plan and Decide Which Way to Go to Modernize Legacy Systems

Once you know which way to go, decide on the plan for legacy system modernization. Some of the best routes that businesses take include: 

  • Replace: Completely decommission and replace the outdated system 
  • Rebuild: Restructure and optimize legacy components based on the legacy modernization approach. 
  • Replatform: Move runtime applications to the advanced technology. 
  • Rehost: Deploy legacy components to an advanced environment without modifying functionality at the core. 
  • Refactor and Rearchitect: Implement new technologies while making reliable changes to selective components. 
  • Retain: Continue current environment without modifying 
  • Retire: Replace the legacy application altogether and replacing with a more advanced system that caters to required workloads, usage, and business impact. 

3. Decide the Approach to Modernize Legacy Applications

If you want to modernize the legacy system, the best approach depends on the challenges you are trying to address. Here we are discussing some of the popular options to help you understand each of them. 


Serverless legacy system modernization helps you take your operational responsibilities to the cloud without relying on the server. This helps you build an application infrastructure that does not need additional resources to manage server or cluster provisioning, patching, operating system, and capacity.  

Taking innovation and agility a step ahead allows you to build a serverless architecture that focuses more on the product rather than managing multiple aspects. Therefore, developers have enough time available for building advanced systems that cater to your business requirements. You can choose serverless architecture if you need: 

  • Less overhead for server management 
  • Flexibility in scaling 
  • Increased system availability 


Containers offer a standard and efficient way to package and deploy the application’s code, configuration and dependencies into a single object. Therefore, the new software can provide seamless performance even when moved from one computing environment to another. You can choose containers as an approach if you want to build and deploy microservices, run batch operations for AI/ ML-based applications, and migrating existing systems to the cloud. Choosing containers helps you build systems that offer: 

  • Less overhead 
  • Better portability 
  • Efficient operations 
  • Better development 

 Cloud-Native Replatforming 

This approach consists of migrating applications to the cloud as they are while changing only a few components that leverage the cloud. These modifications commonly include how the program interacts with the database to use automation or enable better scaling and using reserved cloud resources. Developers can easily reuse the resources they are accustomed to working with, like development frameworks or programming languages. You can choose cloud-native re-platforming for: 

  • Cost-effectivity 
  • Better scaling 
  • Cloud-native features 

How to Decide the Approach to Legacy Application Modernization?

Answering the following questions will help you identify the right approach for your business. 

  • What are the technical skills in your organization? 
  • What is your expected time-to-market? 
  • What value does legacy software offer to your organization? 
  • Which components or systems do you want to modernize? 
  • Are you still using the legacy system? 
  • Could it be optimized to offer better performance? 
  • How frequently will you be updating the new software’s functionality? 
  • How many times will you require to make updates to compliance and technology?

Application modernization services

Modernize Your Legacy Systems with Matellio!

Our enterprise software engineering experts have made an impact supporting organizations in their digital transformation initiatives. Having a team of over 250+ custom software developers, we are recognized by industry leaders for our advanced approaches, technological excellence, and customer-centric infrastructure. With us, you also get access to: 

  • Industry-leading technical experts 
  • Cost-effective, agile process 
  • Round-the-clock support 
  • Quicker time-to-market 
  • And much more. 

It’s easier to begin. Simply fill the form to share your requirements, and our team will reach out to you as soon as possible. The best part- the consultation is FREE.

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