Modernizing legacy software means making it resistant to modern challenges.

You may have heard of legacy software and wondered, “Why does everyone say it’s so bad?” What’s the purpose of splashing out on updates if the system is up and running and performing its functions? Well, most of its shortcomings are hidden, but they can give you a headache later.

For example, on closer look, you might find that your staff is processing orders much longer than your competitors—and legacy software is the culprit. Or that users choose other companies because your app lacks a user-friendly interface and new features. In both cases, you lose customers and profit.

Another case: what is the greatest fear of healthcare app users? Data leakage. However, this is a fairly common problem for legacy apps, and it forces customers to keep their health data private in more secure applications or even notepads. But you can troubleshoot this easily with modernization.

That’s exactly what Acropolium did for one of our clients. Our team standardized the documentation of several medical app vendors and optimized the infrastructure for the HIPAA-compliant medical app.

Following some of the legacy application modernization trends, we got excellent results. Now we would like to share these trends with you. If you doubt that software modernization is a must, keep reading, and you’ll certainly change your mind. We’ll show you how to figure out that your system needs modernization and what you can do about it.

Legacy software modernization trends

Updating code is the easiest trend of legacy software modernization and the first step in this process.

Over the years, quite a few trends gained a foothold in legacy software modernization. Here is a rundown of the most relevant methods ranked by the difficulty of implementation. You can use the first couple of techniques on your own, but those down the list will need professional assistance.

Updating code

You’ve probably heard of cases when hackers took advantage of an old vulnerability just because someone was too lazy to install updates with fixes and patches. Well, don’t let that happen to you!

If your code is tied to third-party libraries, make sure they’re updated to the latest versions. The same goes for frameworks. If the library’s creators stopped updating it a long time ago, it’s better to choose a more recent one and use the facade to avoid rewriting the code. The facade pattern lets you use only the elements you need, even if the library contains dozens of others.

What if your software is using outdated authentication methods? Bad news. You’re ten times more likely to be hacked. So make sure to include multi-factor and biometric authentication to your list of updates.

Using containers

Another popular trend is containerization. According to the large-scale Container Adoption Survey, 87% of IT companies were running container technologies in 2019. In fact, containerization is the next step in data virtualization.

It works like this: an application is broken down into small “containers” that include code, libraries, configuration files, and necessary executables — the elements it takes to run the app in most environments. However, unlike virtual machines, these containers do not have operating system images. It makes them lightweight and more portable.

This is a great benefit as developers can deploy applications easily. Engineers can create predictable environments isolated from other apps. So when it comes to building product features in a new environment, they spend less time debugging and diagnosing the differences.

Given all that, containerization is a fairly simple way to make your apps more effective and prepare the ground for future changes.

Applying the CI/CD approach and automation testing

The continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) approach isn’t new to the code philosophy. However, many companies ignore these practices and don’t set up automated testing due to a lack of communication, collaboration, and openness toward change.

We highly recommend adopting CI/CD to enjoy the benefits of this approach:

  • CI improves code quality, and CD delivers it to the right environment as small constant code changes are easier to track and execute.
  • Modified code is tested automatically without human intervention and saves developers time and effort.
  • As a result, engineers have better code to quickly introduce new features and provide users with regular, high-quality updates.

A word of advice: you should integrate CI/CD and automation after containerizing your app. Containers offer several benefits for CI/CD, including higher levels of automation, fewer deployment errors, and lower cost and time.

Applying the DevOps philosophy

One of the DevOps team members should know how to apply this approach as a legacy modernization trend to keep all processes running smoothly.

Another trend in legacy system modernization is the DevOps approach. It combines software development and operation instead of using them in isolation. The operational and development teams work closely across the entire product lifecycle, which benefits product quality and user experience.

According to Brickendon’s research in one of the world’s largest banks, this approach cut costs by $20 million annually. The number of business-impacting incidents was down 43%.

DevOps is all about automation, including CI/CD processes, microservices, and information exchange. However, a DevOps engineer remains a key team player. They monitor how effective continuous communication and changes are, identify shortcomings, and ensure that the whole process runs smoothly.

By switching to the DevOps approach as one of the legacy modernization trends, you’ll get faster deployment and better product quality. The catch is that you’ll need an experienced professional on your team to implement it.

Improving the mobile experience and using the mobile-first approach

The mobile-first approach is one of the most common trends in legacy system modernization. But first, you have to think of the best way to implement it in your system: should you create a web version to access it from any device or a separate mobile application?

In any case, such an upgrade will give you an edge. For example, the Lumia Coffee store increased its revenue by 70% in just nine months by creating mobile apps to sell its products in addition to its Shopify web store.

Using A/B testing and feedback analysis

This trend is driven by the need to know exactly what to change before modernizing your legacy software. The best way to find it out is A/B testing: you give two groups of people different types of features and compare their reactions. The one with a better response will be integrated into the software.

You can also analyze product reviews posted in public. However, this data might not be enough because many people are too lazy to post feedback — especially the positive one. It’s smarter to mix the review analysis with A/B testing.

Building AI сhatbots

Artificial intelligence (AI) сhatbots have become a top legacy modernization trend in recent years. Even though they are complicated to develop, the benefits they bring are huge. According to Forbes, companies using AI chatbots increased sales by 67% on average.

Unlike rule-based bots, AI bots do not require an extensive database, so most companies can easily adopt them. The difference is that rule-based bots cannot find the answer if it is not in their database. The AI bot, however, is self-learning, so you only need to provide clear initial data, even if it is limited.

It’s a go-to choice for businesses offering customer support since a well-designed bot can eventually replace dozens or even hundreds of customer care agents.

Migrating to the cloud

Cloud migration is one of the most complex legacy modernization trends that opens up many opportunities to improve software security, efficiency, and integration.

One of the most complex but crucial methods of legacy app modernization is cloud migration. Cloud storage offers multiple goodies:

  • Speeds up information exchange
  • Prevents security breaches
  • Facilitates data transfer and processing
  • Improves third-party software integration

Cloud-based software makes it easier to implement DevOps, make data accessible to AI, and develop SaaS-based mobile apps.

However, migration can be a major challenge if your software has outdated databases and libraries or is overcomplicated. In this case, it’s best to turn to a professional team for help. They will determine the most appropriate methods and steps of migration to save all your data and effectively organize it on a new platform. Acropolium has twelve years of experience and more than 93 successful cloud migrations of various complexity. We overcame quite a few roadblocks migrating data for small companies and international enterprises, and our team is fully equipped to handle this mission for you. All you need to do is get in touch with our managers.

Do you still hesitate whether your system needs modernizing? It’s perfectly alright—modernization might be a long-term and costly undertaking. To help you make an informed decision, we invite you to explore some of the issues that legacy software can bring and the advantages of its modernization.

Why legacy modernization will always stay relevant

Striving for innovations accelerate software's outdating, hence the need for legacy software modernization.

If you look closely at the trends, you’ll see why legacy modernization will always be relevant.

With containerization, DevOps, and automation, new apps and features will be released much faster, and the software will quickly grow outdated.

Entrepreneur foresees a boost in multi-cloud systems and cross-platform development. Both are still in their infancy, but with the tendency to grow, any software working only on one platform will become obsolete. You’ll either spend a fortune building apps for multiple platforms or lose customers sticking to only one.

Similar trends can be observed in cybersecurity. According to Entrepreneur, emerging security threats force IT specialists to deviate from traditional cyber protection methods. Instead, they implement a cybersecurity mesh during software development.

By failing to update your software, you leave security gaps and increase the risk of data leakage. The chances of facing lawsuits, suffering reputational damage, and losing your customer loyalty grow, too.

Another rising trend is AI. It’s not a common practice for most companies yet, but the situation is about to change. In the next decade, AI will be widely used to scale businesses. Without AI-empowered software, you will be lagging behind your competitors and driving clients away.

Changes are inevitable. But it doesn’t mean that companies have to develop new software from scratch over and over. It’s too expensive, time-consuming, and, sometimes, hardly possible. What they need to do is modernize their legacy software to integrate some new features. Otherwise, they risk losing efficiency, customer loyalty, and profit.

How to understand that your legacy system needs modernization

You need to follow trends in legacy modernization if your software is not compliant with the features of modern technologies.

Before jumping headfirst into modernization techniques, double-check that your software is truly outdated. Most of the time, it’s enough to ask yourself if you are happy with your application.

You’re satisfied with your software

If you, your employees, and your customers don’t struggle with any problems using your app and don’t call for any significant changes, you don’t need to modernize it.

You’re not happy with some functions

If your system fulfills its original goal and satisfies its users in general, there’s no need for a major overhaul. Should you feel unhappy with particular services, upgrade them or create new ones. Usually, this is the case if your software:

  • Doesn’t integrate with other services
  • Is no longer supported by its vendors
  • Cannot be updated by developers as they moved to other technologies or quit
  • Has severe security issues that cannot be fully addressed
  • Is based on an operating system no longer in use
  • Cannot be scaled

If you can relate to one or several of these points, you might well be losing your profit by missing the benefits of modern technologies. Follow legacy modernization trends and strategies to get your business back on track.

You’re not satisfied with your software at all

Sometimes, there is no other option but to replace the software. This is the case if:

  • Customers refuse to use the application, finding it user-unfriendly and slow
  • Employees keep complaining about errors or do not understand its purpose
  • Writing things down in a notepad is easier than using the app
  • The cost of the application overrides its benefits
  • The software does not meet the company’s goals

Modernization will be helpless here. It will take much more time and money than buying new software from a third party or creating it from scratch.

Acropolium’s experience

A company facing legacy modernization trends for the first time can find it challenging to deal with them. However, we have more than ten years of experience in this area, helping our clients improve their businesses.

Over the past decade, Acropolium has successfully modernized 58 software solutions for companies across industries. We assisted a healthcare company in increasing customer loyalty by modernizing its app’s architecture and security. We boosted the tech knowledge of an automotive company’s in-house team by creating a data-driven SaaS platform for standardized and scalable applications.

Finally, we helped a leading Ukrainian hotel chain to optimize a single server-based application into a scalable cloud-based hotel chain management system. As a result, the client reduced the costs by 40% and increased the annual profit by 30%.

Acropolium is fully equipped to meet all kinds of requests related to legacy software, from auditing and consulting to complete system modernization. Just contact us.

Conclusion

Legacy modernization trends are diverse and market-driven. Some of them can be implemented in several clicks; others need professional help. But they all have a common goal — to make business more efficient.

On top of that, most trends are interconnected and work better as a whole. Still, you can implement each of them separately: the main thing is to identify weaknesses to be modernized. Do it with Acropolium and let your upgraded software benefit your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best legacy modernization trend?

The best trend is the one that suits the goals and specifics of your company. They include code updates, following DevOps, using the mobile-first approach, automation, etc. Some may argue that cloud migration is the top choice. In most cases, this statement is true. However, your business might derive a greater benefit from more accessible and cheaper trends.

What can you do with legacy software?

There are three ways how to make your software more efficient:

  • Rebuilding and rehosting. Step-by-step or simultaneous change of software elements following the modernization trends. This option may include changing the architecture, hosting platform, or hardware.
  • Refactoring. Refining code to make it more convenient to update, reuse, and adapt.
  • Replacing. Purchasing third-party software or creating a new ready-to-use system from scratch.