legacy system modernization approaches

Best Practices for Legacy Modernization

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Legacy modernization challenges present an intimidating opening for any business looking to upgrade. The risks of malfunctions, high cost, and project bloat can stall update progress and, when the time comes, can lead to incomplete modernization. To best update legacy systems, it’s important to understand what they are, why upgrading is important, and the best legacy system modernization approaches to take for the greatest return on investment.

What Is Legacy Modernization and Why Is It Important?

Legacy modernization is the process of updating business software and systems. ‘Legacy systems’ were once cutting-edge tools that still occupy a critical role in business operation but now present high costs and other support difficulties.

Many legacy systems are too locked into business operation or too costly or dangerous to replace safely and easily. If something goes wrong, it could cripple the entire chain of operations.

Why Businesses Should Invest in Legacy Modernization

A careful legacy modernization strategy brings big returns despite the risks and costs. Legacy modernization helps businesses:

  • Find bottlenecks in operations
  • Streamline systems
  • Integrate systems with new software
  • Meet ever-rising customer expectations
  • Keep up with demand
  • Improve system security and reliability

All in all, modernization brings a competitive advantage to a tenured business. This advantage helps it keep pace with its newer peers and combine its history with an impressive modern approach.

Top Legacy System Modernization Approaches

Legacy modernization works best when approached with a thorough plan throughout every stage of the process.

1. Assess Your Current System

Before the project begins, a business needs to determine which systems need replacement. If a system still meets business needs without problematic costs, then it may not need an upgrade at all.

This audit also helps determine whether a system is truly business-critical or if it can be excessed or combined with another system.

To better understand the current system, comparing similar systems used by peers and competition grants broader insight. If a system with similar functions and scope is still used by the competition, then a replacement may not be necessary to keep up — but modernization can help get one step ahead.

Once this step is done, the time comes for a more detailed audit. To best deploy legacy modernization tools, the modernization team needs to know everything about the current legacy system, including:

  • How it works
  • How it was built
  • Why it was built
  • How it integrates with other systems
  • User population
  • User needs
  • Internal code and logic

This analysis shows the team which parts work and which don’t. Some code might be salvageable to save time and expense, while other sections may need a full replacement.

2. Outline Your Goals and Requirements

Defining which shortcomings need to be addressed in legacy systems and how you could improve them is an additional but no less critical part of the audit process.

legacy modernization strategy team

Determining if maintenance costs, missing features, unreliability, or other factors need addressing directs the legacy modernization process and gives a clear sense of KPIs and completed goals.

3. Think Long-Term When Choosing Your Tools

With your goals in mind and opportunities identified in the legacy modernization strategy, the time has come to upgrade.

In the modernization process, internal architecture and functions take higher priority than appearance or aesthetics, even though the latter is more appealing and generates the most buzz.

The architecture is far more difficult to change and update in a few years and empowers the system to serve for years to come. It determines:

  • Intersystem integration
  • Scalability
  • Security

It’s also the foundation of every other aspect of its business-critical functions. Planning for the future ensures the modernization process won’t need to be repeated in a few years.

4. Decide on a Modernization Approach

Options must be carefully considered when designing a new system. It’s entirely possible to take advantage of SaaS providers for basic services instead of building a system from the ground up.

The time and cost savings from passing support, maintenance, and upgrades to a team of specialists can’t be overestimated.

For businesses with more specific needs or expecting the need for customization in the future, a development service team helps lighten the load and offers guidance and assistance during the process. This approach reduces stress on IT teams and helps focus on higher-concept decision-making.

5. Extract Business Rules from Legacy Systems

Legacy systems are often expensive to maintain, so extracting the business rules and converting them into a new system can be an effective way to reduce costs.

Business rules are sets of conditions and actions that can be applied to a specific situation. They are very important for any business because they help automate decisions and make them more efficient.

The key to successful extraction is that the legacy system needs to be well-documented and that it has a good design. This will make the process of extracting the rules much easier and more accurate.

Contact us today to learn more about the business rule annotation capabilities of SMART TS XL.

SMART TS XL Is Your Solution to Legacy Modernization

When looking to modernize your legacy systems, SMART TS XL is the right choice for a legacy modernization services partner. 

With easy reporting, documentation, and business rule annotation, to get your entire team up to speed on progress and easy asset inventory to analyze and take the initiative on progress, we’re sure to make your modernization process a painless one. Take your business systems to the next level with SMART TS XL.

Contact our team today to learn more.

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