In today’s business environment, IT departments are commonly asked to do more with less. However, the use of outdated systems makes it difficult not only to operate efficiently, but also to leverage cutting edge technologies and exploit their numerous benefits. The idea of modernizing your company’s legacy applications may seem daunting at first, but modernization can provide you with new capabilities and efficiencies.

Reasons for Modernization

Studies show that approximately 75 percent of IT spending is put toward maintenance, indicating that reducing the cost of system maintenance would free up a substantial amount of the budget for innovation projects. Legacy systems are becoming increasingly expensive, as the skills required to operate and maintain them are becoming more and more difficult to source. Additionally, many applications are customized and complex, causing them to be incredibly inflexible and nearly impossible to alter as changes dictate.

Advantages to Modernization

Integrating your company’s existing systems with more current systems has numerous benefits. Along with reducing maintenance costs, your company can achieve more flexibility and scalability with its applications. This means that the legacy applications will be able to satisfy the company’s needs and allow for a more productive work environment. Further benefits include improved customer service, enhanced collaboration between applications, and easier upgrades in the future.

Modernization Options

Aside from the option of doing nothing with your legacy systems, there are three different routes to take: application migration, application replacement, and application redevelopment. Application migration consists of transferring the existing legacy applications to another, lower-cost platform. Application replacement substitutes an off-the-shelf package that runs on mid-range processors for the existing system. Application redevelopment is when the company has applications that offer high business value but cannot be extended to easily meet new business demands and must be redeveloped.

These three solutions are not mutually exclusive and may be used in combination with each other. For example, if one legacy application does not meet current business needs but provides commodity functionality, such as customer relationship management, consider migrating the data and replacing the application with a commercial off-the-shelf solution. If another application is expensive to run and is written in a portable language like COBOL, migrate the data and application to a new, lower-cost platform. It is important to work with an experienced professional that will assist you throughout the entire process and help you decide what solution or combination of solutions is best for you.

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