With outdated, stagnant code bases holding too many companies back, legacy app modernization has never been more of a priority. According to a 2021 survey, 71 percent of organizations say that they’re modernizing at least one in four of their applications, and 24 percent are working on at least half. (On the other hand, just 6 percent of businesses report that they aren’t pursuing any app modernization projects at all.)
No matter your industry or your current level of technical sophistication, modernizing your legacy applications can bring serious benefits to your business. But what motivates companies to engage in legacy app modernization in the first place? Below, we’ll go over the five biggest incentives for organizations to bring their legacy applications up-to-date.
1. Cost savings
Continuing to use legacy applications comes with a number of expenses—some obvious, others more hidden.
The most apparent cost of legacy systems is maintenance. As legacy applications grow increasingly out-of-date, you will need to spend more and more time maintaining them. Many companies spend a shockingly large amount, even a majority, of their IT budget simply on keeping their legacy tech alive. Meanwhile, the funds allocated for IT innovation are just a fraction of this figure, often in the single digits.
What’s more, maintaining legacy applications will only grow more expensive as the years go by. As older IT specialists retire and new ones enter the job market, finding workers who are familiar with your legacy tech will become increasingly difficult—and the ones you do find can command higher wages.
But there’s an invisible cost of legacy applications as well: the competitive edge that you don’t have over your rivals. By remaining wedded to old, outmoded solutions, you’re missing out on the improvements to business revenue, productivity, and efficiency that modern digital technologies have to offer.
2. Faster innovation speeds
Since legacy technology is holding back your capacity to innovate, it stands to reason that modernization would help you innovate faster and achieve a shorter time to market.
For one, spending less of your budget on legacy IT maintenance means that you’ll have more funds to devote to innovation. Having access to innovative technologies, in turn, means that you can gain the upper hand over your competitors and attract and retain valuable customers.
App modernization also makes it easier for your organization to follow best practices and methodologies for software development, such as agile and DevOps. According to IT automation company Puppet, high-performing DevOps organizations can spend 29 percent more time developing new features, while cutting the time spent on unplanned work and rework by 22 percent.
3. Better performance
Rewriting your legacy apps also lets you take advantage of modern software frameworks and architectures that can help achieve better performance.
In particular, applications built using the legacy .NET Framework can be rewritten to take advantage of its successor, .NET Core, which offers significantly faster software runtimes. To see just how fast .NET Core can be, check out this blog post from Microsoft, which provides benchmarks for different functions and operations in .NET Core as well as the .NET Framework.
For example, the blog post reveals that the (very common) task of finding items in an array is dramatically faster in .NET Core. Not only is .NET Core roughly twice as fast as the legacy .NET Framework, .NET 6.0 is also noticeably faster than previous versions such as .NET 5.0 and .NET Core 3.1. This highlights the importance of keeping your IT environment as up-to-date as possible.
4. Greater scalability and distributed processing
App modernization projects can make your legacy technology significantly more scalable and enable distributed processing. In particular, many businesses are interested in breaking up their monolithic legacy applications and dividing them into interconnected microservices. This approach offers several benefits in terms of scalability.
Each microservice is smaller, hence easier to maintain. If one microservice goes down, the rest of the application is less likely to suffer the effects than an all-or-nothing monolithic application.
Also, because each microservice runs autonomously and independently, during times of increased demand you can devote additional resources only to the services that require them. Deploying microservices applications to cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure also lets you benefit from autoscaling features, freeing you from the pain of manual configuration.
5. Freedom from restrictive IT
Last but not least, the desire to break free from restrictive IT and software licensing is a major impetus for app modernization projects. Many companies feel bogged down and trapped by their legacy technology, with data and processes locked inside. For example, 76 percent of businesses say that they have data stuck inside legacy systems that cannot be linked to cloud services.
In many cases, modernizing your legacy applications can unlock these handcuffs and give you more options to evolve your IT environment. The legacy .NET Framework, for instance, is proprietary and only supported on the Windows operating system. Its successor .NET Core, however, is open-source and supported on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This means that users of .NET Core can modify the source code to fit their needs and run it on any platform of their choosing. As a result, businesses have the flexibility and agility they need to respond to internal and external change.
Regardless of your motivation for legacy app modernization, you need a concrete plan to get it done. That’s where a partner like Datavail comes in.
Datavail is a Microsoft Gold Partner with competencies including application development, application integration, cloud platforms, cloud productivity, data analytics, and DevOps. We’ve helped countless clients modernize their legacy .NET applications and move them to the Microsoft Azure public cloud.
Are you interested in leveraging the power of Microsoft Azure for your .NET applications? We’d love to talk with you about how we can help make your vision a reality. For more information, you can also download our white paper “Legacy .NET Application Modernization with Microsoft Azure” to get a full picture of how and why to refresh your legacy .NET apps.
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