Modernizing Legacy Applications With the Power of Platform Engineering
Aug 21, 2023
Legacy applications play a critical role in an organization's operations. However, they can become a liability if they rely on outdated technology or unsupported hardware. An illustrative case is Southwest Airlines, which incurred losses of $800 million due to its outdated computer systems during a widely publicized meltdown in December 2022.
Modernizing critical applications is incredibly important to ensure they continue functioning as intended and keep your business from falling behind. One challenge of modernization is being able to update applications while existing systems are still “in flight.” Through clever platform engineering, development teams can architect and design ways around this, and modernize while minimizing the risk to operations and the bottom line.
What Is Legacy Application Modernization?
By modernizing legacy applications, organizations can enhance their ability to adapt to changing business needs, improve operational efficiency, and reduce technical debt. Modernization means easier updates and deployment of new features, allowing businesses to introduce process improvements, improve reliability, and take advantage of technological advancements such as automation and artificial intelligence.
Updating and improving software is critical for companies to stay competitive, but the process can be time-consuming and incredibly challenging. This is particularly true if the existing software is tightly coupled with other components.
When outdated legacy apps are connected to multiple components in your processes, it can create a lag, leading to overwhelming technical debt or operations screeching to a halt. As technology continues to change at such a rapid pace, it is critically important for companies to modernize their applications at the same rate.
Common Challenges With Application Modernization
Most companies will face challenges when determining how to modernize legacy applications. When deciding the best approach, an organization’s unique needs and circumstances will play a significant role. It is essential to take time to understand the problems and what the company ultimately hopes to achieve. The answers to these questions will keep your work on track long-term.
- Depth and scale of the application that needs to be modernized - Lack of appropriate resources - Coordination across multiple project teams and confirmation that deliverables line-up - Propagation of monolithic designs for complex systems
Uncertainty surrounding scope provides an additional challenge in modernizing legacy applications. Technology is constantly changing, making it difficult for organizations to determine the full extent of what needs to be modernized as new updates pop up. This can result in delays if leaders aren’t staying on top of relevant tech and strategizing to evolve with it. Not having a clear digital strategy in place and effective prioritization methods can have a significant negative impact on a company’s ability to modernize its legacy apps.
The lack of solution accelerators and frameworks is another tricky obstacle for companies; without pre-established development processes or a support platform, you could end up having to rewrite your legacy software entirely. Recreating apps can be a costly endeavor, and organizations don’t always have the financial or technical resources required to undertake such a project.
Platform engineering, an emerging approach to tech that accelerates app delivery and modification, offers new opportunities and solutions that can help you circumvent some of these obstacles.
Platform Engineering: The Modernization Solution
Businesses must employ platform engineering if they want their legacy apps and processes to keep up with competitors and new tech; it is essential to managing a more agile, reliable, and high-quality development cycle. To get started, companies should lean on established and reliable platform engineering frameworks like CTG’s FoundationOne.
The lack of solution accelerators and frameworks is another tricky obstacle for companies; without pre-established development processes or a support platform, you could end up having to rewrite your legacy software entirely. Most frameworks lack services surrounding design patterns as well as a complete DevSecOps environment and automated test platform. Instead, they primarily provide tools and capabilities for application management and deployment. FoundationOne is designed to provide solutions for every step of the modernization process.
FoundationOne addresses architectural requirements by leveraging a data-centric and event-driven approach. It is designed to meet the needs of on-premise, cloud, or hybrid environments and is particularly focused on satisfying the architectural needs of complex solutions where there are limited options due to scale and complexity.
Having the right platform engineering framework can be invaluable to software engineers looking to quickly build and deploy services while focusing on the primary goals of solving business problems. Platform engineering provides the necessary tools for streamlining code deployment pipelines and running tests automatically, allowing developers to spend more time on their primary tasks rather than being weighed down by tedious infrastructure-related duties. Don’t wait; accelerate your application modernization with FoundationOne.
Ben Park, Ph.D., is a software engineering and development leader with more than 30 years’ experience developing and deploying custom-built software solutions. As CTG’s Director of Software Development, he leads a team of software development professionals that build flexible solutions to meet the needs of enterprise clients across industries. Dr. Park is a proven, motivated, and enthusiastic leader that understands how to apply a strategic vision to practice, seeks and forms collaborative teams, and transforms groups into teams aligned to a common vision. Dr. Park is an award-winning technical leader with the knowledge to design large systems of systems as well as small, embedded devices. With a Ph.D. focus in globally distributed teams using agile software development, he has a clear understanding of what is needed to operate in multiple time zones, locations, and cultures.
Curtis Thompson, MBA
Senior Client Partner
CTG Senior Client Partner Curtis Thompson, MBA, is a highly respected professional known for his exceptional talent in connecting business leaders with technology teams, resulting in an impressive portfolio of award-winning solutions across the global energy, financial services, and manufacturing sectors. Working alongside his father, Curtis has multiple patents related to an innovative camera system, which reflects his unwavering determination in turning ideas into reality. With a deep understanding of both business and technology, he excels in simplifying complex ideas, fostering collaboration, and driving organizations to achieve remarkable outcomes. Curtis's visionary approach and track record of success establish him as a trailblazer, shaping a future where innovation and business expertise unite for unparalleled success in enterprises worldwide.