A majority of the IT services spend today goes towards keeping the lights on- maintaining existing enterprise applications, keeping systems in shape, and taking care of software that is critical to the business- no matter how obsolete they get.
Moving legacy systems to modern infrastructure look promising to IT enterprises as it means reducing IT spend, optimizing processes and resources. It utilizes everything available to its full potential.
Modernizing IT through agile methodologies can speed up the provision of IT services by 30-50%, according to McKinsey.
For IT teams looking to rapidly develop their mobile, cloud, and web capabilities, legacy application modernization becomes critical. As technologies advance and businesses evolve, legacy systems start being a bottleneck to growth instead of drivers of growth.
Let’s look at how integration can help modernize legacy systems.
Legacy modernization with integration – a cost-effective approach
As applications age, their maintenance costs increase. It gets increasingly difficult to add new code to them and update the existing documentation. The inefficiency, limited visibility, and inflexibility of outdated software becomes a liability. This is where companies can turn to modernization.
Legacy modernization can happen in one of the following four ways:
- Total transformation – This is where everything obsolete is shown the bin. As a business discards old technology, it rebuilds functionalities on new platforms. This approach might sound expensive to a lot of businesses.
- Gradual replacement – This is a component-by-component approach to modernization where businesses gradually automate, digitize, and modernize parts of their business.
- Duct tape approach – This is where companies use small fixes here and there to amend things on the verge of breaking.
- Improve existing – Here, integrations and redesigning allow companies to improve upon the existing capabilities, without causing a lot of internal disruption to operations.
Naturally, integrations make for a cost-effective approach to legacy modernization, given any business can go on using legacy functionality as usual, while utilizing APIs to leverage cloud capabilities, for instance.
Tips for Modernization through Integration
- Leverage APIs and API-led connectivity – APIs are no longer simply a technical interface, but guide revenue by connecting with internal and partner applications. Thus, these have become a priority for businesses when they choose to modernize legacy systems. Enterprises need to leverage APIs to rapidly implement innovations in mobile, IoT, social, and big data.
API development is regarded as a complex and resource-intensive task. But some systems, such as Mulesoft make API management swifter, faster, and simpler. Modern technologies are API-ready by default and API vendors typically offer support for most programming languages and out of the box frameworks.
- Rethink the architecture and prioritize simplicity – Legacy systems often fail to perform owing to their complex architectures. A thumb rule with modernization can be minimalistic- for both functionality and architecture begin by implementing only the most important features. Consider a microservices-based approach to add flexibility and scalability to your IT infrastructure. A simple architecture will always be easy to maintain and run. Therefore, look for ways to simplify the integration of services, data, and systems.
- Consider the best approach – Replacement might not be the best option when facing a legacy challenge of any kind. Gartner predicts that continuous modernization of legacy applications will need companies to spend three times more than they are planning to by the end of 2020. The efficiency of this investment depends on what approach you take to modernization. When faced with a legacy challenge, the key to defining an approach to modernization lies in whether the problem is caused by the technology, the functionality of the application, or the architecture. Then, attempt to look at what approach could solve the challenge cost-effectively alongside a quick ROI.
- Think partnerships and microservices – According to Accenture, technology-driven partnerships are one of the latest trends allowing companies to scale and expand into new environments and ecosystems. Enterprises can increase partnerships by leveraging integration capabilities. Tech-based partnerships require moving to modern systems that can support them. This means it makes sense for businesses to invest in microservices architecture for its rapid integration with new partners. By 2020, 90% of all new apps will be based on a microservices architecture that improves the underlying ability to update, design, debug, and leverage third-party code, according to IDC Worldwide Digital Transformation 2019 Predictions.
- Integrations for on-cloud capabilities – According to McKinsey, shifting to the cloud can help slash IT overhead costs by 30-40% by eliminating the overprovisioning that happens in on-premise infrastructure and reducing app downtime. Traditional approaches to moving to the cloud might look expensive in terms of the cost, time, and effort. This is where integrations and API-led connectivity can play a vital role. APIs, in this regard play a specific role- delivering an experience, unlocking data from systems, compiling data into processes, and so on. API-led connectivity is a methodical way to connect apps to data via purposeful and reusable APIs. They also eliminate the hassle of having to learn everything about the underlying software solutions.
Modernization of legacy systems can become as easy as lifting a finger by using API-led connectivity that exposes underlying functionality while hiding the complexity. By adding an abstraction layer, APIs eliminate any tight coupling between applications and systems, facilitating a smoother shift to new and latest technologies.
If you are wondering how APIs and microservices can help you in the modernization journey, Acuvate’s specialists can assist. We make integration work for you. Explore MuleSoft’s services and offerings to enable integration, digitization, and modernization.