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A Comprehensive Guide on Legacy Application Modernization in 2024

10 Jan 2024
Ditstek Blogs

Application Modernization

In today’s digital age, an organization’s system or software can either make or break the game, when it comes to expanding or getting a competitive edge. This means the software's capabilities to keep up with the dynamic business needs is something that can’t be ignored. This is where a well-thought strategy for modernising a legacy application comes in.

According to IDC, most legacy applications will likely undergo modernization by 2024. And, 65% of these applications will likely leverage cloud services to improve the overall functionality or replace the old code. Clearly, modernizing legacy systems will be a prevalent trend in 2024.

However, legacy system modernization is a complex process that requires careful planning. So in this blog post, we will guide you with essential steps in building a practical application modernization roadmap and how to overcome challenges that come along with the process.

Legacy System Modernization

Legacy systems can be referred to as old software, incumbent tech, or systems that tend to hinder a company’s ability to grow or evolve with the changing market requirements. In simple words, when a system or software is no longer able to keep up with an organization’s needs, it is called a legacy system.

Here is how to identify a legacy system -

  • A legacy system does not integrate with modern software.
  • It does not get security updates and the maintenance cost is quite high.
  • A legacy system takes a while to load or run and has several redundant features that offer no functionality.

These are just a few signs that you have a legacy system in place. However, having an outdated or old legacy system does not necessarily mean that it is obsolete. Legacy systems could be an important part of businesses for daily operations. Such businesses use modernization tools to keep their legacy system running.

Legacy application modernization involves adding new features to an old system, updating the IT infrastructure, and improving the architecture. This not only addresses the limitations of the old system, but also ensures that the system aligns with the latest industry trends, ever-changing business requirements, and security standards.

Legacy Application Modernization

A Step-by-Step Legacy Application Modernization Strategy

A legacy system modernization strategy is a roadmap that defines the steps to modernize an existing application or system to improve its user experience, performance, and functionality. Below are the seven steps to creating an application modernization strategy-

  • Define your software modernization goals

If you plan to switch the COBOL environment to Java, it is not going to solve the problem. In order to reap the benefits of legacy modernization, it is advised to align the modernization goals with your business objectives while focusing on scalability, new features, and quick time-to-market.

  • Check the issues in your current system

Another important step in updating legacy software is finding and fixing issues. If the existing system doesn't meet your current organizational or IT requirements, it's crucial to identify and address these issues. Look for problems in the application or system that bother users, and focus on addressing those specific issues.

  • Design modernization

Assessing and designing legacy modernization requires a strategic approach that includes identifying the requirements, assessing possibilities, and defining a modernization strategy. Here are the 4 legacy modernization approaches to consider while mapping out a legacy modernization strategy-

  • Replatform
  • Reface
  • Rebuild
  • Migrate
  • Choose methodology and timelines

After designing the modernization plan, the next is to set up a clear methodology and timelines for carrying out the plan. This involves deciding the steps, assigning responsibilities, and establishing deadlines for each task. It's important to consider any dependencies or constraints that might affect the timeline.

  • Automate modernization

The prime goal of legacy modernization is to increase value for an organization and it requires automation. Automated migration which includes refactoring legacy data to old platforms is a great way to achieve modernization. In addition, automated modernization enables organizations to modernize their systems without affecting their daily operations. 

  • Risk management planning

Application modernization comes with some risks. To manage and minimize these risks, it is crucial to create a comprehensive risk management plan. This plan should identify potential risks, set thresholds for acceptable risk levels, create plans, and establish a systematic process for monitoring and mitigating risks throughout the modernization process.

  • Establish KPIs

The next step is to define key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress. This involves pinpointing precise metrics, such as application performance, user satisfaction and delivered business value, that will be monitored to ensure the project's effectiveness.

Legacy Application Modernization

Before Starting an Application Modernization

Before you start a legacy application modernization effort, there are a few things worth considering-

  • Business Objectives

Understand your company’s overall business objectives and how will the application modernization effort help you achieve these objectives, like increasing ROI, reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction, etc.

  • Availability of Resources

Since application modernization is complex, assessing your organization’s resource availability is important. This includes assessing if your enterprise has the expertise/resources to execute the modernization process.

  • Tech Strategy

Legacy application modernization is not a one-time event. Thus, it is important to have a long-term strategy to support a business’s objectives. This involves understanding a company’s existing tech landscape, and areas to improve, and defining a roadmap for technology considerations for the future.


Legacy application modernization is a complex process; however, it is crucial in order to keep up with the evolving business needs. Whether you are looking to update your legacy system, integrate a new solution, or redesign the enterprise system, choosing top-notch legacy application modernization services from an experienced software development company is essential for achieving both short-term and long-term goals.

At Ditstek, our in-house team of software development experts has rich experience in handling legacy modernization projects for enterprise-level businesses. Let’s get in touch to design your business goals and find the best route to modernize your legacy system.


Dinesh Thakur

21+ years of IT software development experience in different domains like Business Automation, Healthcare, Retail, Workflow automation, Transportation and logistics, Compliance, Risk Mitigation, POS, etc. Hands-on experience in dealing with overseas clients and providing them with an apt solution to their business needs.

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