App Modernisation vs Investments in New Tech: The Best Way to Update Your Digital Infrastructure
The phrase "legacy infrastructure" gets bad press sometimes. It tends to describe old-fashioned solution architecture as outdated and out of step with the pace of modern business. In other words, it's something you need to get rid of.
As with many concepts relating to software and solutions, this is only partly true. After all, your legacy systems have probably served you well, and they may still be helping you achieve great results for your business. This doesn't mean you don't need to evolve and update your software solutions — leveraging capabilities such as business process automation and machine learning — but you may be able to achieve this without a complete overhaul of your systems and all the disruption this brings.
Of course, this won't be possible in all cases. There will come a time when your legacy systems have run their course — when application modernisation is not enough or when it proves too difficult and expensive to bring these solutions up to date. In these instances, it may be better to invest in wholly new technology. It's all about understanding your own situation and needs and plotting a course that will provide you with highly capable digital infrastructure efficiently and cost-effectively.
To help you reach a decision for your business, let's take a look at these options in more detail.
Weighing Up Your Options: Understanding Application Modernisation
Application modernisation essentially means you keep your legacy solutions but update them to meet the needs of today's market. There are a number of potential advantages to this method.
• You can achieve better business continuity, avoiding the downtime that may arise from a complete replacement of your digital infrastructure.
• If handled correctly, the modernisation process will give your solutions the capability they need, adding functionality such as automated and AI-based features.
• Modernisation may be more cost-effective in some cases, as you do not need to replace the entire software architecture.
• Your teams may find it easier to use modernised versions of legacy apps rather than getting to grips with a whole new system.
There are potential downsides and obstacles, too, however.
• If your legacy systems have reached the end of their lifespan, bringing them into line with modern needs can be tricky — you could find yourself compromising on certain features and capabilities.
• Security hardening will likely be harder to retrofit into a legacy platform if there are fewer recently released updates or patches.
• App modernisation is not always the most cost-effective option, and large-scale modernisation projects may be more expensive than just replacing the existing system with a new solution.
• There will still be some downtime during the app modernisation project, and personnel will still need training on utilising the new features.
• App modernisation is effectively a delay tactic — there will come a time when the legacy software can no longer be updated and will need to be replaced.
Weighing Up Your Options: Understanding New Tech Investments
One option for exploring new tech is custom software development. By investing in this kind of development, you can do away with legacy systems and achieve a whole new solution architecture. You can also choose out-of-box solutions purchased as new, including SaaS, which will help you continually update your digital infrastructure on an ongoing basis. These options bring their own advantages.
• There is no compromise with custom software development — your software will perfectly meet your business's specific needs.
• If your legacy systems are particularly outdated, replacing them with out-of-box, custom-developed, or SaaS solutions may be more cost-effective than modernising them.
• Investing in new will reset the clock on your systems' lifespan, and this architecture will last longer than updated legacy architecture. The SaaS model will also ensure you receive the latest versions of software whenever these are released.
• Custom software development allows you to dictate your organisation's future — you are achieving a solution that supports your desired path rather than altering your plans to fit the limitations of legacy systems.
Of course, disadvantages also exist:
• You may need to be ready to manage a longer period of downtime while the custom system is brought online.
• Costs will need to be carefully measured — is this investment the right choice for your business at the present moment? For example, custom development tends to carry higher initial costs, but out-of-box and SaaS options are usually more expensive to license, increasing the cost over time.
• Your legacy systems may still be capable of achieving what you need with some retuning. As a result, a complete overhaul may not always be necessary.
• You will need to factor in additional costs, such as training personnel using the new system.
Selecting the Best Course of Action
Whether to opt for app modernisation, a complete systems overhaul with custom software development, or another form of new tech is a personal choice. It depends on your business, your needs and expectations, and the current health of your legacy architecture. Reach out to our team to discuss your options and discover how you can achieve the software solutions you need to thrive in your market.