An Introduction to Application Development

Modernizing Old Applications:

An Introduction to Application Modernization

Modernization of Applications: An Introduction to Application Development

Why are we talking about application modernization? What current challenges are companies facing with regard to application development? What concepts and solutions are available? In this article we will attempt to address these and further questions in greater detail.

Why Application Modernization?

The significance of IT has shifted strongly in recent years. The method of working has moved away from the reactive provision of technical resources and support, transforming into an “enabler” role. With the aid of IT, companies can deliver precious added value, which is essential to prevail in the face of competition. Above all, this added value includes software, hardware, data centers, cloud provision and securing expanding flows of data.

IT utilizes end-to-end IT modernization to create the prerequisites for recruiting new skilled staff, as devices and software provide key evidence of the status of digitalization within a company.

Legacy applications constitute the greatest challenge on the path to digitalization. In many companies there are specialized applications in use that have been adapted and optimized for precisely these work approaches and internal processes. Old applications (legacy apps) are often unable to keep pace with the transition in IT, suffering from performance weaknesses and a lack of interfaces in the new systems. The increasing requirements of contemporary data collection and processing as well as evaluation has either left the apps bloated or resulted in isolated applications, as workarounds are required.

The Challenges of Legacy Applications

Let us look at this issue in detail: what urgent problems have we identified with our customers that affect IT departments and indeed entire companies, and that have an impact on both technical and digital transformation? And what approach can application development take regarding this?

  • Business agility: How do companies keep their business model agile, so that they can respond to changing requirements? IT is relatively rigid – trapped in update/upgrade cycles, with software solutions purchased for years. How can this be changed?
  • Transformations roadmap: How can a strategy for the transformation of applications be developed?
  • Budget allocation: How can the innovation budget be increased and shared out? Can tasks be reassigned to free up funds for new (innovative) projects?
  • Current data stock: How can the existing data stock be made available for improved processing?
  • User experience: How satisfied are employees and customers with the applications currently provided? Can facilitated working deliver added value?

Application modernization means that applications are updated with a contemporary structure (code) and rendered cloud-ready. The fundamental trend in the IT world towards hybrid data centers calls for a rethink – including with regard to the use of business-critical applications. For secure and rapid data processing this includes ensuring legally-compliant transfer, saving and access, as well as the use of the latest options for evaluation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning play an increasing role in this.

How is Application Development Conducted?

The industry already offers “ready-to-use” software that meets specific standardized requirements. Application modernization focuses on software development for specialist requirements. The decision regarding which path is the right one for a respective company and its needs is prepared with the aid of a tried-and-tested procedure.

The path to modernization is as follows:

  1. Design Thinking (What is desired? What is the requirement?)
  2. Lean Startup (What is the solution? Which approach is suitable?)
  3. Agile Project (Development of software with modern, iterative methods)
Your Way to Application Modernization
Image 1: the common way of modernization, source: SoftwareONE

Approaches to Application Modernization

Monolithic applications can be successively redesigned, as new functions are added to the "encapsulated" application in modular application sections, via interfaces.

  1. Rehosting is suitable for transferring an application to a new data platform / server / data center.
  2. Replatforming enables the shifting of the platform on which the application runs.
  3. Rearchitecting: The application is rebuilt using a new technology (function 1:1) – often resulting in an update and further adaptations.
  4. Refactoring is the restructuring of an application in the existing code (large amount of initial effort required, only possible with existing team).
  5. Replacing and Rebuilding are approaches of complete new development.
An Introduction to Application Development
Image 2: Application Modernization, source: SoftwareONE

Support input falls increasingly (Encapsule – Rehosting – Rearchitect – Refactoring – Replace – Rebuild)
The complexity of the project increases (Encapsule – Rehosting – Rearchitect – Refactoring – Replace – Rebuild)

Application Services by SoftwareONE

With our Application Modernization Services you can enhance business agility, productivity and efficiency and receive device-independent solutions. The time up until market readiness of the software is speeded up via our Quick-Win strategy.

Overview of our services:

  1. Specialist discussion and consulting on the requirements of the company on the path to digitalization. This includes design thinking as well as digital assessments, to understand the business goals as well as the digitalization and automation objectives of a company.
  2. Legacy software, the technical basis of which may receive no operational support or that can no longer be maintained. This is often especially sensitive software that cannot be allowed to fail due to its business relevance and that needs to be rendered future-capable.
  3. New business requirements can also be fulfilled via a newly-developed software (greenfield approach).
  4. In the scope of intelligent (process) automation it is clarified whether SaaS solution is the right choice (such as Teams or SharePoint) or whether smaller adjustments (Custom Application Development, Low Code with Power Apps, Power Automate) need to be made.
  5. Data-supported decision-making aids can be enabled via contemporary data processing and evaluation as well as data transfer. Data warehousing, BI & AI analytics enable much enhanced processing of the company’s own data.
  6. Managed Application Services: Support from application technicians and infrastructure consultants for holistic support of operations (like an SaaS solution) also for your software created individually by us. This also includes security consulting and consideration.

This reduces the risks and inefficiencies associated with old applications, as we create software using the latest, cloud-based technology. The cloud architecture design facilitates the consolidation of application and data – but also minimizes the risk of downtime thanks to higher reliability and disaster recovery functions.

From Requirement to Solution

1. Advisory approach workshop

... for specialist understanding

  1. Analysis of the situation
  2. Understanding of requirements
  3. Coordination and agreement of approach

2. Architecture & planning

... for technical realization

  1. Specification of target architecture
  2. Definition of time plan/input
  3. Agreement of processes/methods

3. Implementation

... in sprints (drafting/provision, review/tests, iterations)

  1. Sprint objective according to acceptance criteria
  2. Implementation and automated + manual tests
  3. Examination of results/retrospectives
  4. Work approach in iterations

Where necessary, redefinition of milestones, escalations.

Application Modernization Webinar Week: Determine Your Path to Modernization

Take an in-depth look at application modernization, the risks and issues with outdated applications, and the various ways in which technical implementation can take place. Register for our Application Modernization webinar week and become an App Modernization expert.

Register now
  • Application Services, Future Workplace, User Productivity
  • Application Modernization, Digital Transformation

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Author

Steffen Becker

Steffen Becker

Solution Sales Leader Application Services

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