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Modernization of a Legacy System ─ How to Select the Right Tools

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IT systems that fail to meet modern market and user requirements won’t ever help you reveal the full potential of your enterprise. For a company to stay ahead of the competition, all of its software tools must be aligned with up-to-date goals and objectives. They must be flexible, easy to use, and equipped with modern technology.

A sensible approach to legacy system modernisation will help you keep your head above the water in the constantly shifting market conditions. By following simple steps, you can achieve the set results more efficiently and lower expenses without disrupting existing workflows.

Why Should I Modernise My IT systems?

Software is not a cognac that only gets better with age. Reliable and well-proven, but the old system can undermine your business. At that, timely updated software positively impacts the ability to adapt, grow, and remain competitive.

Surely, not everything old is bad, so it often makes sense to modernize instead of completely replacing systems. If the changes allow existing systems to be used without the need for a complete redesign, this is a great option. Modernization can offer a number of benefits:

  • Cost optimization. Maintaining legacy systems eats up a significant chunk of your budget. The updates help you optimize legacy code and reduce overall operating costs.
  • Efficiency boost. Legacy applications can contain bugs and technical limitations that slow down performance. Updates will reduce crashes and make the system run faster.
  • Security reinforcement. In 2020, the average cost of data breaches for companies globally is $3.86 million. Legacy technologies are more vulnerable to cyber threats.

On the other hand, modernization is not always possible. Typically, code is written for a specific platform. When porting a legacy system, it is difficult to ensure that the formats are consistent. The greater the complexity, size, and embedded business logic of the application is, the larger the budget for its maintenance is. In addition, the transition of complex software can take too long. Lack of technical skills and coding experience can also be an issue.

What is a Legacy System?

A legacy system is an information system based on old technologies that is still essential for an established workflow.

Most companies have both new and old software tools. Some people update their applications piece by piece. As long as all this works, the system is not considered obsolete. But when a piece of software, existing technology, or the entire system begins to block or slow down the ability to adapt to market dynamics, it is considered obsolete.

How to Modernize Legacy Systems

Here’s how you usually modernize software step by step.

Current state assessment

The process of assessing the current state of things is key to drawing up a modernization roadmap. You need to answer the following questions:

  • Which parts of the system are functional?
  • What is the goal of modernization?
  • What approach to pick?
  • What are the modernization terms and costs?

A complex assessment usually includes two parts:

  • Business Assessment – an analysis that shows the complexity and structure of an application, the functionality and performance of the system, and determines the supported business processes and the quality of the services offered.
  • Technical analysis – checking the source code, determining the stability and redundancy of the application. This will help you plan for solid construction, design, and the correct proportions of your interfaces.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) creation

Implementing new technologies with MVP will help you upgrade while protecting the elements that matter most to your business and users. As a result, product functions will be filtered according to current needs. This methodology is used to approve updates and test applications before the company begins actual upgrades and global rollouts.

Choosing a modernization approach

Reengineering can be applied to applications that lack performance, security, and other non-functional requirements, or those that need a complete transformation.

The software renovation will enable the introduction of new technologies, platforms, and systems that meet business goals and needs. Moreover, CRM, SCM, and ERP can also be used as segment replacements.

Software migration will fix flaws in processes, code, or applications. This could include re-hosting, refactoring, or redesigning for performance or UX updates. Migrating business-critical data requires planning. This must be done before reorganizing and migrating applications to prevent data leaks.


Manual legacy software modernization that involves a lot of code and multiple systems can be imprecise and slow. Application assessment, data migration, and deployment can and should be automated.

Legacy software modernization best practices are all about:

  • defining goals,
  • reviewing the software architecture and subdividing a system by segments if need be;
  • setting the project scale (a list of required features, security standards, regulations, and technical specifics);
  • prioritizing mobility and accessibility (consider cloud solutions);
  • conducting smooth deployment (with product testing, connection to web services, and license checking).

Regardless of which approach you prefer, modernization will help you solve problems, improve productivity, and add important features.


There are many reasons for updating legacy applications, but there are many specifics to consider before doing so. So what is software modernization? It is a difficult, multi-stage path, through which only the true professionals can guide you. Contact Axisbits today ─ we will help you transform your legacy system into the most modern solution with the most adaptive technologies!

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