Modernizing Legacy Applications – The When, Why, and How
Almost every enterprise operates with some kind of legacy application. These applications have proven to be stable time and time again but eventually, they reach a point where they begin to outlive their usefulness. Imagine being in a situation where you’re trying to hire new staff members for your IT department, but can’t find any solid candidates because the technology you’re using is so obsolete that no one learns how to use it anymore?
You could always plan on having a person “pass the torch” and train a new hire on how to maintain your existing application, but now you’re faced with a different set of unknowns. How long will it take to train a new hire on the technology being used? What about the time it will take to get them up to speed on how the application is being used and why it’s used that way? What happens if a member with key knowledge passes away or quits unexpectedly?
In a perfect world, we’d never have to worry about a loss of staff, our networks would never have issues, all of our deliveries would be on time, and we’d always have the budget we need. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and regardless of how hard we try, we still need to be prepared for any and all scenarios that can happen. This becomes especially true in industries that regularly need to monitor their assets.
Now keep in mind that no one is suggesting that you should upgrade your solutions frequently or do so just because you can. Most would agree that keeping a functional system in place is by far the best option for any active enterprise or organization running their daily operations. The system is already in place and it is doing its job so there’s no reason to change it if you don’t need to. But, by being able to identify the symptoms of an aging system and knowing when it’s time to upgrade or replace it can potentially save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
So ask yourself some of these questions. Can your application integrate with other, newer applications to share data if required? What about if there are regulatory changes, can your application take those into account? Can your existing application hold its own against newer applications? Can your IT staff easily and efficiently manage and maintain your applications? If the answers are no to any of these questions, then you should be thinking about what you can do to upgrade your solution.
It’s Time to Upgrade, Now What?
Let’s imagine you’ve reached a point where your current applications just aren’t cutting it anymore. Everyone involved in the decision-making process is in agreement and you begin to research your options but during this process, you come to a realization:
You need to find a way to preserve your existing data
You have all of this operational information about many different aspects of your business and operations and losing any of it is simply not an option. Your initial reaction might be to say “I’ll export the information” but depending on how your data is stored, this may or may not be an option. After all, the world of asset management and maintenance is not the most straightforward when it comes to capturing and storing information. There’s a multitude of related information to any specific record so maintaining these relationships between pieces of data could prove to be especially difficult, if not impossible.
Assuming that you can export all of your data, using an off the shelf solution may prove more difficult than you’d think. Unless this product can meet over 90% of your requirements, you’ll most likely end up having to enlist an army of consultants to customize the solution. In other words, you’re going to be paying a lot of money for them to make it work for you.
You can always rebuild your application from the ground up, but now you’re going to be incurring a lengthy development cycle that requires extensive analysis, functional specifications, development and testing time, and deployment. All of which add up to being a large investment of time and money. And to top it off, you might end up being in the same position you’re in now in a few years. But what if you could do this for a fraction of the time and cost?
An application as a whole being outdated doesn’t mean that every aspect of it. For example, imagine your application uses Active Directory or LDAP to authenticate users. Just because you’re updating doesn’t mean this needs to change. The user roles and permissions are in place already, your IT staff has experience with maintenance, and it’s proven to be an effective means of user authentication for you so why change that?
This is only one specific instance where bits and pieces of your existing system can be re-used and it’s exactly what we’re offering with our application modernization services. CHAMPS provides you with an accelerated and cost efficient plan to update your applications while re-using any applicable parts of your current system to provide you with a modern, scalable, and future-proof application.