Technology has continued to evolve and emerge over the years setting the pace of innovations and development. The highest-ranking companies now utilize AI platforms and digital ecosystems to help develop new products and services and improve their business operations.

Al can make a significant impact on data-driven decisioning within business applications, while SaaS and digital platforms enable better data integration, collaboration, migration, and monitoring.

As technology evolves, the demand to modernize legacy systems increases. About 60% of businesses plan to start a modernization project within the next 12 months, while 23% aim to begin two projects, and 13% are planning to commence three.

97% of leading enterprises admit they have active plans to move parts of legacy applications to the cloud in 2020, but only about 28 percent have been able to see this to a reality. Therefore, every organization that will succeed in the digital age needs to adapt to technology changes to succeed and deliver on their customers' needs.

What are legacy systems?
Legacy Application

The term "legacy" was coined in the 1970s to describe computer systems.

This refers to any hardware or software widely accepted in the past but has become outdated and/or needs better support and ability to extend and expose functionality with newer solutions.

The age of a system doesn't necessarily make it a legacy. It is the inability to support these systems and extend the capability that makes them legacy.

For about 60 years, IRS is still dependent on the same computer code developed in 1959. In 2018, the US government allocated only 20 percent of its IT budget to development, modernization, and enhancement. The rest was spent on the operations and maintenance of legacy systems.

Typical challenges with legacy

Most organizations' main concern when looking into legacy modernization revolves around how to justify the cost and effort of moving or updating legacy. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. They often overlook the following:

 
Outdated software and systems

Outdated software is less efficient and often negatively impacts the productivity of IT employees. Sticking with obsolete legacy infrastructure can hold back innovation, resulting in significant losses. Diane Chaleff, product manager in the office of the CTO for Google Cloud, says "Outdated technology forces us to work within its constraints, instead of doing what's best for the business." Any system that is hard to maintain or support and doesn't give room for easy integration of new features, and slows down a business's day-to-day operations is already outdated.

 
Inability to take advantage of big data

Most legacy systems offer no data and insights to help in decision making. Legacy modernization is a crucial step to taking advantage of big data and insights needed to move your business to the next level.

 
Increased security risks

Many legacy systems have become outdated and are no longer supported by their manufacturers. Most of these systems are not getting updated, and this increases the vulnerability of such systems. It can also constitute a security breach that may be costly in the near future.

 
Incompatibility with emerging technologies

Many legacy infrastructures were built as standalone systems decades ago, which often impacts the flexibility and scalability. If you desire to take advantage of new technologies and all of these benefits, integrating or moving legacy to the cloud is an important step you need to undertake.

 
Growing demands for compliance

Enterprises need to modernize their legacy systems to meet the growing demands for compliance by regulatory agencies. The financial services industry, for instance, is highly regulated, with enormous fines to match when there is a failure to comply with legislative and regulatory bodies guiding the industry standards. In June 2019, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed a massive fine of £319 million on erring financial firms for non-compliance to industry regulations and guidelines. This was even more than five times the annual total fine of £61 million for 2018.

 
Skill gaps

We don't find legacy skills easily in the market. As technology becomes outdated, so does the skillset of professionals who develop and use it. Finding professionals with specialized skill sets to maintain legacy systems has become a challenge that many companies currently face. Consequently, there is a growing shortage of legacy talent.

People who know legacy applications are beginning to retire, and others are no longer interested in learning legacy skills.

Paying top dollar to outsource support for legacy IT systems is no longer a viable option. If your organization wants to attract and work with a growing community of young talented developers, legacy modernization is the only solution.

According to Thanos Kaponeridis, the CEO of Aerosoft Systems, "COBOL maintenance resources are becoming increasingly hard to find these days." COBOL is a 60-year-old language that many new talents and developers may not be keen to learn in this digital age.

 
Expensive maintenance

According to a December 2017 report from VMware and MIT, 62% of IT leaders agreed that moving their existing legacy systems to cloud platforms is costly. Most of these IT leaders see integrating or modernizing present Legacy as expensive, quite challenging, and time-consuming, but the benefits of having your legacy modernized far outweigh the challenges.

Investing in legacy application modernization is a worthy investment. Organizations could save about US$30 million if they embark on legacy modernization of their legacy systems' most urgent aspect on time. This figure alone is impressive enough for many organizations still contemplating whether to bear the enormous cost associated with the maintenance and operation of legacy systems or move to a cloud-native setup.

Experts with legacy skills move towards retirement quickly, taking away with them years of experience and vital knowledge. Many organizations struggle to replace this dwindling pool of legacy skill professionals.

Transforming legacy environments allow your organization to make the best use of cloud technology while being more agile and flexible. It also enables you to become a more attractive employer to new generations entering the workforce that expect modern systems.

Legacy functionality vs. what is needed today to deliver customer delight

If you cannot deliver what your competitors can in terms of customer service and new features as quickly and as easily, you will lose market share.

Fortune 500 company Hershey's failure to embrace technology implementation in September 1999 led to its dip in stock price by 8%. In the same vein, the Victorian Department of Health's failure to implement clinical ICT systems across 19 states' health services due to poor planning and inadequate understanding of system requirements (what did this result in?).

According to Gartner, organizations that build a strong business case are more likely to succeed in modernization. Your organization should be flexible to adjust your business model, scale your processes, and adapt to the constantly changing market to meet customers' expectations on time.

How can you make legacy co-exist with modern, cloud-native applications?

Forward-looking enterprises are already migrating their legacy systems to the cloud, deploying tools to offer differentiated customer journeys and isolating functions to develop new features in real-time.

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy to migrate legacy applications to the cloud. The right migration model to adopt depends on your organization's goals, how your legacy aligns with them, and what value the legacy brings to your business.

These are three models to consider when enterprises are looking for legacy and cloud-native applications to co-exist:

Legacy Application Architecture
1. Back end - Legacy + SaaS-based digital solutions

This model is ideal for organizations that want to bridge the gap between their core legacy infrastructure and still capture the benefits of modern cloud and SaaS applications without disruption through modern, flexible ecosystem integration.

2. Legacy + Containerized microservices 

This second model has both legacy and containerized microservices combined to get the best functionality. It is a strategic path forward to make your legacy live in a "New Stack" environment by containerizing the legacy applications.

This model gives you the option to refactor everything to split legacy apps into microservices and connect these microservices into one platform. The platform has everything you need to run microservices on the back-end while the front-end looks the same.

3. Legacy + SaaS solutions + Containerized microservices

The third model is the combination of the first two models. More work may go into refactoring and containerizing your apps, but it's a less risky approach to application modernization. This is an iterative approach, and you effectively manage your risk profile as you go.

You can also combine the delivery of new features with your refactoring effort based on newly refactored components. The result will be less risk, immediate benefits, and modernization.

Examples of successful legacy modernization

Goldman Sachs, one of the world's largest financial services companies, was having a big hurdle with its technology division. For a financial institution, the speed of execution is extremely important to perform critical business activities smoothly. The complex toolchain in their legacy system was slowing down the execution of their business processes. Legacy modernization helped the banking giant simplify their workflow, achieve faster execution, and improve customer experience by more than 50%. Modernizing legacy systems enhanced the productivity of their IT staff and developers by 40%.

Another example is the legacy application modernization of a leading American multinational financial services corporation that once operated and depended on a suite of systems with poor performance due to sub-optimal application design, inability to handle emerging products such as gift cards, and a user-unfriendly front-end. Their legacy systems were re-engineered and enhanced through digital transformation move through client-server applications to web-based applications support growing business demands and new technological trends.

The legacy modernization's outstanding results include building a future proof, web-based application faster by as much as 50% at a substantially lower cost and risk. It also leads to easy accessibility by customers on both mobile and web apps. The organization also records a 14% increase in annual revenue. Modernizing their legacy systems reduced the cost of business for this enterprise by at least 13%.

In addition to the above, a US City also modernizes its legacy tax and permit processing system into an agile, scalable, and digital system through legacy modernization. The combination of back-end legacy with SaaS-based digital solutions helps the city tax department automate and accelerate their entire tax and permit processing system by up to 50% with minimal risk and saving up to 20% in operational costs.

Torry Harris legacy to cloud-native kit

Torry Harris legacy to cloud-native kit provides enterprise legacy modernization tools and services .

What does this mean for your business and enterprise?

Speedy modernization

Achieve your goals faster with our toolkit and start enjoying the benefits sooner than later.

Easily managed and scalable

Legacy modernization gives you flexibility and opportunity to scale and manage the legacy systems. Legacy to cloud-native kit is designed with flexibility and simplicity to ensure that your legacy systems' migration is seamless and hitch-free.

Cost-effective and seamless migration

Legacy to cloud-native kit is not only reliable, but it is also cost-effective to guarantee a high return on investment. You can move your legacy to cloud-native environments with minimal risks.

Flexible and scalable systems

The Cloud can meet and exceed high-performance requirements that many enterprises need at the moment. Legacy to cloud-native kit will serve to support your enterprise's needs and your business's future requirements.

Maintain legacy functionality through co-existence

The kit facilitates retention of what is good about Legacy. It helps leverage all your business differentiators built into your legacy systems over the years rather than reinvent the wheel!

The benefits of legacy to cloud-native kit include:

  • Lowering total cost of ownership
  • Reduction of complexity
  • Reduction of time-to-market
  • Elimination of technical debt
  • Improvement of agility and scalability
  • Increased responsiveness and flexibility
  • Enablement of real-time insights
Benefits of Legacy Application

Torry Harris helps a client successfully migrate their legacy beyond mobile to a digital service provider, and this move results in:

20 major legacy systems modernized
11 new functionalities offered through seamless migration
1 million+ post-paid subscribers migrated to new systems
0.5 million pre-paid subscribers migrated to new systems

The process helps to bridge the transformation gaps and deliver technical services and BSS Solutions for the client.

You can breathe a new lease of life into your legacy systems with the power of legacy to cloud-native Kit.

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