With the kind of competition and race in the current landscape, organizations are constantly challenged to stay afloat and meet the evolving demands of their customers. However, the antiquated business systems, applications, and processes that were once groundbreaking end up becoming obstacles that hinder progress. Legacy systems, which were revolutionary 30+ years ago, now struggle to compete with modern technology and integrate seamlessly with new software.
The problem is that these legacy applications, although still in operation and often mission-critical, monopolize IT resources and hinder innovation. Their incompatibility with modern software and limitations in functionality impede business growth and efficiency. To unlock the full potential of digital transformation, organizations must confront the challenge of legacy migration and modernization.
In this article, we delve into the complex world of legacy migration and explore how low-code technology can simplify the development of custom business applications that can replace, enhance, or supplement legacy systems.
Read on to discover how legacy migration can unlock new possibilities, improve efficiency, and pave the way for a more agile and competitive future.
What is Legacy Migration?
Legacy migration refers to the process of upgrading or transferring outdated or legacy systems, applications, or infrastructure to modern, more efficient, and technologically advanced platforms. It involves migrating data, functionalities, and business processes from older systems to newer ones that offer enhanced capabilities, scalability, security, and performance.
Legacy systems are typically outdated, built on older technologies, and may lack compatibility with modern software and hardware environments. They often pose challenges such as limited functionality, maintenance difficulties, security vulnerabilities, and scalability issues. Legacy migration aims to overcome these limitations by modernizing and optimizing the systems to align with current business needs and technology trends.
Legacy migration can involve various approaches, including rehosting (moving the system to a new infrastructure with minimal changes), re-platforming (migrating to a new platform while making minor modifications), refactoring (restructuring and optimizing code without changing the core functionality), or rebuilding (rebuilding the system from scratch using modern technologies).
What are the Types of Legacy Migration?
Legacy migration projects can be classified into two main types: lift-and-shift and business transformation. Let's explore each of these categories in the context of technical blog content.
Lift-and-shift legacy migrations
Lift-and-shift projects are typically driven by the IT department when there is a need to update or replace the underlying infrastructure or technology. These migrations are often initiated due to cost considerations or technological obsolescence. In this scenario, the objective is to rebuild the existing system on a one-to-one basis, without significant changes in functionality or business processes. The primary focus is on modernizing the underlying technology stack while maintaining the same operational capabilities. By undertaking a lift-and-shift migration, organizations aim to continue their existing operations with improved performance, scalability, and efficiency.
Business transformation initiatives drive most legacy migration projects. These migrations are initiated by the business itself, with the aim of replacing legacy systems that no longer adequately support critical business processes or deliver optimal user experiences. Unlike lift-and-shift migrations, business transformation projects require not only technical modernization but also significant changes in functionality and user workflows. These migrations focus on enabling the business to adopt new and improved processes while maintaining compatibility with existing ones.
Within the category of business transformation, two distinct types of legacy systems can be identified:
Core legacy migrations:
These migrations involve larger systems that were originally built by central IT, such as portals and custom ERP systems. Core legacy migrations require careful consideration of scale, performance optimization, and the complex migration of legacy databases. The goal is to modernize these mission-critical systems, ensuring they meet the evolving needs of the business while preserving the integrity of existing data and processes.
Non-core legacy migrations:
Non-core legacy migrations involve smaller, departmental applications that were initially developed by business units using tools like Microsoft Access, SharePoint, or Lotus Notes. These applications often lack centralized governance and may have been built with limited scalability in mind. Successfully migrating non-core legacy systems requires a focus on business enablement, establishing centralized governance, and ensuring smooth data migration processes.
Organizations can plan and execute migrations more effectively by understanding the different types of legacy migration projects and their specific requirements, ultimately achieving improved system performance, enhanced user experiences, and increased operational efficiency.
Challenges of Legacy Migration
In legacy migrations, it is crucial for organizations to prioritize flexibility to avoid creating tomorrow's legacy. The goal is to build a system that can easily adapt to future changes and evolving business needs.
To achieve this, leveraging low-code platforms can be highly beneficial. These platforms enable organizations to embrace a modern app architecture that promotes agility, leveraging microservices. It is important to choose a platform that allows for the creation of autonomous apps and services that can be easily recombined and shared. This facilitates fast and frequent change cycles, enabling the system to evolve and meet new business requirements.
A future-proof platform is essential to ensure that the migrated system remains maintainable in the long run. By utilizing a platform that enables developers to rapidly adopt best-of-breed modern technologies, organizations can empower their staff to contribute and innovate, even without expert-level knowledge. This approach not only promotes flexibility but also ensures that the system is well-documented and visually constructed, facilitating ease of maintenance and future enhancements.
In core legacy systems, performance at scale is often a significant challenge. To address this, it is essential to choose a low-code platform that can provide the necessary resiliency and high availability for mission-critical use.
A key aspect to consider is whether the low-code platform has a cloud-native architecture. This architecture allows for seamless deployment and ensures that the new solution can handle scalability and high loads. By leveraging cloud-native capabilities, such as automatic failover, organizations can ensure continuous operation of their business-critical applications. This means that even in the event of a failure or disruption, the system can quickly switch to backup resources, minimizing downtime and ensuring uninterrupted access for users.
By selecting a low-code platform with a cloud-native architecture, organizations can mitigate the performance issues commonly associated with legacy systems. They can achieve the scalability, resiliency, and high availability required for mission-critical applications, enabling a seamless and reliable user experience.
When evaluating low-code platforms for legacy system migration, it is crucial to prioritize the platform's ability to deliver performance at scale and handle high loads. This ensures that the new solution can meet the demands of the modern digital landscape and overcome the limitations of legacy systems.
3.Lack of Foresight
Legacy migration projects can be challenging, especially when it comes to maintaining the quality of the applications throughout the process. Due to the size and complexity of these solutions, there is often a lack of proper oversight, which can lead to technical debt and hinder long-term maintainability.
To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to choose a low-code platform that incorporates automated quality, testing, and performance monitoring within the development lifecycle. This ensures that quality assurance measures are integrated seamlessly into the migration process from the beginning.
By selecting a low-code platform with embedded automated quality tools, organizations can proactively monitor and address the quality of their applications throughout the migration journey. These tools help identify and address potential issues, bugs, or performance bottlenecks early on, reducing the likelihood of technical debt accumulation. Additionally, automated testing capabilities enable thorough testing of the migrated applications, ensuring that they meet the required standards and perform as expected.
When developing a new solution, it is crucial to prioritize usability and take a user-centric approach. By utilizing low-code development, you can adopt a design thinking methodology to create an application that caters to the needs of your users effectively. This approach involves gaining a deep understanding of the users and the business context, which allows you to identify and address any process gaps that may have existed in the legacy system.
By closing these process gaps, you can deliver an end-to-end solution that brings substantial productivity gains. Additionally, this level of understanding may also lead to the incorporation of new capabilities that were not available in the legacy system. For example, you might consider adding mobile support or a conversational user interface (UI) to enhance the user experience and make the application more engaging.
It's important to select a platform that empowers the business to actively participate in the design process. By involving the business stakeholders, such as domain experts or end-users, you can ensure that the application's usability aligns with their requirements and preferences. This collaborative approach helps in creating an application that is both usable and successful.
Why do you need Legacy Migration?
Improved Efficiency: Legacy systems often suffer from outdated technology, complex architectures, and performance limitations. By migrating to a modern solution, you can leverage advanced technologies, streamlined processes, and optimized workflows, resulting in improved efficiency and productivity.
Enhanced User Experience: Legacy systems may lack intuitive interfaces and modern user experiences, leading to user frustration and decreased productivity. Migrating to a new system allows you to incorporate user-centric design principles, intuitive interfaces, and responsive layouts, providing a more engaging and satisfying user experience.
Scalability and Flexibility: Legacy systems are often inflexible and struggle to adapt to changing business needs. Migrating to a modern solution enables scalability and flexibility, allowing your system to handle increased user loads, accommodate growth, and easily integrate with other applications or services.
Cost Saving: Legacy systems can be expensive to maintain, with high maintenance costs, specialized personnel requirements, and limited vendor support. Migrating to a modern solution can reduce maintenance costs, increase operational efficiency, and provide access to more cost-effective technologies and platforms.
Business Agility: Legacy systems may hinder innovation and slow down the implementation of new business initiatives. Migrating to a modern solution empowers your organization to embrace new technologies, leverage emerging trends (such as cloud computing or mobile support), and quickly adapt to changing market demands, enabling greater business agility.
Data Security and Compliance: Legacy systems may have vulnerabilities and lack robust security features, putting sensitive data at risk. Migrating to a modern solution allows you to incorporate state-of-the-art security measures, data encryption, and compliance standards, ensuring data protection and regulatory compliance.
Integration Capabilities: Legacy systems often struggle with integrating with other applications or services, hindering data flow and collaboration. Migrating to a modern solution provides opportunities for seamless integration with other systems, APIs, and third-party services, enabling data exchange, process automation, and improved collaboration.
Support and Maintenance: Legacy systems may face challenges in terms of ongoing support, as vendors often discontinue support or expertise becomes scarce. Migrating to a modern solution ensures access to ongoing support, regular updates, and a wider pool of skilled professionals who can maintain and enhance the system.
Embarking on the journey of legacy migration opens up a world of possibilities for organizations. It's a transformative step towards embracing innovation, enhancing productivity, and future-proofing your business operations. By bidding farewell to outdated systems and ushering in modern solutions, you pave the way for improved efficiency, exceptional user experiences, and the ability to swiftly adapt to ever-evolving market demands.
At Saffron Tech, we understand the complexities and challenges involved in legacy migration. With our expertise in cutting-edge technologies and a proven track record of successful legacy platform upgrades, we are the ideal partner to guide you through this transformative process. Let us help you unlock the true potential of your business by seamlessly transitioning from the past to the future.