As Technology Directors, we are sometimes confronted with the challenging task of deciding how to handle obsolete programs and infrastructure. These applications may demand outdated hardware or be built on outdated programming languages or technologies. They might have been created by a disbanded team or bought from a vendor that is now defunct.
It is apparent that the best course of action is to explore alternative platforms. Nonetheless, those who have undergone the selection, implementation, and transition process can testify that this is easier said than done. The most visible expenses are incurred during the acquisition and installation of the new hardware and software.
Transferring specialized featuresMany legacy systems have amassed several individual alterations and personalized configurations over time; if you plan to shift to a new platform, you must either keep these changes or find appropriate substitutes.
IntegrationsUsually, the more established a system is, the more other systems it has been linked with. An enterprise accounting system could have hundreds of interfaces, ranging from real-time transactional connections to overnight batch operations. To ensure a successful migration, the current interfaces must be duplicated in the new application, or a ‘translation layer’ should be implemented to connect the two.
Data TransferThe information saved in the legacy systems must be moved to the new ones. The simplest approach is to keep the old system in a “read-only” mode, which enables users to view the data without making any adjustments to the transactions. However, this method is not the easiest to use as it necessitates the upkeep of outdated infrastructure.
The implementation of a new system may result in a significant rise in expenses due to the current intricacies. When conducting your evaluation, you should contemplate if it is feasible to update the current application to prolong its lifespan or, at the very least, to establish the groundwork for a smooth transition to an alternative.
Transform into a Service-based Economy
Through the adoption of a service-oriented strategy, it is feasible to revive inactive applications. This method involves breaking down monolithic systems into autonomous services and offering an API for inter-service communication. For instance, a service might be generated to offer the date, status, tracking information, and line items of a customer’s order when its number is entered.
Regardless of whether the order data is preserved in a 30-year-old COBOL program or a new cloud service, it can all be accessed using the same standard API.
The significant advantage of breaking down critical applications into services is the adaptability it provides to modify each distinct component without disturbing the remainder of the system. This essentially establishes a universal data exchange protocol, enabling autonomous adjustments to be implemented.
Starting this transformation may demand substantial effort and expenses; nonetheless, leveraging API management software like MuleSoft and Boomi can aid in ensuring a prompt execution. Services can be gradually implemented, with a restricted number of functionalities accessible initially, before expanding as the infrastructure is enhanced.
Elevate User Experience
Refreshing an outmoded application is similar to providing a residence with a new coat of paint and updating its exterior. Requests to substitute an application may stem from user discontent with its existing version instead of any fundamental concerns.
Numerous clients find business accounting software, such as Oracle or SAP, utilised for time and expense tracking, to be overly intricate. A possible solution to improve user satisfaction is to implement a cost-effective alternative like a user-friendly mobile application.
Despite the necessity to uphold the backend APIs, customisations, and intricate processes of the original programme, incorporating a contemporary, simplified front-end gives the application a new appearance and enhances the user’s experience.
Swift front-end development tools have simplified the integration of state-of-the-art user interfaces in outmoded applications.
Concentrating on specific tasks, rather than replicating every screen from the existing application in the new one, can increase efficiency. For instance, in most corporate software, the order-entry process entails several screens and numerous editable fields. If your enterprise only necessitates a portion of the information, the user interface can be simplified by presenting solely the pertinent elements on a single screen. Although advanced users and administrators have complete access, providing simpler interfaces for inexperienced users can enhance their proficiency and productivity.
Elevate and Rearrange
The expenses linked to maintaining the hardware that sustains an obsolete application can significantly impact the decision to replace a system. Investing in an upgrade for a legacy system might not be financially viable if the programme is due for eventual replacement.
Cloud computing presents significant benefits, such as the capability to delegate tasks, buy processing resources as required, and entrust hardware upgrades and maintenance to the provider.
Adopting cloud technology also grants the opportunity to avail ‘lift and shift’ conveniences from several service providers. It is necessary to bear in mind that this service is not complimentary, and you will still require to bear expenses for computer time in case you opt to migrate your applications to the provider’s platform. Although, this may prove to be more cost-efficient than retaining outdated hardware.
The cloud serves as a centralised platform for collaborating with both internal and external applications and services, thus making it a suitable tool to help you prepare for a service-oriented architecture alteration.
When confronted with the requirement to discard an outdated system, it may seem easier to go for direct replacement. Nevertheless, with the help of a mixture of methods, it is feasible to postpone this potentially expensive resolution and redirect resources to a more pressing situation.