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Enterprise Application Modernization : Ultimate Guide For 2024

Team Kissflow

Updated on 25 Mar 2024 4 min read

Application modernization has become the growing area of focus for many enterprises since the COVID-19 pandemic.


Digital trends, remote work, and growing consumer expectations have put immense pressure on business leaders to accelerate innovation.

Thanks to the robust application modernization approach, organizations can now achieve quick wins with digital transformation.

So, how do you begin your application modernization journey? Which approach will best fit your organization and meet your goals? Keep reading to find answers to all of your pressing questions on application modernization.

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Enterprise Application Modernization 101

Below you’ll find the key application modernization approaches you can take along with the steps to get started.

What is Application Modernization?

Application modernization is the process of updating old software using modern technology stacks. It includes modernizing the features, languages, frameworks, internal architecture, and platform infrastructure to align the application to current business needs. This approach is also referred to as legacy application modernization. Instead of replacing or discontinuing the entire system, the application modernization process extends the lifespan while taking advantage of the current technical innovations.

Why is Enterprise Application Modernization Important?

When it comes to application modernization there’s quite a bit of hesitation because of the roadblocks such as technical debt, high cost, and shortage of resources. But obstacles can be transformed into opportunities for growth, with the right application modernization strategy. Here are 3 main reasons you should consider application modernization and optimization.

1.Improved agility

Below are the agility-related benefits of application modernization.

Faster time to market - You can deliver applications frequently by using container orchestration platforms (a popular way to manage applications & workloads via packing and deployment) like Kubernetes, adopting DevOps best practices, and breaking monolithic apps into microservices.

Quick development of new features - Modernizing apps will help you overcome technical debt and accelerate digital transformation.

Create a future-ready platform - Adopting cloud-native architectures, and by using container management systems such as Kubernetes and OpenShift, you can run mission-critical applications easily.

2.Delivering better experiences

Below are the experience-related benefits of legacy application modernization.

Improved user experience - Building new interfaces, creating low-code mobile apps, and using APIs will improve response times and resilience.

Increased developer productivity - Setting up development environments is faster and making the enterprise applications polyglot is also easy.

3.Cost reduction

Below are the cost-related benefits of the application modernization process.

Moderate use of resources - Using container orchestration platforms and modern development libraries will save a lot of resources and memory.

Independence - By choosing custom operational solutions you will be free of licensing and support-related price hikes.

Minimize support costs - By improving legacy apps using solutions such as low-code or by building a new custom software altogether, you can minimize support costs altogether.

Don’t know how to code? You can still build apps without depending on IT.

How to Determine if an App or a Product Needs Modernization?

If you’re struggling to figure out if legacy application modernization is the right path, quality and development metrics will help you find answers.

Below are the specific metrics that will help you make data-driven decisions.

Software metrics

These metrics will be useful to track your app performance in numbers.

  • Trace uptime percentage.
  • Estimate the time between failures and time to recover.
  • Calculate the time it takes to fix bugs.
  • Check for the maintenance costs. The number will be on the higher end if there are many obstacles to deal with.

After you’ve collected the data, you need to calculate the defect removal efficacy. For example, if you find 10 bugs and your team is able to fix 7, then you have a defect removal efficacy of 70%. If this efficacy rate drops, it means that unresolved issues are piling up and you need modernization.

Developer metrics

The next metric you should consider is maintainability. It will help you determine if your team is able to adapt to your new business requirements without the need to rewrite the entire application. Here’s how your development team can track the rotting areas.

  • Track the library versions and see how quickly they can be patched against security vulnerabilities.
  • Draw flow graphs to find out the independent paths. This will help to calculate the application complexity. If it’s complex, it’ll have low maintainability.
  • Look for violations of the fundamentals (code smells). If the percentage of code smells is high, it’ll increase the risk of bugs and failures.

How Do You Modernize an Enterprise App?

Here are some of the best ways to move forward with your enterprise application modernization journey.

  • Application modernization using low code development tools.
  • Include APIs to extend legacy systems.
  • Embrace new software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to substitute legacy systems.
  • Build new applications through microservices.
  • Intersect between traditional, hybrid, and cloud-native applications.
  • Close integration with continuous deployment tools and processes such as DevOps.
  • Use Software-Defined Infrastructure (usage of software technologies with minimal human participation).

Process involved in modernizing an enterprise app

We recommend you follow the below process in your application modernization journey.

  • Create a captivating business case.
  • Ask: Why modernize an app, who will benefit, and what are new opportunities it opens up?
  • Determine if and when you can find the skills required to migrate an application.
  • Examine whether the application modernization requires migration to cloud as many do today.
  • Identify the metrics that should be used to define success.
  • Conduct a risk assessment since most of the applications are the core of critical business operations.

Application modernization best practices

  • Here are some application modernization best practices to keep in mind before setting out on your journey.
  • Understand each application in detail.
  • Prioritize the apps that need to be modernized.
  • Follow the 5-R strategy. (Re-hosting, Re-platforming, Rearchitecting, Rebuilding, and Replacing/Retain/Retire) Create a data migration checklist.
  • Rectify user concerns as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t forget to embed security at each stage of the modernization process.

Low-code/no-code development platforms allow enterprise and citizen developers to create mobile or web apps by connecting drag-and-drop app components. This innovative solution removes the complexity associated with building modern apps.

Why code from scratch when you can build with just a few drags and drops?

How Can Kissflow Support Your Enterprise Application Modernization?

A proven method to gain a competitive edge and to digitally transform your business processes is through the adoption of application modernization. Thankfully, Kissflow’s Low-Code Platform does just that! We will provide you with the technical expertise for modernizing your core applications.

The main goal of our Low-Code Solutions is to increase productivity, eliminate confusion caused by non-digitalization, and stay a step ahead of your competition.

Kissflow’s Low-Code Platform starts from $3000/month. If you’re interested to learn more about how our Low-Code Development Platform can modernize your apps, sign-up for a free demo today.

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