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Best Legacy Application Modernization Approaches to Upgrade Apps and Software

Legacy Application Modernization Approaches to Upgrade Apps and Software

The world is witnessing the transformation of every sector and industry, trying to keep up with digitization. 

Legacy application modernization is one such area etching over the product owner and CTOs. With time, legacy systems become outdated and cost relatively much to update or scale. 

Legacy systems inevitably face authentication, authorization, security, integrity, integration, and update issues. 

The market for application modernization services was valued at USD 17.80 billion in 2023 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 16.7% between 2024 and 2030. 

This showcases the demand for legacy app modernization, and it will keep growing gradually since businesses need to be competitive with the evolving tech industry.

Modernizing legacy applications allows businesses to reduce expenses and enhance operational efficiency. However, identifying a specific product’s most suitable modernization approach can be complex. 

Business owners must carefully evaluate their options to implement effective solutions that address their unique legacy system challenges while maximizing the benefits of modernization.

How to Identify a Legacy Application

How to Identify a Legacy Application
  1. These software products and applications are incompatible with modern technological advancements and third-party integrations.
  2. They’re incapable of handling user demands or workloads, hindering the upscaling of the organization.
  3. They are monolithic. They’re developed as one big piece of software structure, which makes updating and redesigning them a big challenge.
  4. Older security measures make them more vulnerable to security risks.
  5. Their maintenance expenses are substantial.
  6. They provide a poorer user experience because they are less intuitive than modern applications.

Businesses are increasingly dependent on cutting-edge technologies like the metaverse, cloud consulting, AI, IoT, and robotics. 

Companies now need a high-tech application modernization strategy to keep their IT infrastructure up-to-date with evolving needs.

To keep pace with these competitors, organizations must become more agile and adaptable.

However, modernizing legacy applications isn’t always straightforward. What works for one company might not work for another. 

Simply migrating everything to the cloud – a common approach – may not deliver the desired outcomes. 

Each business needs to develop its unique strategy for modernizing legacy systems to provide real value to customers.

There are various reasons to modernize legacy applications, including improved efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced security. Legacy applications, often defined as outdated software systems still in use, can hinder a company’s growth and competitiveness. 

Need expert help to estimate your application modernization costs?

Our software architects and business analysts at Jellyfish Technologies are ready to calculate the cost of modernizing your legacy systems to meet your specific needs.

When considering application modernization strategies, it’s important to understand what legacy apps are and why they need updating. Legacy software can be difficult to maintain and integrate with newer systems, and it may pose security risks. 

What Is Legacy Application Modernization?

Let’s start by answering a key question: “What are legacy apps?” Simply put, legacy applications are outdated software or hardware that organizations still use. Some well-known legacy system examples include Windows 7, Adobe Flash, and IBM’s mainframe systems. 

Companies often keep these legacy applications running because they’re critical to daily operations.

But here’s the catch: as technology advances, these outdated applications become more expensive to maintain and less efficient. 

That’s where legacy app modernization comes in. It’s a way for businesses to breathe new life into their old software without starting from scratch or buying entirely new systems.

So, what is application modernization? Think of it like renovating an old house. You keep the foundation and structure intact but upgrade everything inside to make it safer, more comfortable, and more efficient. 

In tech terms, this means updating legacy software to work with newer programming languages, frameworks, and platforms.

It also allows your business to take advantage of the latest software technologies without completely overhauling your IT infrastructure.

When developing an app modernization strategy, it’s important to consider your specific needs. Maybe you’re dealing with a legacy web application that’s slowing down your online operations. Or perhaps you have a legacy computer program that’s crucial for data processing but doesn’t play nice with your newer systems.

With the right approach, you can transform these outdated applications into powerful assets for your company’s future.

Technologies Used for Legacy Application Modernization in 2024

When it comes to legacy app modernization, there are several key strategies businesses can use. Let’s dive into some of the most effective approaches for modernizing legacy systems.

Cloud Technology

Cloud computing has become a game-changer for companies looking to cut costs and boost agility. Cloud providers offer services like virtual machines, storage, and networking, all of which can support the modernization of legacy systems.

  • Offers scalable infrastructure for legacy app modernization
  • Reduces the need for on-site servers and maintenance costs
  • Provides services like- Virtual machines, Storage, and networking
  • Supports cost-cutting and increases business agility


This approach breaks down large, monolithic applications into smaller, more manageable pieces. Each microservice can be developed, deployed, and maintained independently, making it easier to update specific parts of an application without overhauling the entire system. It’s a flexible approach that allows businesses to adapt to changing requirements over time.

  • Easier to develop, deploy, test, and maintain than monolithic apps
  • Allows for independent development of each microservice
  • Enables flexibility to accommodate changing requirements
  • Facilitates reuse of components across multiple projects


DevOps is all about bridging the gap between development and operations teams. DevOps can streamline the modernization process. This approach uses analytics, monitoring, and metrics to inform modernization decisions, ensuring that updates are data-driven and effective.

  • Promotes collaboration between development and operations teams
  • Enables quick response to changing customer dynamics
  • Uses analytics, monitoring, and metrics to guide modernization decisions
  • Streamlines the implementation of updates and new features


Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are crucial for legacy application integration. They allow different software systems to communicate and share data, making it possible to link modern tools with legacy applications. API integration services can help connect cloud systems and bring together traditionally separated microservices.

  • Enable data sharing and integration between systems
  • Crucial for legacy application integration with modern tools
  • Support cloud system integration
  • Connect traditionally separated microservices

Best Approach to Modernizing Legacy Applications

By far, you cannot decode one single approach or strategy for legacy application modernization. The fact that none of the businesses are running with similar challenges and business objectives. 

For better understanding, if you are an eCommerce facility, handling multiple orders simultaneously and performing an omnichannel experience is your prime objective. For a bank or fintech, mobility, and smooth operations with top-notch data security could be potential challenges. 

Legacy Application Modernization for a Leading Bill Tracking Software

A Strategic Audit, Innovative Features, And Improved Performance Resulted In Ayla’s Expanded Audience Reach And Business Growth, Adding Another Success To Our Satisfied Client List

Therefore, there is no universal solution to modernizing diverse legacy applications.

At Jellyfish Technologies, we understand the nature of your business and provide unique application modernization services. We consider every business’s distinct IT environment and determine the most effective way to modify technology to align with the objectives of the business.

Our Legacy Modernization Approach Starts With –

1Inventory and Assessment Catalog all legacy systems and applications, assessing their current functionality, technology stack, dependencies, and integration points.
2Business Requirements AnalysisIdentify and document the business requirements that the modernized system needs to fulfill. This includes understanding the goals, objectives, and expectations of clients.
3Gap AnalysisConduct a gap analysis to compare the current state with the desired future state. Identify areas that need improvement, potential risks, and any gaps in capabilities.
4Cost-Benefit AnalysisEvaluate the costs and benefits of modernizing each component of the legacy system. This helps in prioritizing the modernization efforts based on their impact and return on investment.
5Strategy FormulationBased on the assessment, formulate a modernization strategy. This could include rehosting, re-platforming, refactoring, rearchitecting, rebuilding, or replacing the legacy systems.
6Roadmap DevelopmentDevelop a detailed roadmap that outlines the steps, timelines, resources, and milestones for the modernization journey.

Techniques to Modernize Legacy Systems

When choosing how to update old software systems, it’s key to pick methods that fit your current setup, goals, and where you want to be in the future. You can’t just go with what sounds good – you need to think about how easy it’ll be to put into action, how it’ll affect the people using the system, and what risks might come up.

Think about things like-

  • How will this affect your day-to-day operations?
  • Can your IT team handle the changes, or will you need outside help?
  • What’s your budget for this project?
  • How quickly do you need to see results?

7Rs of Application Modernization

Organizations must understand the 7 Rs, which R to choose depending on use cases, and an appropriate strategy to move the apps effectively when modernizing legacy systems. 

The following are the 7 Rs of app modernization-

  1. Relocate
  2. Rehost
  3. Replatform
  4. Refactor
  5. Rearchitect
  6. Rebuild
  7. Repurchase

To gain a complete understanding of application modernization techniques, please visit our blog.

Factors of Successful Application Modernization

When it comes to legacy app modernization, there are several key factors to consider for a successful transition. Let’s break these down and explore why they’re important for your app modernization strategy.

Factors of Successful Application Modernization

1. Understand Your Goals

Before diving into any modernization project, it’s crucial to know what you’re trying to achieve. Are you looking to improve performance, cut costs, or enable better integration with newer systems? Understanding your objectives will guide your entire modernization process.

2. Assess Your Legacy Systems

Take a good look at your existing software. What are legacy apps in your organization? These might be outdated applications that are still critical to your operations. Identify which systems are holding you back and need updating. This step is key to developing effective application modernization strategies.

3. Choose a Technology Stack

Selecting the right tech stack is paramount for successful legacy system modernization. Consider modern platforms and languages that will best serve your needs and integrate well with your existing systems.

4. Make a Business Case

Modernizing legacy applications isn’t just about tech – it’s about business value. Quantify the potential cost savings and other benefits to justify the investment. This step is crucial in getting buy-in from stakeholders.

5. Review Migration Options

There are various legacy application modernization approaches to consider. You might opt for a complete rewrite, a gradual migration, or something in between. Each approach has its pros and cons, so choose wisely based on your specific needs.

6. Outline the Modernization Plan

Create a detailed roadmap for your modernization efforts. This should cover everything from initial assessment to final implementation, ensuring a smooth transition from your legacy system to the new system.

7. Select the Most Suitable Modernization Approach

After weighing the risks and costs, decide on the best approach for your situation. This might involve legacy modernization mainframe techniques or more modern cloud-based solutions, depending on your current setup and goals.

8. Consider Support Resources

Don’t forget about keeping your existing systems running during the transition. Make sure you have the necessary resources to support both old and new systems during the software development process.

9. Select the Right Modernization Partner

Choosing the right partner can make or break your modernization project. Look for a team with experience in legacy application integration and a track record of successful modernization projects.

Top 4 Trends of Legacy Application Modernization

When it comes to legacy app modernization, there are several key trends shaping the industry. Let’s take a look at four of the most important ones:

1. AI Chatbots on the Rise

It’s hard to imagine a modern digital product without some form of AI development. Chatbots are becoming a crucial part of application modernization strategies. They’re not just a fancy add-on – they can actually boost sales by up to 35%. This makes AI integration one of the top reasons to modernize legacy applications.

2. Mobile-First Approach

As we move away from outdated applications, there’s a growing focus on mobile app development. Whether it’s creating a responsive web version or developing a standalone mobile app, this approach is key in modernizing legacy systems. It’s all about meeting users where they are – on their smartphones.

3. Cloud Migration Boom

Cloud migration continues to be one of the most popular legacy system modernization approaches. 

  • Faster data exchange
  • Enhanced security
  • Quicker data processing
  • Improved integration with other software

Cloud-based solutions make it easier to implement DevOps services, power AI bots, and build SaaS applications. It’s a versatile approach that can breathe new life into legacy software.

4. Embracing CI/CD

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) is becoming a go-to strategy in legacy application modernization. This approach frees up developers to focus on more critical tasks, making it an attractive option for those looking to modernize legacy systems.

In the End

It’s clear that legacy app modernization isn’t just a trendy buzzword – it’s a strategic step for businesses looking to stay competitive in today’s evolving software development market. 

Whether you’re dealing with an ancient mainframe system or a not-so-old but outdated web application, there are plenty of reasons to consider modernization.

As you embark on your modernization journey, keep in mind that it’s not just about updating old code. It’s about transforming your legacy applications into powerful tools that can drive your business forward. 

Whether you’re looking to cut costs, improve efficiency, or enable better integration with newer systems, there’s a modernization approach out there for you.

So, take a good look at your legacy systems. Identify what’s holding you back and start planning your modernization strategy. With the right approach, you can breathe new life into your outdated applications and set your business up for future success.

Jellyfish Technologies, the leading application modernization services provider in the USA, will help you overcome all legacy modernization challenges and reach the best results.

Embrace modernization and get ready to take your business to the next level. After all, in the world of tech, standing still is the same as moving backward. So why wait? Start your legacy app modernization journey today!

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