Accelerate the journey to cloud-native, omnichannel, microservices-based enterprise-grade applications with a composable experience platform powered by low-code.
A McKinsey survey found that in 2021, “companies devoted more resources to their digital and technology capabilities during the pandemic, even as they cut resources from other parts of the business.”
This should come as no surprise given the dramatic change in business models, competitive landscape, and customer behavior seen in the last couple of years. In response, enterprises across the globe are modernizing their application stack to increase agility and performance, and provide compelling customer experiences.
Application modernization is the process of identifying legacy apps—which are typically on-premise, monolithic, and written in outdated languages—and modernizing them into cloud-native, omnichannel, microservices-based, feature-rich digital applications with intuitive customer experiences.
It is important to note that application modernization is not just about upgrading the software. It is often also accompanied by a modernization of processes to be more agile with shorter release cycles and the transformation of the organization itself to be more experimental and innovative.
An application modernization initiative is driven by changes across the three levels of the app: Experience, integration, and architecture.
Upgrading the user experience (UX) layer for a more modern, responsive, cross-platform design to deliver personalized experiences to customers.
Making legacy data accessible through channels like the cloud, mobile, web, etc. via APIs. A well-managed API serves as a mechanism for enterprises to leverage their digital assets and build new products around their core capabilities.
Transforming the architectural foundation of applications by adopting modern technologies to enable agility, scalability, portability, speed-to-market, development efficiency, and ongoing innovation.
Using hybrid architectures including public and private clouds allowing an enterprise to move workloads between the two platforms. Sensitive data can be hosted on a private cloud for security while big data applications can be stored on a public cloud for cost efficiency.
Leveraging modular, distributed, small, single-purpose applications called microservices that deliver services using APIs. Microservices is poised to take scalability and continuous delivery to the next levels in the years to come.
Building portability and reducing infra dependency with containers, which wrap up an application in a complete filesystem that has everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools, and system libraries. This enables it to run smoothly regardless of any environment.
Transforming development methodologies from traditional waterfall towards DevOps and DevSecOps models, bringing agility, speed, and efficiency into enterprise teams. It empowers technology teams with experimentation and innovation capabilities, so they can adapt to market needs more effectively.
Traditionally, applications are built around operational efficiency—delivering the best possible service in the cheapest way they can. Today, this is not enough. Organizations need more. They need:
In the rapidly changing world, customers demand their banking app or online shopping app to deliver the same sticky and personalized experience that their social media and gaming app offers. Legacy applications are unable to deliver this. To meet the customers where they are and deliver on their needs, enterprises need application modernization.
Enterprises can not afford to build an internal team or outsource to an external vendor and wait for months to launch new features. For instance, when the pandemic hit and banks needed to sell online, they couldn’t wait a year to develop that capability. Today, taking digital experiences to the market quickly can be the most powerful competitive advantage. Legacy apps can’t enable that. IT modernization has the potential to reduce defects and time-to-market by up to 60%.
Legacy monolithic applications are large and take up significant resources to function. Application modernization breaks them down into smaller, manageable microservices, using only the resources that are absolutely necessary. Additionally, by leveraging composability, enterprises and software vendors can also create a repository of functional components that can be retrofit into existing applications, gradually replacing existing functionalities while not disturbing existing processes and thereby, reducing costs. With containers, modern libraries, and dynamic scaling of cloud platforms, organizations can save both real and opportunity costs of running enterprise applications.
Every day, new threats are emerging online. Monitoring and protecting legacy applications can be a mammoth endeavor in itself. Application modernization enables enterprises to build more secure applications, shifting security left in the development process. Moreover, it also makes it easier to address security threats and deploy patches faster and more effectively.
Legacy applications are often written in languages and follow processes that do not have the talent pool available to develop and maintain them. Containerization allows polyglot teams to function effectively together, setting up dev environments faster and ensuring that the app works on production environments the same way it did on the developer’s machine. With a composable approach, functional components created by IT teams can further be reused by business developers and implementation teams to quickly modernize smaller bits of applications. In fact, with IT modernization, enterprises increase employee productivity by up to 30% and motivation by up to 40%.
More often than not, application modernization is not merely changing the software to a modern environment. It is accompanied by a cultural change towards building smaller services, deploying them in smaller cycles, receiving feedback, and optimizing continuously. To leverage cloud platforms, containers, DevOps processes, etc., the organization needs to transform itself into an agile and adaptive enterprise—a change that powers sustainable growth and profitability.
While the benefits are overwhelming, enterprises continue to struggle to adopt application modernization for a range of reasons.
Application modernization initiatives often involve the transformation of mammoth applications. This not only requires technologists who understand cloud-native, microservices-based app development but also have a clear grasp of business logic and industry acumen. This combination of subject matter expertise and technology skills is a challenge to find.
IT leaders often fear disruption of their mission-critical enterprise applications, and rightly so. Moreover, the enterprise technology landscape can be so complex and precarious that touching one app can bring the entire deck of cards down. Therefore, creating the right application modernization strategy that ensures a smooth transition from legacy to modern applications remains a challenge.
Large-scale application modernization projects can be expensive, whether you’re building with an internal team or outsourcing it to an external vendor. Without a clear view of the return on investment, IT leaders struggle without the budgets to launch app modernization projects.
A recent study found that enterprises use an average of 200 applications, with security, engineering, and IT using the most. While some of these are SaaS products, most tend to be legacy apps. Modernizing them all at once would be a significant burden on the company’s bottom line. Without repeatable architectures and composability, the redundancy of work will also be high.
For any technology initiative to demonstrate value, it needs to meet the needs of the business. When IT and business teams don’t talk to each other, they run the risk of launching application modernization initiatives that don’t drive business results. This affects the organization’s—teams, leaders and the board included—enthusiasm towards application modernization.
For decades, enterprises have attempted to modernize their applications with little success. A recent BCG study showed that “70% of digital transformations fall short of their objectives, often with profound consequences.” Once bitten, twice shy, IT leaders resist taking the plunge again.
Not all application modernization initiatives are the same. To ensure success, enterprises need to adopt an app modernization strategy that works for them. Here are some pointers to keep in mind.
It is not uncommon for enterprises to choose the oldest application to modernize first. This app modernization strategy, even when the project is successful, it falls short of the business transformation it can deliver. Instead, we recommend that enterprises choose applications that offer the most valuable business capabilities. When an app modernization initiative delivers ROI, it makes it easier for the entire organization to get behind it.
Gartner suggests that enterprises evaluate potential apps to modernize on six drivers. Three of them are business-related: business fit, business value, and agility; and the other three are technology-related: cost, complexity, and risk. The best opportunities offer transformation across multiple drivers.
Whether you’re beginning a pilot project, or modernizing your nth application, a clear, strong, relevant, outcome-driven business case shields you against the risks of failure in several ways.
Instead of entirely dumping the enterprise application for a modernized one, organizations must consider a progressive approach to breaking down monolithic apps for microservices-based ones. By integrating legacy systems with modern apps through APIs, enterprises can continue their business as usual without disruption, while building future-proof tech along the way.
We believe that for application modernization to deliver on its promises, it must impact at three levels: Infrastructure, development, and delivery. A strong app modernization strategy must enable multi-cloud leverage, rapid and error-free containerized delivery to create open standards, multi-channel and microservices-based apps.
Time-sensitive and cost-conscious projects can not wait for months to build. They need the speed that can only be delivered through automation, simplified integrations, dynamic scale, etc. They need to minimize redundancies and reuse existing builds. They need a robust low-code platform to accelerate enterprise application development.
Low-code is a modern approach to agile software development. A low-code development platform helps developers create products visually by abstracting and automating commonly used components. Developers can easily drag and drop commonly used features instead of having to code extensively.
Addressing all of the above challenges intuitively, low-code is one of the best app modernization tools available today.
A good low-code platform serves as an app modernization tool that abstracts and automates processes at every stage of the software development lifecycle. How to choose the right platform for rapid app modernization with low-code?
While choosing the low-code platform for your application modernization strategy, ask yourself the following questions.
A good low-code platform can be the app modernization tool of choice for professional coders, who want to build powerful, long-lived applications that offer a differentiated experience on the web and mobile, which can evolve with user needs.
A good low-code platform needs to have the foundation of open standards in order to ensure an open and extensible approach to application delivery. Also, the platform should use a best-of-breed application stack for developing full-stack applications.
A good low-code platform must enable out-of-the-box integrations for data and services. It must offer custom integrations to be built and reused across apps. It must also enable integrations with legacy applications for implementing incremental development.
For instance, the information and digital systems office of the State of Geneva incrementally modernized over 40 applications using WaveMaker while keeping the integrations intact for seamless BAU.
A good low-code platform must offer the ability to create applications using a single code base that can adapt to any native platform or operating system, be it iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/RIM, etc.
Canadian foodservice distributor, Flanagan, leveraged WaveMaker to achieve this. They reached out to WaveMaker to replace the existing application with a modern and responsive interface that provided a better, more consistent user experience across browsers and devices.
An end-to-end low-code platform will offer the ability to scale applications and handle private cloud needs. This will be in the form of features for rapid and continuous provisioning, deployment, instant scale-ability, and maximum utilization of resources.
A robust platform will take an API-first approach to application delivery, making it easy to import data from any service and bind it to UI components.
A sustainability-focused low-code platform ensures maintainability, where the code generated follows design patterns, is well-organized, uses standard naming conventions, and generates documentation that developers can understand and maintain.
A secure low-code platform will support flexible authentication and authorization mechanisms as well as integration support for popular identity management systems like AD, LDAP, SSO, and OAuth.
A flexible low-code platform will allow customizations in the form of leveraging their existing systems or the ability to allow custom coding or integrations with modern AI and IoT-based systems.
A good low-code platform not only accelerates the development of your first app but also strengthens the foundations of ongoing modernization. For instance, with a composable experience platform, you can create custom user journeys such as completing a transaction or creating a dashboard. This user journey can then be used to build new apps — all it takes is to plug and play. At each new app, users can customize it, if needed.
This is what J.J Richards, a WaveMaker customer, did while building a comprehensive set of 10 critical applications using a lean team within just 18 months!
A good low-code platform should have the latest tech stack that allows you to build a modern responsive UI in your apps. The platform should make it easy to move your workload, i.e your applications to multi-clouds with containerization. Furthermore, the platform should be flexible in integrating or adapting to newer technologies and trends entering the market.
Like the Bank of Social Security, the Netherlands did while transitioning their mission-critical applications from the Microsoft framework to Java low-code in mere months.
WaveMaker is the most open, extensible, and flexible Low-code Platform that complements your enterprise application delivery while keeping in mind the requirements of Software Developers, Citizen Developers/Business Users, IT Architects, and CIOs.
|Bank of Social Security, Netherlands modernized legacy apps and built new ones with WaveMaker.
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|The information and digital systems office of the State of Geneva built 40+ applications with complex integrations using WaveMaker.
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|Australian waste management company achieves rapid modernization of 10 critical applications leveraging WaveMaker.
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|Canada’s largest independent foodservice distributor improved user experience with WaveMaker.
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