When Is It Time to Retire Your Legacy System and Go Cloud?
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Whether in the private or public sector, companies big and small need to leap from legacy technology to rapidly evolving cutting-edge solutions to meet the sophisticated demands of today's tech-savvy customers.
To meet market expectations, accelerate growth, and deliver an enhanced user experience (UX), most organizations are putting Cloud solutions at the heart of their digital transformation strategy.
While digital transformation is imperative in the modern business environment, there are many reasons why nonprofits and for-profit companies are unable to upgrade their infrastructure. More often than not, it all boils down to the availability of tech resources.
With that being said, outdated software and hardware can quickly become a burden and increase any company's tech debt significantly. Legacy software can be difficult and expensive to maintain, and the lack of patches, support, and updates can also increase your exposure to cyber fraud, malware, ransomware, etc.
When Is it Time to Ditch Legacy Technologies and Move to the Cloud?
When should you move to software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and other disruptive models? Let's take a look.
1. You Feel You're Losing a Competitive Edge
The quality of your software depends on your latest release. Successful software relies heavily on new features, functions, and updates to keep pace with growing demands and stay relevant in a highly competitive market.
Successful completion of this task depends on testing and regular user feedback. As companies move to SaaS, smart algorithms can also be used to track user behavior, develop faster feedback loops, and improve software protocols.
When you don't monitor, test, and continually improve, you lose your competitive edge in the marketplace.
2. Your Traditional Processes Don't Work Anymore
When your tried-and-tested technology becomes unwieldy and impacts your bottom line, upgrading is critical to fit the business.
Let's say you're a construction company that uses an obsolete legacy proof-of-delivery (PoD) system. The system requires three full-time customer service specialists to manage the application (e.g., find the right documents, send them over to customers, work with invoices, and so on). Due to the use of old-school tech, making a single change or adding a new feature is costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, the risk of human error is high and can result in unhappy customers, overheads, and delayed payments.
Furthermore, customers call you to request their PoD, and the number of monthly calls now exceeds 1,000 and requires a lot of manual labor.
This is a telltale sign that your traditional processes aren't effective which badly affects your entire business. Creating a Cloud-based and easy-to-use PoD portal would ensure maximum automation of all relevant processes, elimination of customer calls or their reduction to the minimum, and significant time- and cost-saving and increased efficiency.
3. Your Dated Technologies Threaten Cybersecurity
"If your company operates on legacy applications and infrastructure, your exposure to cyber risk will be significant. In fact, we can even say that you have reached the code red stage when there is a reason to panic," says Colette Wyatt, CEO of a UK-based software house Evolve.
To avoid potential data breaches and reduce risk, it is critical to update and fix existing technologies. It also comes in handy when moving your corporate infrastructure to the Cloud.
In the long run, you will save money by minimizing technical debt and eliminating all the complexities of managing patches and updates.
Cloud infrastructure can also help your internal security team engage in real-time threat scans and security automation to protect your valuable digital assets.
Before making any decisions about eliminating your tech debt, it makes sense to do a comprehensive cybersecurity audit.
4. You Pay Through the Nose for Your Legacy Software
In addition to security, legacy systems are also written in legacy and often completely obsolete programming languages. Therefore, maintaining and protecting legacy technology can quickly become an expensive nightmare.
However, with cloud computing, you can completely avoid this headache and reduce hardware and maintenance costs. Plus, if you use the SaaS model, it becomes much easier to make forecasts, allot budget, and minimize overheads.
An indirect benefit of Cloud computing is the fact that modern dynamic and functional programming languages are highly optimized and are expected to evolve and scale over the years. This makes your Cloud investment smart, and the costs can be spread over a significant period of time.
"There are many variables to consider before moving to the Cloud. For example, does your organization need to move forward, change shape, or move entirely to the Cloud?" says Colette Wyatt of Evolve. "Choosing the right strategy will be critical to ensure a smooth migration and business continuity. This process should start by clearly defining your business goal and identifying the right approach."
Cloud Migration Best Practices
To make the decision to move from on-premises to the Cloud, the first step is to assess the capacity and type of infrastructure the company needs. For this, you need to put together a list of all necessary services and features and estimate the computing power that will be required to ensure the correct operation of the system.
The next step is to define how to move your data to the Cloud storage and when to complete it. This is usually done by the data center because it allows you to upgrade services and migrate seamlessly — that is, without interrupting your business processes.
Also, keep in mind that some existing systems can't be migrated to the Cloud, and namely:
- Electronic security keys;
- Systems that require high performance to function correctly;
- Licensed software with restrictions;
- Applications that require physical hardware to run
- Systems that require increased cybersecurity, etc.
There are three main scenarios for migrating cloud applications:
1) Full Cloud Migration
The existing infrastructure (data, applications used, saved settings, etc.) is transferred from on-premise to the Cloud. At the same time, it is crucial to save or recreate terminal stations that company employees will use to gain access to services.
SMEs with a fairly simple IT infrastructure prefer this method. It takes a couple of days to transfer data and migrate the application. The approach has minimal risks and requires minimum resources to implement, but it does not always allow for the full use of the capabilities of the Cloud service.
2) Partial Cloud Migration
This hybrid model implies that only a part of resources and systems is moved to the Cloud. Some services remain at the organization's own physical facilities for security reasons. In case of positive results of the partial migration, the transfer of all information to the new virtual platform is carried out in stages.
It would be best if you created your Cloud migration roadmap, which will allow you to transfer the services without delaying any critical business processes. This option is more suitable for large organizations with several remote offices.
3) Parallel-Optimised Cloud Migration
This scenario involves the simultaneous transformation of the legacy system's structure. For example, you may change the way applications interact with the database.
If you do not have a team of experts to help make this process painless, you may be better off turning to a reputable third party solution provider. They typically have a deep understanding, technical know-how, and innovative ideas that will ensure a smooth and cost-effective Cloud transition.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.