In the digital age, the re-architecture of platforms is a big and bold step
New age platforms are the building blocks of digital transformation for every company. Companies offer customers seamless points of contact to create a unified brand experience across multiple communication channels. To this end, companies are building new platforms and redeveloping older platforms to meet their scaling requirements in the digital age and to make existing systems robust enough to achieve sustainable differentiation with new-age platforms for the introduction of digital products and services.
The quality, flexibility, scalability and longevity of these platforms is largely determined by their architecture and thus by business profitability.
What is required to start the Platform Rearchitecture program?
Initiating an older architecture program requires changes at the company level. It takes a bold and specific plan to take a high-speed approach to improvement, breaking functional silos, adopting technologies, building partners and networks to disrupt the old platforms. The right strategy for revitalizing older platforms is to adopt faster incrementalism with a step-by-step approach to support the scaling needs of digital business processes.
Legacy Modernization – A Step-by-Step Approach
Understand legacy systems
While older platforms work, they introduce instability and incompatibility issues with advances in operating systems, devices, and infrastructure. Most companies use older platforms because they continue to serve important business needs.
Across companies, reaching an older system architecture is a major transformation. Many companies have evolved over the years. Instead of restructuring their legacy systems, they immediately patched them to keep them running. This resulted in poorly integrated platforms and systems, which created modernization challenges. Legacy systems are not just those written in legacy programming languages or hosted in local or bulky IT systems, but any system that prevents companies from adopting new technologies or processes for better customer experience and innovation are legacy systems.
Here you will find a categorization of legacy systems based on their characteristics in three categories:
Systems that are outdated and expensive to maintain – Obsolete systems used by large and traditional companies require a lot of maintenance and support costs. These are legacy systems. The use of mainframes in banking and financial institutions is a perfect example. Mainframes convince every other platform due to their functionality, reliability, availability and robust security, which is required by banking and financial institutions. Attempting to migrate workloads off mainframes proved successful, but it was costly and time-consuming and very prone to failure.
Quickly built and not integrable – In the heavy industry of the supply chain, companies are quick to build systems to meet immediate needs. These systems are only integrated to a limited extent and are flexibly scalable, so that companies can ultimately survive in the competition in the digital age. They are the second category of legacy systems. Examples of such legacy platforms are legacy POS systems developed and used by retailers. Custom POS systems tailored to meet key business needs cannot adapt to the modern customer experience. IoT, virtual and augmented reality technologies make them a challenge.
Limited amount of design improvements – Systems with a limited scope of new functions are legacy systems. Legacy systems with complex code and monolithic architecture are difficult to change when companies need new functionality. There is a high chance that developers who coded it have left the company. It is awkward for new developers to understand the cause and effect of code changes and add new functionality to the existing platform. This increases the risk of integrating new requirements into existing systems. A small update in such systems leads to conflicts in the whole and other dependent systems.
Why need modernization?
Consumerism, hyper-personalization, digitization, social mobile analytics cloud (AKA, SMAC stack) require changes in organizations across all processes. Legacy systems cannot support the accelerating pace of change in the business world. When we talk about changing the character of the business, we see three strong reasons for companies to move ahead with their modernization initiatives:
The SaaS direction (Software-as-a-Service) Media, transport and travel industries have seen a successful transition to “as-a-service” models as others battle for legacy.
In response to the subscription economy, companies implemented a number of prosaic activities: deploying cloud technologies, investing in customer service, and adopting digital products and services without evaluating the underlying junk baggage and their approach to modernization. These pedestrian activities provide the clue to replace or redesign an older platform to make new business processes more productive, smarter, and faster.
Constant erosion of platform performance – Organizations distributed around the world ultimately work on a single platform without all teams and operations being monitored consistently. Legacy systems cannot maintain the performance required for such large teams and organizations. Older systems require modernization or a new technical approach to improve the performance and efficiency of globally distributed teams.
Integration-first mode is the fact – Companies need to develop a platform with high-end integration options. With the advent of artificial intelligence, machine learning, intelligent machines, and the Internet of Things (IoT), an older tech stack is required to exchange data with these systems. APIs allow legacy platforms to be seamlessly integrated with modern technologies with limited or unchanged changes.
‘All-in’ to kickstart and redesign the legacy portfolio
Companies want to redesign their legacy systems to support their new digital business models. Most of them stumble upon the importance of redesigning legacy systems. Why? Because the process is more than just replacing the entire technology stack. It’s not just about choosing new technologies or new cloud partners. Organizations need to think about application maturity, integration, scaling and testing, deployments, rollbacks and adding new customers to their new platform.
There are several ways to do this with different and different starting points.
· · Retrofit solutions –Migrating or rebuilding existing legacy platforms is not an instant process as various organizational factors depend on it. Retrofitting older platforms with new technologies is an alternative to redesigning new platforms with low cost and medium flexibility.
· · Coexistence of modern and older systems –Companies with a large number of legacy systems cannot modernize entire systems at once. The gradual approach of modernization works for them. Since they build agility into the system, modern and existing systems must temporarily coexist with a flawless handshake.
· · Redesign of the platform from scratch –Since the old and modern platforms coexist, companies use APIs to establish communication with the old platforms. An older platform can continue to exist with feature enhancements while a new platform is created. Organizations maintain legacy systems with limited improvements because they cannot be improved any further, are slowly retiring, and are being superseded by a new and modern platform.
The evolving concept of upgrading older platforms has led to different approaches such as: B. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and microlithic architectures evolving to basic and advanced levels. Understand the modern challenges of transitioning from older, legacy platforms to avant-garde new age platforms. While these different approaches pushed the ball forward for businesses, they posed questionable challenges in migration and modernization scenarios. In my next article I will talk about maturity levels in a technical system and planning the maturity level journey.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed above are the author’s own.