On Tax Day 2018, a technological disaster struck the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States. The entire system of e-filing tax returns crashed due to outdated IT systems. Some of them were nearly six decades old! As a precautionary measure, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended the 65 critical federal legacy systems for modernization.


But we do know that governments and enterprises can prevent major technical glitches before they can happen. Why not modernize the age-old legacy systems? 


Well, modernization is easier said than done. The process is complex as you can see in the image below. 

7 Challenges in Legacy App Modernization

Besides, there are some roadblocks organizations need to overcome before realizing the value of their investment. So we will discuss them in the article and  you will also learn how to navigate through them to be successful. So stay tuned till the end!

7 Challenges in Legacy App Modernization

1. Costs of legacy app modernization

Cost is usually the first constraint preventing many organizations from leaping modernization. Calculating an estimated budget to run the legacy applications in the upgraded version is a tricky business. It also concerns the costs of the infrastructure and cloud platform.

Solution: You need to separate the monolith legacy application into components. Only invest in the ones crucial to your business. The DevOps team can help you in coming up with the desired combinations and clone them using full-stack expertise. 


Besides, your budget must accommodate unforeseen costs related to onboarding newer technologies, scaling the workforce, etc. Discuss this aspect with your service provider to get more clarity.

2. Reluctance towards change

It may seem ridiculous considering the rapid digital disruption happening around us. But many organizations indeed prefer to operate in the comfort zone of their legacy systems. The reluctance involves both the employees and the executive leadership.


You can change the short-sighted approach of business leaders by showing them the benefits of modernizing legacy applications. Some of them are:

  • Maintenance of legacy applications costs and modern apps can reduce operational costs.
  • Legacy app modernization helps organizations gain a competitive advantage through enhanced performance and agility.
  • The apps can boost efficiency and encourage innovation as they are highly scalable, and allow automation.
  • Organizations can get improved customer satisfaction because modern applications can meet the latest performance and user experience standards.
3. Dealing with a heavy legacy ecosystem

A legacy application is not a single software. On the contrary, it is an ecosystem of different applications running the entire business for many years. When the management decides to modernize the legacy system, it may impact the business severely.  


Let us understand it with an example. When developers initiate the modernization of a single application, other applications in the same system would still be running in legacy technologies. It will have many legacy protocols, file formats, etc. So modernizing everything in one go can put the entire business at high risk. It may bring the business to a standstill. 



Organizations should adopt a chunking approach during modernization. They should focus on the critical applications first and then handle the rest. Also, the service provider can design the application to support the legacy ways so that there is no impact on the existing business flow during the transition phase. Once the new system is tested and goes live successfully, you can turn off the support for the legacy footprint 

4.Quality assurance of the modernized system

If your organization is running a legacy application successfully for many years, it is obvious that you expect the same from the modernized application. Some business owners are skeptical about the quality of the latest technology.  



Trust your service provider to ensure the quality of the newly deployed application. Service providers with a dedicated QA (Quality Assurance) team (such as XDuce) will define all possible test scenarios and test cases in the testing phase. They will also plan the user acceptance test well, and bring as many business users as possible on board to conduct the testing. Such best practices ensure you get the best performance from the chosen solution. 

5.Data migration to the new system

Legacy ecosystems have a lot of data associated with the business. You will end up looking at gigabytes of data, if not petabytes or terabytes. And it is organized across databases and files of various formats (text and binary). Moreover, the legacy systems may use the older EBCDIC encoding, whereas modern systems operate on ASCII or ASCII-based encodings. In a nutshell, the data migration process might look scary to you. 



Your service provider is equipped with advanced tools and specific plugins to migrate the data seamlessly. If your legacy application deals with files that contain data with non-contemporary encodings, then the team can use the necessary framework to handle them. For example, if the legacy system has VSAM files, your service provider can migrate them into SQL or NoSQL databases. 

6.Integration of On-Premise and Cloud infrastructure

Many organizations prefer not to abandon their existing software and applications deployed on their on-premises infrastructure. So they think that modernizing such systems and migrating to the cloud may result in inefficiencies and operational silos. So the challenge here is to enjoy the benefits of cloud apps while continuing to use the on-premise systems.  



Latest technological capabilities can facilitate the seamless integration of on-premise and cloud infrastructure. It gives you a complete 360-degree view of the business. Ultimately, you can leverage cloud computing benefits like  cost-efficiency, flexibility, security, and accessibility. 

7.Impact on BAU

BAU stands for Business As Usual, meaning the normal execution of standard functional operations within an organization. When commencing the modernization process, there will be continuous changes on the legacy source code for bug fixes or enhancements. Also, the UX of the application will change greatly, thus reducing the productivity of business users. 



You can reduce the negative impact on BAU by modernizing a particular number of components at a time instead of the entire system. Also, allow the participation of business users in the project right from the discovery phase. It ensures their familiarization with the new UX. In addition to this, the service provider can provide virtual or hands-on training to help users get started with the new application. 

8.UI/UX modernization of Legacy apps

Legacy applications are generally cumbersome and difficult to adapt to current trends. Their architecture and technology are inflexible. Last but not least, such apps will cost you a ton of valuable resources, including time and money. 


Sometimes, organizations stuck with legacy apps feel their software is not old enough to be redesigned. Even if they want to redesign them, they think it will disrupt their normal business operations. But we feel you can overcome such challenges with a holistic approach. 




We recommend the following approaches to modernize the UI/UX of your legacy software: 


  • Phased improvements: Legacy application modernization is a detailed process requiring structuring and planning. If you want to carry it out without interrupting any existing functions, focus on listing the specific needs of end-users. Take the help of experts to decide what should be upgraded based on the current requirements and expectations.  
  • Phased launches: You can roll out the new UI/UX in different phases and also take valuable feedback from the end-users. Nowadays, beta testing can help you receive feedback from your users regarding specific features. Then improvise on the UI/UX of your app in the next launch.  

App Modernization

Application modernization helps keep legacy apps cost-efficient and relevant to the current business needs.
A Final Word

Migrating legacy applications is mostly about planning ahead and keeping users’ expectations in mind. And migrating legacy systems is not just an activity of moving existing features to a new system. Rather, it is an opportunity to build a strategic system that can support your business goals and ensure adoption by existing and new users. 


We can conclude the article by saying that the results of legacy app modernization are well worth the risk and efforts. Modernizing your core technologies and systems will move you up the ladder of enterprise growth.  


You should take advantage of leading technology service providers to access the best team and resources. We, at XDuce, can transform your business by moving your critical legacy systems to the cloud. Our team can design a solid business strategy along with the best legacy app modernization approach.


We take pride in creating radical digital transformations that help enable and develop operational efficiency in the following areas:  


  • End-to-end support for your software infrastructure with robust and scalable applications that elevate key business functions of your enterprise.  
  • A dedicated team of modernization specialists to help enterprise leaders eliminate unnecessary operating costs. We help you pursue new strategic and revenue-generating initiatives in the cloud.  
  • Use of intelligent automation, industrialized assets, specialized skills, and global delivery capabilities to surpass user expectations.     
  • Modernizing and expanding your existing systems with the best-of-breed technology stack to increase usability and operational efficiency, automate business processes, and enhance customer experience.  
  • World-class legacy app migration services that minimize disruption to your business. Our experts use rehosting, refactoring, digital decoupling, and containerization techniques. 
  • Develop intuitive and adaptable applications with minimal maintenance.  
  • In-depth expertise and precision in the design and development of out-of-the-box cloud-native applications that refurbish and optimize complicated business processes.   
  • Faster time-to-market with seamless API integration, Cloud migration, and customer-centric mobility and web applications.