Legacy applications

What are legacy applications?

A legacy application is an old or outdated computer program that is still in use. Legacy applications can be a challenge to maintain and support, and they may not be compatible with newer operating systems or hardware. However, legacy applications can also be valuable assets, as they may contain important data or functionality that is not available in newer applications.

There are a number of reasons why companies may continue to use legacy applications. In some cases, the cost of replacing a legacy application may be prohibitive. In other cases, the legacy application may be so well-integrated with other systems that it would be difficult or impossible to replace. Finally, some companies may simply be reluctant to change, even if there are good reasons to do so.

There are a number of challenges associated with using legacy applications. One challenge is that legacy applications may not be compatible with newer operating systems or hardware. This can make it difficult to install or update the applications, and it can also make it difficult to get technical support for the applications. Another challenge is that legacy applications may not be secure. They may be vulnerable to security breaches, and they may not meet the latest security standards. Finally, legacy applications may not be efficient. They may be slow or use a lot of resources, and they may not be able to take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities.

Despite the challenges, there are also a number of benefits to using legacy applications. One benefit is that legacy applications may contain important data or functionality that is not available in newer applications. Another benefit is that legacy applications may be well-integrated with other systems, which can make it difficult or impossible to replace them. Finally, legacy applications may be familiar to users, which can make it easier to train new employees on how to use them.

If you are using legacy applications, it is important to carefully consider the risks and benefits involved. You should also have a plan in place for how you will deal with the challenges associated with using legacy applications.

Legacy application examples

The reason why legacy systems are still in use today is their  practicality and reliability. They offer a level of familiarity that allows users to take a more intimate approach. However, there are several inherent risks associated with aging solutions that can have huge financial impacts if they aren’t managed correctly. 

An example of legacy applications could be those that are used by various governmental departments. A study carried out by Dell indicated that over 70% of federal IT decision-makers in the USA, Germany, the UK, Japan, Brazil, India, and China use outdated software. This means that governments and organizations globally are using legacy software way past its end-of-life date.

Why is legacy application cloud-migration important?

Migrating legacy applications to the cloud helps to ensure that company processes and procedures are monitored and accounted for. Legacy application migration also improves performance and organizational competitiveness whilst ensuring better execution of crucial tasks. 


Incompatibility with new technologies poses integration issues when these systems are altered or can no longer be kept up to date. This can sometimes hinder innovation in some organizations that can’t move on with current systems in place. A lack of vendor support and updates for legacy systems can inhibit data security. This means that data migration from legacy systems is a crucial aspect that ensures ongoing IT system functionality. 

What are the advantages of legacy application cloud-migration?

When legacy applications are migrated to the cloud, more comprehensive benefits can be garnered, such as application scalability, platform flexibility, robust security, and cross-platform compatibility. 


When businesses decide to incorporate legacy app modernization, the following benefits ensue: 


  • Advanced systems that enable businesses to stay competitive 
  • The ability to easily pivot ever-changing consumer needs 
  • The ability to adopt and embrace advanced technology efficiently 


The following technical factors are some key reasons why businesses are embracing app modernization: 


  • The straightforward API integration with new software and third-party tools 
  • Modernization that keeps applications secure from changing security threats 
  • Strengthened application performance security mitigation and more reliable processes 
  • Adoption of efficient operating models and frameworks, such as DevOps

What is legacy application modernization?

Legacy application modernization is the process of transforming applications built with outdated technology into contemporary applications with the latest technology. Legacy application modernization also allows legacy applications to be updated or rebuilt to work in modern runtime environments. 


Businesses seek to update legacy applications because they use outdated technologies that make it harder to secure, improve, and transport vital application components. Replacing or modernizing legacy applications is critical to the effective management of vital business operations. 


Businesses may wish to undertake application modernization procedures instead of buying or building completely new applications for the following reasons: 


  • There may not be an application on the market that matches business needs 
  • The application is a key aspect of a businesses product portfolio 
  • There are security issues that are best suited to the current application 

Types Of Legacy Systems

There are many types of legacy systems that businesses utilize, including: 


  • End of Life (EOL)


End-of-life legacy systems that are past their useful stage often result in the vendor discontinuing the product. One example is Microsoft’s lack of support for Windows 7.


  • No Updates Available 


While this term is closely related to EOL, it incorporates systems that have no updates or new versions to offer. This makes it difficult for businesses to change and innovate because they have to shift to a new vendor and create new processes for the same tasks. 


  • Unable to Scale 


Software isn’t always able to scale to support new functions. An example could be large streams of data or a bigger number of financial transactions, leaving functional aspects of the software obsolete and outdated.

Legacy application challenges

Legacy application management and modernization pose complex challenges for organizations that want to innovate business processes. 


Here are some of the most challenging problems with legacy software and why systems need to be replaced: 


  • Increased security risk 
  • Instability  
  • Incompatibility with new technologies 
  • Company perception and onboarding 
  • Single point of failure

How is digital adoption connected to legacy applications?

Modernizing legacy systems and making the leap to the cloud comes with several benefits associated with digital transformation and digital adoption, including:

  1. Competitive advantage Modernizing legacy systems allows businesses to become more capable, agile, and offers a competitive advantage over opponents.
  2. Better productivity and motivated workforce User Interfaces (UI) have evolved throughout the years. Employees will generally be familiar with the UIs on their laptops or phones, which should be incorporated into workplace user interfaces to gauge satisfaction and performance.
  3. Opportunities for growth Modernization of legacy applications opens the doors to rapid growth. Make sure that your business keeps up with the latest trends and innovations in the tech industry to garner the most competitive edge.
  4. Make use of big data One of the biggest issues posed by legacy systems and one that digital transformation tackles hands-on is the silos that emerge from disparate systems within an organization. Digital transformation works to remove these barriers and allows users to assemble vast amounts of big data that help to support business decisions.
  5. Security and performance When businesses upgrade from an on-premise solution to a cloud solution, several perceived risks need to be addressed. Recent innovation in multi-functional cloud applications and the introduction of tier IV data centers now offer more security than on-premise solutions.

Updated: May 04, 2023

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