What is Application Modernization and How to Maximize The Value of Your Digital Solution

What is Application Modernization and How to Maximize The Value of Your Digital Solution

All over the world, businesses depend on technology for their processes support. However, many applications can no longer respond to the dynamics that organizations need, cause high maintenance costs, and hinder business growth.

Application modernization services can help organizations accelerate digital transformation, increase operational efficiency, and become more agile and innovative. How? Read on.

What is application modernization?

Application modernization is the process of updating existing legacy applications with modern features and capabilities, including new languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms. Modernizing outdated applications can improve the speed of new feature delivery, application scalability, and performance to derive new business value.

Most businesses have acquired a great application portfolio over time. However, some of the systems may have become outdated and can’t cope with the continuously rising challenges of business growth. Instead of choosing a costly option to replace such applications with the latest tech, application modernization is a more sensible way to leverage newer platforms, tools, and technologies. 

The discussion around application modernization is mostly concentrated around monolithic, on-premise applications and how those applications can be migrated to cloud and microservices architecture with the help of DevOps, but is not limited to it.

Patterns of Application Modernization

There are different ways to approach application modernization. 

To get the most out of your application modernization strategy, it’s better to involve expert business analysts and solution architects to conduct a thorough analysis of your legacy system and create a roadmap on how to update it efficiently. 

Based on your business goals and objectives, your systems may require:

Migrating from monolith to microservices

Most of the current legacy applications are monoliths, which means that all functions for all data objects are processed by means of the same backend codebase. This method of development can lead to a number of problems, such as:

  • Changing the code for one set of data objects may cause disruptions in other areas. 
  • Scaling the system can be difficult to accomplish because of the interdependent data connections. 
  • Updating and accessing data in multiple ways can be challenging. 

One of the most common ways to avoid those issues and modernize legacy applications involves refactoring and breaking down a monolithic system into a set of small, loosely connected microservices. 

Application modernization services: Transforming monolithic, legacy applications into microservices

Learn more: Software Architecture Types: Monolith vs Microservices

Cloud migration

Cloud migration is the process of transferring data, applications or other business elements into a cloud environment. There consumers can deploy and run their software applications on an infrastructure that is owned and managed by a reliable cloud provider (e.g. AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform).

The demand for adopting cloud infrastructure increases as agile development, rapid deployment, and continuous scale become the new normal for organizations of all sizes and industries. The goal of a cloud migration is hosting applications and data in the most effective environment, based on cost, performance and security. 

Many businesses engage in cloud migration to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Faster delivery of new applications and digital transformation acceleration.
  • Real-time scalability for systems as your business needs change. Cloud computing can support larger workloads and more users than on-premises infrastructructure.
  • Cost-effectiveness. While cloud providers take over maintenance and upgrades, it allows you to spend much less on IT operations, but more on innovations and new products.

According to one of the best cloud providers - Amazon Web Services, clients who migrated their workload from on-premises to the AWS cloud saw such benefits as: 

AWS Cloud Developers: DevOps services of application modernization

Exposing an application’s functionality via API

You can extend your legacy systems by adding APIs. 

In the fast-changing environment we live in, creating new products, services, and experiences for businesses is integral. By embracing API-led connectivity, companies can no longer feel confined by their legacy systems, but can modernize and extend these applications to become more nimble and react better to the latest technologies and other innovations.

Adopting APIs helps connect legacy applications to other modern systems at an accelerated pace. To unlock critical data held by legacy systems, modernize them via RESTful interfaces and make the data available to new cloud services and apps.

Source: Google Cloud

Application reengineering

To solve performance problems and take proactive steps to prevent them from recurring, organizations can update their existing applications’ architecture and tech stack.

Application reengineering allows you to rebuild legacy systems with modern technologies, new features and optimized code focusing on your business needs and requirements. It’ll help you achieve improved reliability, lower operational and maintenance costs, and higher productivity.

Renovating your application can lead to drastic improvements in the system’s scalability, security, and flexibility, enabling you to gain a better competitive advantage in the ever-changing business environment, not constrained by the slow performance of an outdated system. 

Some examples of app reengineering include:

  • Moving to the latest and best-suited language or framework (e.g. upgrading an ecommerce platform to Next.js 10)
  • Extending functionality and integrating with other tools
  • Migrating from relational databases SQL to NoSQL data structures (e.g. MongoDB)

UI/UX improvements

Sometimes you don’t need to make the major technical changes to your app to boost its performance and user experience. 

With a well-designed user interface, your conversion rates can rise up to 200%. Customers’ expectations of user experience have never been higher. According to Salesforce, 84% of clients state the user experience of an organization is as essential to them as the products and services offered.

By refreshing your app’s UI/UX design, you can update and improve the system’s functionality with current business goals and customers' needs in mind. New application interfaces will promote usability, strong brand position, boost customer satisfaction and engagement. 

Source: Apiko Dribbble

A strategic approach to application modernization

Application modernization plays a key role in reducing maintenance costs and boosting organizational speed and agility. But full-scale modernization isn’t right for every system and every organization. 

It all ultimately boils down to the right strategy and choosing projects where the advantages of cloud, speed, performance, scale, new feature development, etc. are those that offer businesses improved user experience and ROI.

Here are some useful application modernization strategy tips to help you on your journey:

  • Modernization is not a one and done process but rather a long-term project. You’ll need a deep assessment of your enterprise systems to understand where you are now and where you want to be as well as the economic and technical feasibility of the app modernization.
  • Align the project with your business goals and objectives. Make sure the investment you make in the application modernization is targeted and reflects the strategic direction of the organization.
  • If you have a set of systems, prioritize which applications you need to modernize first, what functionality or tech stack to update. Consider breaking down your application portfolio into segments. Keep modernization as a controllable, transparent, and predictable process. It’ll help you mitigate risks during modernization.
  • Think about the database behind an application, if it needs to be updated too.
  • Incorporate testing and quality assurance to ensure the highest performance and avoid significant business process disruptions and operational downtime due to the defects in the modernized parts.

Why modernize my application?

Technology has been evolving faster than ever, pushing the boundaries of businesses to become more performant and in line with current customers’ requirements and expectations. 

Application modernization is a necessary part of business transformation. Business pressures require faster time to market and better workload mobility to enable operational efficiency improvements and cost reductions. 

Though legacy software has been battle-tested and proven to be effective in different scenarios, over time it also keeps growing on hidden costs such as:

  • Maintenance and support. Legacy systems can cost any organization up to a 15% budget increase every year for maintenance. 
  • Lost business opportunities. The lack of innovation can lead to user-falloff and missed business opportunities, which in the long run has an effect on business profitability and competitiveness. 
  • Organizational agility. Automation and modernization can increase the average efficiency of different business processes up to 50%.
  • Security. According to the IBM report, the cost of a data breach rose to $4.24 million in 2021.

That’s why strategic modernization of legacy systems is essential to a successful business. 

However, you don't need to wait for your application to become completely outdated to modernize it. By keeping an eye on the constantly evolving world, you can verify if your app is still able to meet industry requirements, user needs, and future demands.

This product awareness together with modernization services can help you not only extend the lives of the systems, but also keep the software up-to-date with new features, improvements, and bug fixes. In that way you'll prepare your business for scaling, increase agility, and enhance security.

Let's look closely at the case study of application modernization and the effect it had on the overall success of the leading media business in Ukraine - New Voice.

Application modernization services: Transforming an existing news app for one of the largest media providers in Ukraine

New Voice (NV) is the leading media business in Ukraine that provides on-the-go access to the news about key national and international events. 

While they had a functional news platform in place with more than 550K monthly organic visitors and a news app, their goal was to upgrade some of their existing business processes as well as create new, innovative ways to better engage the audience.

In 2019, the NV team reached out to Apiko for custom web and mobile app development as well application modernization services. The scope of our work can be divided into two parts:

  • Developing the podcast mobile app from scratch
  • Debugging and optimizing the existing news app, extending its functionality

In order to remain competitive and a leading provider of world-class content that informs, educates and entertains millions of people in Ukraine and around the world, the digital presence of NV had to be optimized and improved.

To refine the NV existing news app, our team had to do the following:

  • Update the React Native version of the news app to the latest one
  • Perform manual review & testing and fix bugs
  • Refresh libraries
  • Extend the functionality by adding new features, including a paywall and subscriptions

Updating the React Native version to the latest one is needed to keep the project in its freshest state. It leads to improvements in the app’s framework as well as the old bug fixing. 

The NV project manager summed up the outcome of their cooperation with Apiko and our app modernization services in the review on Clutch:


Apiko meshed with our NV team very well and has become a reliable partner. The PM, mobile developers did their best to deliver value to our product. Based on the provided documentation, Apiko elicited requirements and defined the most effective scope of work. They are very responsive and communicative.

Right after the first delivered milestones, Apiko team greatly improved mobile app performance. Since then we didn’t receive any bug report from our users, the app is up and running properly.

Also, together with Apiko, we have successfully launched NV news paid subscription and NV podcasts mobile app.

The NV news application modernization resulted in better performance, improved functionality, and increased user engagement. Here are the results in numbers:

  • There was a 6.8% increase of NV premium subscription users with the adoption of the paywall system in the Android and iOS app.
  • Monthly active users have grown in number to 8,000, who are responsible for 160,000 sessions per month on average.

Application modernization case study: digital transformation of a media business

Source: Apiko Portfolio - NV Case Study 

Wrapping up

Your business can increase its efficiency and speed with application modernization services without investing heavily in completely new systems. Have a question about upgrading your app? Feel free to get in touch with Apiko, we are always eager to help.