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***Editor's Note: Without proper governance SOA can become inflexible, expensive, and ultimately ineffective. Learn effective SOA governance at this ebizQ webinar!

The need to modernize legacy applications has never been greater. Intense global competition and web-based innovations are forcing companies to find efficient and cost-effective ways to refresh old applications and integrate them into their current IT infrastructures, while causing minimal disruption to business. The good news is that application modernization is more "doable" than ever, thanks to new standards-based open technologies.

Legacy applications, which usually contain a company's essential business functionality, are expensive and difficult to maintain. Completely replacing these applications is never a viable option because the cost and time involved would be grossly disproportionate to the benefit.

As with most important programming endeavors, application modernization can be done in different ways, depending on a company's needs, budget, IT expertise, and knowledge of the pros and cons of each approach.

Broadly speaking, there are three ways to transform a legacy application into a modern one: rewrite it; purchase an off-the-shelf solution; or migrate the application to a web-based platform.

Application modernization initiatives enable companies to quickly and efficiently move legacy applications to modern web-based platforms that deliver optimal functionality and flexibility, to comply with regulatory requirements, and to keep pace with competitors without disrupting their operations. In addition, such initiatives help businesses to cut operational costs, while refocusing existing budgets to serve new projects.

Different ways to modernize applications

Rewrite an application
The big advantage of rewriting an application is that you can customize it exactly as you want it. Any application that no longer meets current business requirements will likely require a re-architecture and change in business logic.

On the downside, however, the process of rewriting is very time-intensive and expensive, and consumes a lot of internal resources. Another negative is that the process can be disruptive to the end-user's work life, as they have to do their job while learning new technology.


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