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Software Modernization

As the world continues to digitize, much of enterprise software needs to be transformed or modernized to keep up with user expectations.  Software modernization, a subcategory of IT modernization, is now a central part of all IT teams core activities.

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What does Software Modernization entails?

Software modernization is rewriting, re-architecting, or porting of software from a legacy architecture or programming language in a modern architecture or programming language.  The definition of “legacy” can be somewhat subjective. In general, monolithic and tightly coupled architecture are considered legacy, and lower-level programming languages (e.g. COBOL, C, C++) are considered legacy.  However, even software written in Java or C# with a service-oriented architecture maybe considered legacy if there are opportunities to transform it into an architecture that is more suitable for digitization, reduces reliance on constrained talent, and helps the organization take advantage of scale.

What are the Drivers of Software Modernization?

Software modernization drivers vary from enterprise to enterprise, but there are obvious common themes.  

  1. Business and cost - Modernization software typically will deliver significant business benefits, ranging from reduced maintenance costs, better customer retention, and increased revenue capture opportunities. 

  2. Technology - Leveraging more modern technologies can usually deliver faster time to market because software is easier to build and enhance.  New technologies may also offer better resiliency and security for the entire system. 

  3. Talent - Positive impact of software modernization to talent within enterprises come in two flavors.  The first is that reduction of reliance on highly leveraged staff. Often legacy applications are maintained by a few members who hold all knowledge, which may be a risk to the continuity of the company.  Secondly, new technologies helps attract new talent, who are already trained or have an interest in learning these technologies.

Software Modernization Approaches

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Because each software system or application has a different starting point and objective, the approach may also differ.  In generate the following approaches are taken:

  1. Cloud Migration: Rehost software to take advantage of cloud scalability and agility and refactor software to improve Cloud Readiness

  2. Merge Functions: Rearchitect / Revise software by margining redundant functionality over different systems to improve ease of update and reduce overall maintenance workload

  3. Modernize Components: Refactor software with more modern components (frameworks, database, technology) to take advantage of security, resiliency, and ease of enhancement improvements

  4. Decouple Architecture: Rearchitect / Revise software into more decoupled architecture to improve functional and operational efficiency, decrease time-to-market

Software Modernization Challenges

From CAST’s experience working with hundreds of enterprise IT teams, there are some shared challenges across the globe.  First, the start of modernization initiatives typically lack an objective overview of the entire software portfolio. Software portfolio analysis are commonly subjective and incomplete.  Without a rationalized portfolio, leaders find it difficult to make decisions about how to approach modernization, often stalling the programming at its infancy.

Further, applications and systems that take a refactor or re-architect approach often lack a target and the measurement of progress toward that target.  Without clearly defined goals, reports on progress are subjective at best, and, at times, misleading.

How CAST Helps with Software Modernization


CAST provides a suite of solutions that address each of the approaches to software modernization.  CAST Highlight accelerates the assessment and analysis phase of modernization by quickly rationalizing a portfolio and provides an easily accessible visual representation of software architecture.  CAST AIP and CAST Imaging ensures success of software modernization programs by providing clear indications of how to refactor the software, for example removing blockers to cloud migration and identifying non-compliance to intended design of the software.  

To find out about how CAST’s solutions can help you accelerate and increase the success of your software modernization program, schedule a free demo below.

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