legacy application modernization

Legacy Application Modernization On Cloud: Benefits and Risks

To many businesses, the pace of innovation and speed to market has been hindered by the legacy infrastructure. This is mainly due to the closed structures and inflexible old-school architectural formats that they follow. The decades-old infrastructure hesitates to scale up with the growing business demands and realize advanced cloud-based technologies.

The integration of native platforms is not possible with these legacy applications as they do not allow cloud-enabling. However, in order to maintain a firm grip in the contemporary digital era, organizations have to be modernized and IT platforms have to be agile and adaptive to the transforming business initiatives and customer necessities. Wondering how to achieve it all? Application modernization on the cloud is the best answer for it.

Benefits of Legacy Application Re-Engineering

A legacy application is an information system that might be based on outdated technologies. With the help of legacy application re-engineering enables maximizing business flexibility and minimize the possibilities of risk in application failure. Software re-engineering is one of the best ways to reduce the issues created by legacy applications.

The initialization of any application re-engineering projects is the reverse engineering of the existing system. The software engineers attempt at restoring the information of the application design that was lost along with the requirements and specifications. Even though several application development tool vendors give importance to new development in the form of tools or web enhancement, the idea of how to leverage previous investments has been usually overlooked. Re-engineering results in a reduced cost and lessens risks.

As re-engineering is based on incremental improvement of systems rather than radical system replacement, risks are reduced to a great extend. Apart from these, when a system is re-engineered, the hidden business rules will be discoverable. In fact, the existing staff skills can be maintained along with incorporating new employee skills. Based on the capital and resources that are available the process can be carried out in several stages.

User experience and design standards have increased significantly recently. By making use of modern UI user experience can be improved along with ensuring customer satisfaction. With the replacement of the legacy system with a modern solution, the company’s evolution and progress are assured. On the other hand, database migration and optimization is required in order to meet the data opportunities.

Risks in Re-engineering Legacy system

Software re-engineering is aimed as a mean to mitigate risks and reduce operational and maintenance costs of the legacy software, but legacy transformation has many risks involved as system development projects. The impact of these risks is more severe than the conventional project development because re-engineering the existing systems involves changes in functional operations that are integral to the current trend and the latest available technology to business operations.

Early risk identification assists programmers and project managers in preparing for the estimation and evaluation of software reengineering risks and provides a feasible and realistic framework for expectations. Risk identification is essential for effective risk assessment, risk analysis, and risk management.

User Satisfaction:

User satisfaction is a key factor for any business environment to effectively manage operations and catapult productivity. Particularly in an enterprise’s business application, customer experience like a work environment is imperative to realize the full potential without any silos.

In software re-engineering the user satisfaction risks are.

  1. Poor user-friendliness and intuitiveness
  2. Budget overflow in un-managed processes
  3. Unexpected result of the target system
  4. Unsupported to referential model


Legacy software are re-engineered to confront the dynamic market with the latest tech-stacks and tools to make it more cost-benefitted and competent.

Risks involved in cost-benefit are –

  1. Less benefit from the cost of re-engineering
  2. High maintenance cost after re-engineering
  3. Expensive backup
  4. High cost to finance report
  5. Poor quality processes for re-engineering and inconsistency of business plans
  6. Loss of investments in legacy transformation

Forward Engineering:

This is a customary technique of moving from high-level abstractions and logical implementation-independent designs to the physical implementation of a system.

Risks involved in FE are  

  1. Captured objects do not merge into the new system
  2. Difficulty in migrating existing data to for new system
  3. The level of preparation for transformation and reverse engineering is not sufficient.

Reverse Engineering:

Reverse engineering (RE) is the set of activities of analyzing a software system to (1) find its different modules and their interrelations and (2) and denote the system in another visible form.

The RE risk factors are:

  1. Abstract information cannot be conveyed in the designed language for design specifications and requirements.
  2. It is pretty tough to capture design and a couple of requirements from the source code.
  3. Active business knowledge etched in source code is lost due to incorrect processes.
  4. Retrieved information is not helpful or not used at all.


The re-engineering process depends heavily on the performance of modernizing the system. It is the degree of uncertainty that may keep the system to meet its technical specifications or that can result in the system not meeting the basic goals. The performance of the new system should definitely be better than the legacy system. The Performance risk factors are listed below.

  1. Non-portability in a new system
  2. Result not matched with the previous system
  3. Reliability mismatch
  4. Inappropriate Re-engineering approach and data restructuring


Maintenance is an integral factor to be considered in software re-engineering. Decisions are aided by understanding what happens to any software system over time according to new requirements. The critical software maintenance issues can be either technical or managerial or both. The maintenance risks are listed as follows.

  1. Scheduled Backup
  2. Recovery of legacy systems
  3. Improper Re-documentation and data restructuring


Many new software design methodologies and tools have been developed to improve re-usability, maintainability and to decrease the cost of development and maintenance. To illustrates, containers and microservices are helping companies and application engineers a lot to accomplish app modernization.

Most companies have software systems that are out of date and costly to maintain. So re-engineering is the best solution to replace the existing software systems. Whenever re-engineering takes place a variety of risks might occur. This review paper has discussed various risks which are classified into different areas and have been shown graphically according to their frequency in different papers. It will help for the proper designing of mitigation plans to mitigate them concerning their severity and their impact on the re-engineering projects.

The main outcome is that organization must adopt new tools and methodologies to make the project with re-engineering according to the customer satisfaction and at a low budget, with current trend and technology. It will lead the project more with good performance and with ease of maintenance. Further, risks involved in process transformation can be identified, analyzed and contingencies plans can be evolved.

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