An Architecture-Driven Approach to Application Modernization

Enterprise applications have grown to a point where many of them are more complex and slow to respond, and market expectations have risen exponentially in the meantime. Nowadays, customers want responsive and robust applications that have greater agility. This became a concern for many of the businesses as the application began to hinder growth and development. The solution is to migrate all the applications to the cloud and re-evaluate those application’s potential. This is where most enterprises started migrating and started digitally transforming their application to stay relevant in the market. The old application’s modernization is not something trivial to organizations and requires a lot of hard work to get it done right. The journey could be simplified into three objectives: enterprise objective, current state, and the architecture of the application. 

Let’s discuss enterprise objectives.

Below are some of the most common objectives for enterprises as most businesses don’t disclose their purposes, to begin with.

1.Faster time to market

This is an example of the internal architecture of any organization. Businesses seek to have more agility to have a faster product release time and make product and process changes. This is required to reduce dependency on the IT department.

2.Cost reduction

This is the required initial investment to have a smoother sail later. Enterprises must seek high costing infrastructure that is easy to maintain. A well thorough architecture will reduce long term costing.

3.Improving operations efficiency

Data-driven businesses are at the top right now. To have access to the insights using the company’s data, which is robustly available to the executives, is a game-changer.

4.Improving customer experience

Customers tend to gravitate towards brands that have an outstanding customer experience. Businesses realize that and have started putting their time and effort into improving their customer experience, and modernization can help you achieve just that.

5.To support business growth

This is also part of enterprises’ internal architecture as they want to grow their business after all. This requires the enablement of the system and modules that handle expected growth seamlessly.

Reasons for technological modernization

Application modernization can help you achieve all of the above with the help of the right objective. The process could be technology-driven and could be initiated to reduce technical debt. This makes it very hard to enhance, maintain, and manage the application. Below are some of the reasons for technological modernization.

1.Reducing technical complexity

This is done to make the applications less bulky by dividing the application’s complex modules into simpler components.

2.Improving resilience

The ever-shifting market requires the enterprises to have a fail-safe method to back them up in emergencies. Enterprises are always on the lookout to make their applications more resilient to the change.

3.Overcoming Technical Obsolescence

This requires the legacy system update as it’s essential for the businesses to replace the obsolete with newer technologies, which can be handled by readily available skill sets. These business and technical objectives are required before any company decides to go through an application modernization process.

Current State of the Application

The architecture of the existing application helps determine the modernization approach. There are other factors as well that influence the process like design, technology stack, and code quality. A detailed understanding of the current state of the application helps with the modernization required for the approach to be successful. There is some simple analysis that can be done: While the final output of modernization heavily depends on the application’s current state, the modernization path depends on several application archetypes.

Application Archetypes

An application archetype serves as a roadmap for many other applications with similar characteristics.

Modernization Decision Options

There are multiple objectives for modernization, and there are combinations of approaches that enterprises can use. Decision options can be applied to any archetype, but archetype-specific decisions require more detail.

Modernization of UI Application Archetype

From my previous point about specific decisions, Let’s take an example of modernization of a company’s time to market and user experience for UI application archetypes. The estimation, cost-benefit, and impact assessment analysis can be done using these steps by analyzing complete journeys. A detailed analysis will determine the current shortcomings and help determine the company’s standards’ optimal user experience. The below matrix different approaches to UI application modernization based on key decision points.

Classified UI Case

Depending on the current state of the application the modernization approach for the particular case of UI can be classified into the below points.

1. Micro-Frontends:

This is an approach that splits the front-end application into a set of independently deployable applications, and also known as Micro apps. When all the seats are assembled creates a consistent user experience.

2. Modernized UI on top of Microservices: 

In this state, the UI is separated from the microservice, but the functionality stays the same for micro-frontends. Then the UI is modernized as a whole and separately deployed from microservices.

3. Modernized UI on Top of Service Layer: 

The UI is separated from the service layer but both UI and service layer are not further divided into smaller parts. The UI is modernized and can be deployed separately from the service layer.

4. Modernized UI Embedded in Microservice: 

This state splits UI and corresponding microservice and converts them into deployable units within the context of the microservice. The UI and microservice can be composed together later if required.

5.  Modernized UI Locally Decoupled from Service Layer:

In this part, The UI is separated from the service layer and is further split into smaller parts. The UI that is separated can be combined back and deployed along with the service layer as a whole.

Conclusion

Incremental, Iterative modernization is a better option than the traditional “big bang” approach, which doesn’t bring the desired output and could create many unnecessary hurdles. This process of modernization keeps the end-user in the target and provides interim solutions. Businesses need to consider this before starting the modernization approach.

Enterprises have many applications that can be modernized; it’s a journey and not a one time process. Businesses can make wiser decisions based on the application archetype, and we explored different paths to the modernization of the UI application archetype.

Author Bio:

Name: Himanshu Singh

Himanshu Singh is a Marketing consultant at Rapidops. He is a technology enthusiast and well versed in software development. He is also interested in domains like machine learning and data science. In his spare time, he enjoys guitar, badminton, and photography.

Published by Michel

Hi, I’m Michel. Previously a magazine editor, I became a full-time freelance writer in 2017. I spend most of my time exploring technology, business topics. I hope this blog might be useful for you

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