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  • Writer's pictureReinhard Lindner

Enterprise Legacy Migration

Technologies evolve quickly, allowing better automation, enhanced quality of services, and faster responses to business inquiries. With the ongoing digital transformation, many software systems of large enterprises have become outdated. The usage of these systems in the evolving environment of today raises more questions than answers. Specialists who have both skills and experience with legacy software are retiring, but the legacy hardware and software are still in use in mission-critical EU and US enterprises. On the one scale, there are so many limitations and risks for a big company if it decides to stick to the legacy system tendency. However, on the other scale, the migration is slower than new technologies appear. So, what is the future of legacy software? And what should enterprises really do in this situation: migrate or not? Will systems like IBM AS-400 and Cobol-based ones live forever? Let’s find unambiguous answers with Sencury. 


Legacy Migration   

To start with, let’s define a legacy system. Therefore, it is an outdated class of technology, an old software application that is still in use. The reason for its usage is quite simple: it cannot be easily substituted.

  

According to TechTarget, the following systems are considered to be outdated: 

  • older systems and versions 

  • systems and software with severe security vulnerabilities 

  • technology that is not cost-effective for organizations to run and maintain  

  • technology that fails to adequately meet the organization's current needs or hinders growth 

  • systems and software with no support from the vendor 

  • homegrown systems that run on programming languages few developers still know  

Legacy migration is the process of changing obsolete software (even hardware) for a newer and better technological representative. And it can be done in several ways. Let’s explore them in detail. 

Migration Approaches  

There are three main migration approaches:  

Refactoring/re-architecting   

The process of legacy system modernization through the means of altering the system’s code to improve capability without affecting external functionality.


Replatforming   

Moving an existing system to the new platform with little altering the code (if it is possible to do so).  


Rebuilding/Replacing     

If the system cannot be modernized with the help of code adjustment, the only way out is to replace this system or rebuild using newer technology.

  


Despite the possibility of migration, many large businesses still have old software they work with and are not likely to transition to the newer version in a short time. Some companies even possess systems written in COBOL - a computer language since 1959. The specialists are retiring but the legacy hardware and software is still in use in mission-critical EU and US enterprises (e.g., big banks, insurances, big travel industry providers, etc.) Why does it happen? There are a number of reasons.

 

  1. The system functions perfectly  

  1. The uncertainty of the new system 

  1. Service continuity to cause no disruption 

  1. Challenges updating systems 

  1. Insufficient funding 

  1. Lack of maintenance specialists 

  1. Potential risks  

That’s why over 2/3 of businesses still use legacy apps for core business operations. In addition, more than 60% of them rely on legacy software to power customer-facing applications, according to Forbes survey.  


Will systems like IBM AS-400 and Cobol-based systems live forever? 

AS400 (Application System/400) is a computer system that is highly secure, stable, reliable, and scalable. It was released in 1988 but is very popular even today due to its wide range of functions. AS400 is constantly being developed and updated, so it is highly compatible to work using outdated technologies without modification. Now this system is called IBM Power Systems.

 

A lot of companies around the world still use the AS400 system, so it might live for as long as it is needed. The main reasons for AS400 usage are: 

  • High performance and reliability 

  • A wide range of options available 

  • Reliable, secure, integrated database 

  • Usage of modern technologies 

  • Availability of a cloud environment 

With scalability, security, reliability, modernity and compatibility, the IBM AS-400 system is sure to be popular among businesses.   


COBOL     

COBOL is a short version, which stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. It’s an enterprise-level programming language. Despite being old, it is still used in various business and financial applications as well as in many industries (e.g., banking, insurance, and others).

  

Unlike most other programming languages, COBOL is considered easy to understand because it uses familiar words. Before COBOL, each organization had their own programming language. However, this required too much effort and skills. SO, when COBOL entered the market, it became greatly used due to its portability and ease of use. 

COBOL’s main usage is for government entities. But other industries also use it. Lots of businesses rely on COBOL for their daily transactions. That’s why it is a priority to find the right programmers with good skills and expertise.

 

If COBOL programmers are back in demand, it means that the language is still functional and is going to be used in the future. 


Is Migration Too Slow?  

The fact is that sooner or later successful businesses grow, and it means drastic changes in the workload of organizations. To cover all the relevant changes, if the organization’s operational system is becoming old, it is better to migrate to a new technology. However, the migration is slower than new technologies appear. For instance, the core-banking system Avaloq (based on Oracle) or other core-banking systems (e.g., Java + Oracle-based) might be outdated before the migration ends. What’s then?

   

A set of considerations prior to migration and in the middle of it might help you address this issue. For instance, 


Continuous Evaluation and Planning   

It's important for organizations to be aware of the current state of their operational systems. So, assessment of technologies with regards to them meeting your business needs should be done continuously.  


Incremental Migration    

To decrease the risk of technology becoming outdated during a migration, consider breaking down your process of migration into manageable phases. This way, you will update your enterprise technology gradually. 


Flexibility in Technology Selection     

Choose new technology for migration only with a proven track record of adaptability. Select technologies that will stay with us for a while with possible updates over those that might easily become obsolete.  


API and Integration Focus     

Building robust APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and integration capabilities is crucial. This allows you to connect and integrate new technologies as they become available without completely replacing the core system. This way, you can extend the life of your existing system. 


Scalability and Futureproofing     

Invest in technology that is inherently scalable and designed for futureproofing. This means the system can adapt and grow with your business needs, reducing the urgency of migration. 


Stay Informed      

Keep up with industry trends and emerging technologies. By monitoring tech trends, you can predict when technology is likely to become outdated.  


Data Migration Strategies     

When migrating, focus on preserving and migrating your data effectively. Historical data is still valuable. So, ensure that the new system can integrate and migrate this data. 


Contingency Planning    

Have contingency plans in place in case your migration takes longer than expected. Maybe, there will be a need for short-term fixes to keep the existing system functional until the migration is complete. 


Sencury is your #1 Legacy Migration Provider   

Sencury is a software development and consulting company with years of relevant experience in the competitive market. We lead the way with our business-centric approach and dedicated team. Therefore, Sencury’s expert consults with a scientific level of complexity. Choose us as your #1 migration consulting vendor and forget about migration risks. 


Contact us and make sure your legacy software migration will be as seamless as possible. Become a step ahead of your competitors. Sencury offers quality in everything we do! 

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