April 25, 2023

What Is Platform Modernization?

Modernizing legacy platforms can be transformative for business operations. However, diagnosing and updating outdated systems is only one small piece of the puzzle. Today, organizations are looking to the future of modernization as an adaptation that focuses on the growing trends of digital integrations.

Trying to solve business problems with decades old technology can be painful. Many companies are finding they are stuck working within rigid and inflexible infrastructure, spending money to maintain an outdated system, and suffering from unreliable performance. Fine tuning your aging system doesn’t always address business needs. In some instances, it might be time to consider platform modernization.

Sometimes called legacy modernization or legacy application modernization, platform modernization is the process of updating the infrastructure, architecture, and the features of existing platforms to bring them up to current standards, as well as to set the stage for rapid digital product development. Modernizing legacy platforms can help organizations compete in an evolving digital industry that continues to demand efficiency and ease of use.

Benefits of platform modernization

Many companies are reluctant to begin the process of platform modernization. It takes research, planning, roadmaps, and resources. In our experience, the primary reason organizations undertake the effort is to be able to get updates to the market quicker, opening new revenue opportunities. Legacy tools and platforms aren’t always defined by age. Some are unable to meet rapid business development for customers or internal needs.

Bottom line, modernizing legacy platforms equip businesses to perform better. There are also other advantages. Here are some of the benefits of platform modernization:

Customer Experience

Customer expectations for improved digital experiences continue to rise. In order to add new features that customers will choose, companies must be nimble and adapt quickly. Older platforms simply don’t perform and aren’t set up to accommodate the rapid iterations necessary to continually fine tune customer experiences. By setting up a modernized platform to focus on regular product enhancements, companies can quickly meet customers’ continually evolving expectations.

Examples can include banking operations. Historically, banks have paid exorbitant amounts to overhaul outdated technology just to keep up with customer demands. With a proper modernization strategy, banks can, instead, focus on prioritizing digital capabilities that follow a customer’s journey. It’s important to consider the benefits of restructuring specific components of legacy systems rather than starting from scratch.

Generate revenues

Modernizing platforms help businesses to boost their revenue streams. In order to grow their business, companies can add new services or processes that will improve the top line. Legacy products don’t offer the same flexibility as modern applications and bringing new revenue-generating features to market on a dated platform is typically so slow that you risk being beaten by a competitor.

Organizations should consider modernizing legacy platforms for the added benefits of creating a seamless process, improving productivity, and reducing downtime. All of these components help in generating new revenue, while also reducing costs.

Move to cloud-based applications

Cloud-native applications are built using microservices architecture and delivered using containers. They are designed to run anywhere: on premise, in the public cloud or in a hybrid environment. When it comes to enterprise software development, the industry has evolved significantly over the past few years. Organizations are moving away from monolithic architectures to microservices and containers for building their applications. The benefits of adopting these new technologies is enormous for enterprises because it gives them flexibility to deploy applications quickly, improves performance, and reduces overall costs associated with maintenance of legacy systems.

Improved security

Findings published by Statista indicate that global cybercrime costs are growing by 15% annually and are expected to reach $23.84 trillion by 2027. Despite this growing trend, most businesses are not equipped to deal with security threats and data breaches.

Old, outdated digital products may contain unknown or identified security vulnerabilities. Newer applications receive bug fixes and upgrades to protect against new threats. Therefore, using modernized software is critical for protecting data in your company.

Improved integrations and functionality of existing applications

If you’ve ever performed a tedious task involving two separate applications and wished it were easier to streamline, then you already know one of the benefits of application modernization.

One example you may have experienced is the process of extracting information from a legacy application for analysis. In many cases, it involves manual work, either using files or directly querying the database. From there, the resulting data is added to a modern processing infrastructure, where it combines with data from other sources. Because of the manual nature of this task, you’re unable to make real-time decisions. Modern applications can do this continuously rather than one time a day—or even once a week—giving you the ability to make quick decisions.

Because application modernization improves the way each element of your tech stack integrates with other systems and improves the functionality of your business.

Scaling performance

App modernization strategy enables scalability, which is the ability to easily add or subtract resources depending on demand. Companies utilizing outdated platforms find they are difficult to scale and frequently encounter performance issues. With the massive amounts of support needed, monoliths and their complexity can hinder your company’s ability to innovate.

Approaches to platform modernization

It’s important, also, to consider how your platform modernization project can ultimately succeed.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for modernizing applications because every company has different needs, different legacy platforms, and different goals. Having a platform modernization strategy is what matters most, and 3Pillar Global digs deep into your business before making a recommendation. We assess the legacy infrastructure and define the changes needed before migrating and deploying the changes. The most common approaches we take or blend are called “the Rs” and include:

  • Rehosting: companies using this approach, sometimes called “lift and shift,” move from a legacy or on-premise (on-prem) solution to a cloud-based environment
  • Refactoring: when modernizing applications using refactoring, we retool and optimize code. This is a great approach when we’re moving to microservices or simplifying complex apps into the parts to perform specific operations
  • Replatforming: this approach blends lift and shift with refactoring to convert legacy applications to operate on the cloud
  • Repurchasing: when legacy software is obsolete, sometimes the best option for application modernization isn’t developing or engineering a solution. Instead, the better solution may be to choose a new digital product
  • Retiring: in the process of platform modernization development, we often find processes that are unnecessary, and the same is true for tech. If your company doesn’t need it, we eliminate it
  • Retaining: depending on your goals, we may find that the cost-benefit of modernizing specific applications isn’t quite there yet. In these cases, we recommend retaining this solution until it’s a priority.

Should you consider platform modernization?

Platform modernization development is not a passing fad. Companies that don’t take steps to modernize applications and technology will get left behind while more agile enterprises gain a genuine advantage.

However, keep in mind that platform modernization isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. You can start small and increase your progress incrementally, based on your organization’s needs. If you’re ready to modernize your platforms, technology, and processes, contact us today to get started.


Special thanks to these members of FORCE, 3Pillar’s expert network, for their contributions to this article.

FORCE is 3Pillar Global’s Thought Leadership Team comprised of technologists and industry experts offering their knowledge on important trends and topics in digital product development.