mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

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What killed the big companies?

EducationWhy do 70% of the companies listed on the Fortune 1,000 list ten years ago no longer exist today? Inflexibility. They couldn’t adapt to change. In the past, big companies ate small ones. Now, fast eats big.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that CIOs list legacy modernization as one of their top priorities. Legacy applications aren’t flexible. They don’t quickly adapt to change. As such, companies that rely on these applications lack flexibility, which…kills companies.

Hence, the growing push towards modernization. Application modernization promises flexibility. It frees these companies from the shackles of their legacy software.

The problem: Modernization isn’t exactly straightforward. There’s more than one way to modernize. By my count, there’s five. How do you know which way is best?

Here are a couple of resources that will help you answer that question. First, here’s a free whitepaper entitled, “Crash course in modernization” that explains the need for modernization and outlines your options. Second, we put together a handy comparison chart based on that white paper, which you can find below. It compares your modernization options side-by-side, and helps you determine which is best for your company.

Rip and
Buy new
and migrate
Extend and
What is it? Scrapes data from legacy apps and displays it in a graphical format Convert legacy code into modern code Throw out old apps and build new apps from the ground up Purchase pre-built applications and migrate existing data Gradually surround legacy applications with modern applications
Does it replace legacy code? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Does it replace legacy architecture? No No Yes Yes Yes
Speed Fast Fast Very Slow Slow Variable (Moves at your own pace)
Cost Cheap Cheap Expensive Very Expensive Moderate
Risk Low Low High Moderate Low
Ongoing maintenance Difficult Difficult Easy Easy Easy
Business Disruption Low Low High High Low
Advantages Fast and Cheap Fast and Cheap Produces modern apps that are built for your business Gives you completely modern apps faster than the “rip-and-replace” method Lets you modernize at your own pace, and re-use existing code as needed.
  • Not actually modernization
  • Limited capabilities
  • Difficult maintenance
  • Doesn’t replace legacy architecture
  • Limited capabilities
  • Difficult maintenance
  • High-risk
  • Time consuming
  • High cost
  • Requires a lot of customization
  • Time consuming
Ideal for… Companies that need to appear modern, without actually modernizing Companies that want to turn old code into new code without actually modernizing Companies with a large developer staff who need a completely custom solution Companies who need modern applications but lack the time for the “rip-and-replace” method Companies on a budget who want a custom modernization solution at a prioritized pace with minimal disruption
Long-term modernization solution? No No Yes Yes Yes

One more thing: What happens if your company is tied to your legacy applications? What if they’re too expensive, time-consuming, or risky to replace? If you feel stuck, don’t worry. There’s a way to bring flexibility to your existing legacy applications (without replacing them), which you can read about right here.