In our experience, most companies that have been on the market for a few years are using outdated software in one or more areas of their business. These so-called legacy systems are not only annoying for users used to state-of-the-art applications, but they also reduce efficiency, put customers off, and increase system failures and security vulnerabilities.

The good news is that you don’t have to stay stuck with an outdated system. There are numerous options for legacy system replacement and modernization that will make your life easier and open up growth- and scaling opportunities for your business.

Information and topics overview

What is a legacy system?

Technologies evolve rapidly and so do our behavior and preferences. Some (if not most) of the devices and systems that worked 10 years ago are today considered unfunctional, obsolete and outdated. When it comes to our everyday life, it’s easy to buy a new laptop or phone every now and then and to move on with our life. But what if it’s a system that your entire business is built on and switching it or not using it anymore is not an option? In that case, you’re dealing with a legacy application or system.

“Legacy application or system is an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.”

Gartner Glossary

Problems and challenges

Even in the digital business era, legacy applications are a reality for many companies – from small and medium-sized businesses to enterprises. Becoming more and more slow with time, possibly causing failures and security breaches, they tremendously affect your company’s productivity and efficiency.

Challenges faced by companies with an outdated tech stack

01

Increasing operational and maintenance costs

02

Lack of skilled developers (to run older systems)

03

Technical debt and no clear separation between frontend, backend and database code

04

Lack of support and updates & outdated documentation

05

Bad performance and security vulnerabilities

06

Inability to compete and stay relevant in the market

Experiencing one or more of these problems?

It’s a clear sign that a legacy system or application is holding back your business. It is also a sign that your company has reached a tipping point and it’s high time to embark on legacy migration, modernization or replacement.

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Legacy system modernization

Even if they may well satisfy their core purpose at some point, legacy systems will inevitably become incompatible with more recent systems and platforms that could turn out to be crucial for your business. Therefore, they cannot be a permanent and sustainable business solution. Legacy systems modernization is not an easy step, but choosing the right partner and right approach will make the transition as smooth and frictionless as possible.

Benefits and advantages

Once you decide to invest time, money and effort into legacy modernization, these are some of the benefits and improvements in your daily business you can expect.

01

Cost reduction (in the long run)

02

Improved compliance & security

03

Enhanced performance and reliability

04

Happier clients and employees

05

Competitive advantage and new business opportunities (SaaS)

06

A stable, future-proof business

Major risks and fears – from a company perspective

Although the benefits of a legacy transformation are numerous, it is still very hard for companies to take the plunge and finally do it. These are their two main concerns.

01

Insufficient resources

Your developers are spending all their time on keeping the existing system up and running while juggling between fixing the system failures and addressing users’ complaints. How on earth should they find time to simultaneously develop a new system and familiarize themselves with the latest tools and technologies? Not to mention the difficulty and costs of hiring and training an extra team of developers to deal just with replacing your legacy system. That could take years and cost you a fortune.

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02

Existing users and running processes

Outdated documentation in combination with solely fixing and patching an old system for years and years can often result in a spaghetti code that nobody dares to touch anymore. It’s impossible to predict what could happen and having a total system failure is a risk that no one wants to take. Adding existing users / customers to the equation makes the idea of modernizing or replacing a running system seem even more impossible. It’s almost like doing an open heart surgery, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Solution

Hiring an external company with expertise in legacy modernization and replacement will bring your system to the next level in a fraction of time and money (compared to how much it would normally take you to do it on your own). Incrementally shifting users, while developing the new and running the old platform parallelly is something we have successfully done many times.

Get to know us

We have know-how, experts, technologies, methodologies and processes in place that make this transition as smooth and painless as possible.

Parkside_Expertise

Methods and strategies for technology modernization

Legacy systems are common business bottlenecks and in order to stay ahead, companies are exploring adaptation possibilities and increasingly investing into legacy modernization. Here are the 3 most common approaches.

01

Migration

Rehosting or replatforming the application to other infrastructure (physical, virtual, cloud) or platform with making only minimal or no changes to the code. Most commonly used for database migration and smaller UX updates, while core functionalities and architecture remain unchanged.

02

Correction

By refactoring, rearchitecting or rebuilding the code, the application features are being extended and functionally improved. This approach is mainly used when technology stack is relatively up-to-date but there is a need for some third-party integrations or custom-built modules.

03

Replacement

As the most extreme approach, legacy replacement means completely eliminating the application and developing a new one from scratch. The new system matches the previous version in terms of functionality, but considers new business requirements, offers additional features, improved performance, great UX/UI and scalable architecture.

How we are doing it

Although it’s one of the most dreaded processes in the IT industry, legacy modernization and replacement is something that we have successfully done many times already. Starting by analyzing the status quo, we develop a custom modernization strategy that will transform your on-premise legacy system into the latest state-of-the-art cloud / web-based technology.

stages of legacy transformation_infographic

Our approach

By taking into account every single aspect of legacy system transformation, our approach is divided into 3 phases:

01

Evaluation

After a detailed discussion of your business challenges and needs, our experts suggest the possible solution for the transformation of your application and make a rough estimation of needed resources.

02

Preparation

Our UX experts evaluate the current flows and see what features should be an integral part of the new system and which you can leave out or functionally adapt. There is no point in implementing things that didn’t work in the old version, so this is a great opportunity to get rid of obsolete features and to get a better final product. Our developers also assess the existing source code and the environment in which the application is located. Then we mutually decide which modernization strategy or method best suits your needs.

03

Implementation

Based on the agreed strategy and approach, the next phase includes the technical implementation of the proposed solution. Depending on the chosen solution, this sometimes means replacing the code piece by piece in the running system and sometimes parallelly developing a new platform and bringing users to it iteratively. Either way, having an experienced and excellently coordinated team that does these things routinely is a key to successful legacy modernization.

Our experts

Interview with Rene Berger, our principal software engineer — Tips for legacy replacement

Some of the legacy systems that we successfully modernized, migrated and/or replaced

Legacy Replacement_Project_PicMonkey

PicMonkey’s online image editing platform

We implemented new web technologies and turned the previously flash-based online image editing platform into a full-fledged and modern design tool.

Legacy Replacement_Project_ApronManagementSystem

Custom Web Client for an Airport Apron Management System

We replaced our client’s legacy desktop client with a modern and user-friendly web-based application built on the latest tech stack.

MVP Upgrade and UX redesign for a Medtech company

We developed a modern web platform and mobile app for the digital recording and remote monitoring of patients (undergoing cancer treatment).

On a final note

Advantages and benefits of legacy application modernization are endless. Latest tech stack and moving from an on-premise to cloud-based infrastructure will not only keep your business relevant and competitive in this constantly evolving digital business landscape, but also enable your further growth, scalability and additional business models (SaaS). As a full-service software and web development company, we have helped many companies to transform their businesses through legacy modernization. Contact us to discuss the strategy for your company’s legacy system replacement.

Is legacy system holding back your business?

Unlike old wine and vintage cars, an old and outdated IT system is nowhere as classy and cool. Turn this liability into an asset by timely considering and implementing legacy system modernization. 

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At Parkside, it is our highest priority to provide our clients with continuous delivery of valuable software as early as possible. Even if that entails changing requirements at a later stage, this can be easily handled with agile methodologies. They enable faster and easier delivery and the possibility of changing priorities of requirements throughout the project.

Why we develop agile

While working with our clients over the last 15 years we have experienced quite often why an agile development approach is the best thing for them and their product. It is a reflection of the reality of product development: Hardly any product can be fully conceived from head to toe at the very beginning, nor can its costs be estimated right away.

Only as the product takes shape and specifications materialize can its actual development effort be gauged. Iterative investments with an agile framework instead of fixed prices, therefore, allow our clients to save great sums when discovering that a product cannot be realized with its initial concept.

Empirical measurements are the basis of all planning

Our most important goal above all has always been to assemble self-managing and cross-functional teams to reduce organizational overhead as much as possible. Furthermore, we firmly believe that effort estimations and forecasts are more realistic when they are based on empirical measurements. This is why the value of reference requirements (reference user stories) and metrics like team velocity, lead time and cycle time are crucial for all our planning and estimation efforts.

Our agile methodologies and tools

We are used to working with a variety of frameworks adapted to the exact needs and requirements of our client’s project.

01

Scrum

Scrum is no doubt among the most famous of agile methodologies. A key role in Scrum is the Product Owner who represents the client with all his visions, ideas, and needs within the Scrum team. In the review meeting with the client at the end of a sprint, we inspect the product increment in the form of recently implemented features. This informal meeting is an opportunity for clients to see a live demo of what has been worked on. We aim to get feedback as early as possible and adapt to the next features and priorities. 

02

Kanban

Kanban has its origin in Japanese production and aims to optimize work item flow and reduce waste like waiting time. Kanban provides maximum flexibility for implementing work packages in unstable environments. While one of our developers picks the most important work package to implement, the next work item on the board can still be modified or replaced by another. This allows the instant reaction to frequently changing conditions and environments.

03

Scaled Agile Framework: SAFe

The scaled agile framework (SAFe) is a popular, well-designed framework for joining development forces within bigger companies. In comparison to Scrum, there are plenty of additional roles on different flight levels. In the so-called PI Planning meetings, all development teams of an agile release train (ART) are aligned to go in the right direction and follow the customer’s vision of the product. Our experience with PI Planning meetings allows us to contribute to the client’s vision with one or even more development teams.

04

Large Scale Scrum: LESS

Large Scale Scrum is simply what its name says: a way to scale Scrum. Compared to SAFe, there are no significant additional roles or meetings. The Product Owner (PO) role still owns the product. To avoid one PO being overloaded with too many teams,  a team of POs works together and splits its responsibilities into different areas. These POs are called Area Product Owners (APO). We are ready to be part of your scaling-up process by supporting you with one or even more self-managed scrum teams.

05

Agile contracting

Agile contracting is a way for us to negotiate an agreement with the client before the start of the project while also giving them the possibility to change requirements throughout the implementation. Once we get an idea of our customer’s vision for his product through workshops or other means, we draw up a detailed effort and cost estimation. We then reach a Master Service Agreement (MSA) that specifies our cooperation as a whole including rates, billing method and other relevant conditions. The MSA clearly explains, in which way the customer can change requirements even when the implementation has already started.

Our approach to working agile

Our most important goal above all has always been to assemble self-managing and cross-functional teams to reduce organizational overhead as much as possible. Furthermore, we firmly believe that effort estimations and forecasts are more realistic when they are based on empirical measurements. This is why the value of reference requirements (reference user stories) and metrics like team velocity, lead time and cycle time are crucial for all our planning and estimation efforts.

Read more about our approach to software development

Quality Assurance — for Software that Stands the Test of Time
DevOps — Building operational excellence

Want to work with us?

Great digital products and services require detailed research and development. Let’s talk about your needs.

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At Parkside, we strive for the highest possible quality in all our projects. Quality Assurance is essential in achieving this goal in design, development and processes alike.

A high level of quality should be part of all processes and roles involved in the development cycle. This can start as early as in the design phase and is of course continuously enforced during the development of the product. Our software testers work closely with the developers and are incorporated into the process as early as possible. This ensures not only faster and more efficient development but also an overall increase in quality. Within the process, we point out solutions that meet your business needs and not just create technical reports — we’re reducing costs and increaseing your product’s ROI.

What is quality assurance?

Quality assurance or QA is a way of maintaining a high standard for our internal processes as well as the software we develop for our clients. Among other things, our QA team tests new features as soon as they are made ready by our developers. They examine the feature and its exact functionality and create extensive test reports detailing existing issues and bugs that must be addressed by design or development.

Why is QA important?

Quality Assurance helps us to provide our customers with the best possible software. A high-quality software product or service ensures not only a great user experience and performance. It also builds the trust a user has in our client’s software or product and their company in general.

Our QA services

Whether mobile or web development, our dedicated QA team is experienced in a wide range of testing tools, technologies and strategies.

01

Functional and non-functional testing

Our team of manual and automation testers works together to make sure that the quality of your software is up to high standards and that all your requirements are met. This covers functional testing, which ensures that your software works as it is supposed to, and your requirements are met, as well as non-functional testing focusing on smooth user experience beyond functionality (e.g. design, performance, etc.). 

02

Test automation

Test automation is a fast and reliable technique to test software on a regular basis. While manual testing is still an important part of our QA processes, automated tests can be used to cover the most important and repeatable flows as well as complex scenarios in your software, which usually eat too much time to be done manually. This allows us to discover issues during implementation and before anyone else does.

03

Test management

For bigger projects, especially those involving sensitive data, we need to be able to react swiftly to possible changes and issues. That’s why we offer test management. Test management tracks all requirements, use cases and correlating test cases so that the status of the quality of the product can be determined at any given moment and issues can be traced back to their cause quickly and easily while keeping costs in check.

Our QA packages

01

Prevention package

Prevention and preparation are the best ways to avert a disaster. To do this, you need a strong implementation plan, a clear test scope with priorities, coupled with a reliable process and communication strategy. With this package you stay lean, we implement test automation from day 1.

02

Emergency package

Either we provide first aid with bottleneck analysis, prioritization and an achievable action plan to revive your project patient, or we get process and defect management on track to reduce errors and production disruptions and achieve your business goals with minimal disruption. In case of emergency, we extinguish the critical fires with the right methods and eliminate redundancies with intelligent test management for a permanently controlled situation.

03

Manual QA slimming package

Losing ballast in your QA process has never been easier. You move to test automation in the fastest way possible while we do the heavy lifting for you.

How can early involvement of QA speed up the development of your software product or service?

In the past, software testers were often only involved in a last step before the release. The result of that was that major issues and bugs, when detected, could cause delays and additional costs or even be overlooked due to an inordinate amount of workload and time pressure for the testers.

Nowadays, the value of early and continuous testing throughout the development cycle is more and more recognized and something we heavily promote at Parkside. The earlier an issue is detected, the less time it costs to fix it. Therefore, Quality Assurance in a software project not only increases the overall quality of the finished software — it can also prevent delays and late-in-the-game changes as well as save costs on development.

Want to work with us?

Great digital products and services require detailed research and development. Let’s talk about your needs.

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Whereas formerly development and operations had been treated as separate disciplines, today they are combined and commonly referred to as DevOps. The goal of DevOps is to carry out frequent, continued and iterative improvements to products through measurable changes. With this approach, we drastically reduce the time it takes to roll out features, respond quickly to incidents and significantly improve the security standards of the products we develop.

DevOps cycle

At Parkside, our site reliability engineers implement our DevOps strategy, which consists first and foremost of automation. Saving time by automating menial and cumbersome tasks in operations processes is crucial. In addition, they measure the results of their implementations and make sure to share as much information as possible about incidents to build a vast knowledge base throughout the entire company.

Our DevOps strategy is made up of four important principles

01

Reducing organizational silos

To reduce organizational overhead, it is vital that development and operations form one unit.

02

Implementing gradual changes

Safety and efficiency benefit from small, incremental changes instead of reworking entire structures all at once.

03

Leveraging tools and automation

Repetitive tasks and manual human effort must be reduced to a minimum.

04

Measuring everything

Improving DevOps processes relies on drawing conclusions from their effects and adapting them accordingly.

Our DevOps services

01

Cloud Native

Cloud Native is an umbrella term for an ecosystem of primarily open-source software and services that provide a great variety of functionalities. Among them figure important elements such as developing and deploying applications in the cloud, monitoring, storage, networking and many more. The majority of these technologies are based on Kubernetes.

02

Continuous Integration

As one of the most important fundamentals of a DevOps culture, Continuous Integration enables a fast-paced and safe development environment. Its goal is to introduce small changes to the code base with separate pipelines. These can then be individually tested and merged into master.

03

Continuous Delivery / Deployment

Continuous Delivery is an extension of the Continuous Integration approach with the intention of simplifying deployments. Although they used to be labor-intensive events that would normally take place outside of business hours, now they are made much more frequent in a CD environment and executed in a parallel fashion. This increases speed, reduces costs and improves the quality of the product. In an additional step, deployments can also be automated to instantly put new features and changes live.

CI/CD Pipeline for DevOps

Want to work with us?

Great digital products and services require detailed research and development. Let’s talk about your needs.

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You might be interested in these services

Technology & Design Consulting
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UX Design
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Custom Software Development