Legacy Migration Solutions: Can They Boost Business Growth?


Julia Sakovich , Author at Geomotiv
Reviewed by Egor Zablotski, Director of Engineering at Geomotiv
Published: Sep 22, 2023

Many businesses today still rely on the software solutions built 10 or 15 years ago; since then, they haven’t been updated and modernized. In this case, it is quite natural that companies may be dissatisfied with the performance, scalability, and flexibility of such apps. 

Moreover, they may start noticing that it is becoming more expensive every year to support such software while the number of experts who can work with it is decreasing. But does it mean the only possible solution is to build a new system from scratch? 

Definitely no! Legacy application modernization can help you to breathe new life into your software. There can be different approaches to modernizing obsolete software; one is legacy migration.

In this article, we will explain what legacy application migration is and when it is sensible to consider it to modernize your existing software products.

What is a Legacy System?

Before speaking about migration, it is crucial to explain the term “legacy software”. What kinds of solutions can be included in this group? Are there any exact “age criteria” that allow us to say that this system or app is already legacy?

It is impossible to provide any precise periods that should pass before it is necessary to think about your app modernization as this parameter will greatly depend on such factors as the used technologies, the type of the solution, the platform that it runs on, etc.

But in general, a legacy system is software that is obsolete or outdated, doesn’t meet modern requirements, and doesn’t help to reach the set goals. As a rule, legacy software products are on-premises apps companies have used in their business processes for years.

Based on our experience, we can mention that we often provide legacy migration services to companies that still rely on their accounting, sales, and CRM software built over 10 years ago.

Such applications usually look old-fashioned, their interface seems very unclear to new users, they need to be more flexible, and it is impossible to integrate them with modern third-party services. But what is even more important is that the expenses of their support are often higher than the profits you can get with their help.

Legacy Migration: Meaning and Basic Info

One of the ways to enhance your existing software is to migrate it to a newer technology, framework, or platform. Given today’s state of many software companies used in different industries, one of the most popular options is legacy application migration to cloud.

legacy data migration to the cloud

Though all systems, apps, and reasons that lead to the necessity to conduct legacy migration, can be different, we can define the most widely spread issues and pains that our clients come to us with.

  • Extremely high support and maintenance costs. Many companies admit that they need to allocate more and more money every month to maintain their obsolete software. As a result, they need more budget to invest in enhancing their other tools and innovations. When you invest too much money in software support and do not introduce new efficient solutions, this approach may negatively influence your business's profitability.
  • Old-fashioned design. When talking about enterprise and business solutions, we should admit that critical attention is often focused on functionality and performance rather than the visual aspect. Nevertheless, UI/UX design created a decade ago may prevent users from easy navigation. Sometimes, our customers say that they started thinking about migration after their clients stopped using their solutions because they looked and felt quite weird and confused.
  • Failures and downtimes. Even if you have one obsolete application that can hardly cope with the load, your entire software system may experience various tech issues, including slowdowns, restarts, and downtimes. It’s vital to remember that such problems can increase the risks of data loss and external attacks.
  • Falling business competitiveness. If your software solutions can’t demonstrate the desired performance and can’t address constantly changing business needs, it is highly likely that you will lose the competition. Rivals that have more advanced solutions will have a competitive advantage. 
  • Incompatibility with modern tools and technologies. Due to the fact that a solution was developed long ago, it may be impossible to integrate it with new services and tools. As a result, you may need more functionality or need to use stand-alone apps and duplicate a lot of processes and data.

Why Do Companies Still Use Outdated Legacy Apps?

You may ask us why many businesses still rely on obsolete software. The key reason is that their managers fear that the only solution is to introduce new apps instead of their old ones. Unfortunately, today, many non-tech experts do not understand what legacy systems migration can bring to them. The grounds for keeping their existing apps can be relatively solid from their perspective.

  • Lack of need. Very often, when the app still works, even with failures or interruptions, businesses do not see any weighty reasons to migrate it. They are ready to continue supporting it to use its essential features.
  • Investments. As we’ve noted, maintenance of legacy systems can be expensive. However, businesses are accustomed to these costs and are ready to continue paying for such services regularly. However, legacy migration projects are usually time-consuming and rather complex, which may require serious investments. And though legacy systems migration always proves its feasibility in the long run, it may be rather tricky for managers to make such a decision.
  • Possible process disruption. There can be different approaches to conducting legacy software migration. Nevertheless, the process of any modernization or introducing updates may have an impact on well-established workflows.

Though these factors can be named among arguments against legacy migration, we recommend you look at the reasons for considering it to give your software products a second life.

Why Do You Need to Conduct Legacy Application Migration?

First, we’d like to highlight that every project requires an individual approach. And when you come to us with an obsolete app, it doesn’t mean that we always offer you to migrate it. However, we can guarantee that the provided solution will be the most feasible one.

Below, you can find some critical reasons for considering legacy migration as a viable option.

  • The possibility to find experts with relevant qualifications. It is a well-known fact that the IT market is changing very quickly. New tools and technologies are regularly introduced to replace the old ones. And young developers always want to concentrate on learning the most highly demanded technologies. With time flow, it becomes more and more challenging to find experts who can work with old tools and frameworks used for building your app 20 years ago.  And even if you find specialists with rare skills, the cost of their services can be very high. 
  • Improved performance. When you work with legacy software, you may need significantly more time to fulfill various tasks than in those cases when you have an updated app. Moreover, failures and downtimes can happen regularly, which can be a severe barrier for your employees needing this software.
  • Higher security. It is impossible to ensure the required security of obsolete software. Security standards are regularly changed and updated. It means that some years ago, when your legacy app was built there were different standards. However, thanks to migration, you can protect your solutions from hacker attacks and ensure your business reputation won’t be damaged.
  • Lower risks of data loss or damage. Various errors, unexpected reloading, and further issues typical for absolute software can result in the loss of valuable information. But after migration, your business data can be better protected from situations you can’t foresee and prepare for.

You can leverage all these benefits regardless of the type of migration that will be considered the most appropriate in your case. But if you opt for the legacy to cloud migration, you will get access to all the new opportunities that are typically ensured by cloud development:

  • excellent scalability and flexibility;
  • access from any device;
  • higher business process efficiency;
  • limitless storage;
  • facilitated maintenance and update introduction;
  • better collaboration between your employees, etc.
legacy data migration - legacy system vs new system

Legacy Migration Options

Two main techniques can be used to migrate your legacy software.

One-shot migrationParallel run migration
DescriptionIt presupposes the migration of the whole infrastructure together at one time. It is usually a big and very serious project that includes a lot of coordinated actions from the development team. 

Usually, in such projects, creating a proxy that will act as a buffer and facilitate the transition is necessary.

Telecom companies and companies that operate SMS centers or have outdated ERP or CRM solutions often choose this method.

Fixed price terms of cooperation are a preferable choice.
It includes a gradual transition of the whole functionality of the legacy system. Such projects usually consist of a row of stages.

It is still possible to interact with the legacy software during the migration process.

Companies rely on middleware as a switch. It means that 50% of requests can be directed to an old solution at a particular time, while a new one will already process another 50%.

This technique can be a good choice practically in any situation.

The cooperation between customers and vendors is usually built on the principles of the time-and-material model.
Pros- One-moment transition;
- Fixed budget;
- Comparatively low costs.
- No need to freeze an old system;
- Lower risks of failure;
- Milder transition.
Cons- The necessity to freeze your legacy system for the entire project realization period;
- Complexity.
- Higher costs (in comparison to one-shot migration);
- Comparatively slow transition;
- The necessity to support both new and legacy solutions during the project.

Our seasoned developers can cope with tasks of any complexity!

Approaches to Legacy Migration

When you decide to migrate your solution to a newer infrastructure or the cloud, you will be required to choose the exact migration model.

legacy data migration and four approaches to its realization
  • Rehosting (lift and shift). In this case, your app itself won’t be seriously changed. This method is relatively simple and fast. But there are some disadvantages as well. For example, due to this direct transfer without updates and changes, you won’t be able to leverage all the benefits of new infrastructure, including all the opportunities the cloud can offer.
  • Replatforming. This approach involves making specific changes in your solution's architecture and code. For conducting legacy application migration, cloud developers often turn to containerization. Thanks to the introduced changes, users can enjoy better performance, higher efficiency, and new features of the migrated app. 
  • Refactoring/rearchitecting. This type of legacy migration is the most complex and expensive on our list. In this case, developers must redesign the entire software architecture to enhance performance, increase scalability, and become compatible with new requirements. This option can be based on adopting service-oriented architecture (SOA), microservices, and other up-to-date patterns.
  • Hybrid or mixed approach. This approach represents a combination of several options applied to different components of the systems. As a result, you can enjoy the advantages of several migration types and achieve the highest migration efficiency.

What Can Be Migrated

Different types of migration are based on the exact components that should be transferred to a newer technology, platform, or architecture. For example, there are the following options:

  • Application migration;
  • Server migration;
  • Database migration;
  • Enterprise platform migration;
  • Storage migration;
  • Business process migration.

How to Successfully Undertake Legacy System Migration?

Any legacy migration process is a complicated process that includes not only tech tasks but also deep analysis and research.

legacy data migration - analysis and research process

Step 1. SWOT Analysis

This stage helps define migration's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

legacy data migration - SWOT analysis
  • Strengths are unique capabilities and resources that can be used in your projects, like well-proven methodologies, best practices, frameworks, and tools.
  • Weaknesses are internal factors like poor documentation or lack of knowledge that can challenge the migration process.
  • Opportunities are new advantages you will get thanks to legacy migration (for example, increased demand for your product or cost savings).
  • Threats are those factors that can negatively impact the results of migration (data integrity issues, security vulnerabilities, etc.).

Step 2. Planning

Based on the results of the conducted SWOT analysis, it will be possible to plan the entire process, choose the right approach to migration, define the composition of the team that will work on your project, and create a legacy system migration strategy.

Step 3. Pilot migration

Before proceeding to the migration, we highly recommend running a pilot process. Though you will need to allocate some time for it, it will help you define possible issues and avoid them during the migration.

Step 4. Migration

Migration should include the transition process and careful testing of the migrated apps and their deployment.

Step 5. Post-migration support

When everything is ready and the migrated solutions are already being used, it is required to continuously track the performance of the software to ensure its stable functioning and to address any possible vulnerabilities timely.

Legacy Migration or Modernization?

Very often, you can hear these terms used interchangeably. Nevertheless, it is not entirely true. Both these processes are aimed at upgrading your systems but they are different.  Migration can also be defined as one of the approaches to modernization. While migrating your software, it may be required just to “lift and shift”, modernization presupposes working with your existing system and introducing changes to it.

Modernization, in general, is a more complicated process that typically takes more time and effort from the development team's side.

Nevertheless, if you conduct only legacy migration without updating the system, you won’t be able to leverage all the benefits and opportunities a new platform or technology provides.

legacy data migration - cloud migration or modernization

What We Can Do for You

Legacy migration projects can be complicated and require a deep understanding of the code written many years ago. In general, such tasks are very responsible as obsolete software is used, and many business processes depend on them. If something goes wrong, it may cause a customer many problems. But at Geomotiv, we are fearless of challenges. 

When our customers come to us with their pains caused by using outdated apps, we can offer the following services.

  • Consulting services. We will carefully analyze the state of your solutions and create a legacy system migration strategy fully tailored to your ongoing business goals and needs.
  • Migration services. Based on the results of the research of your app, we will help you make the right decision regarding the fortune of your obsolete software and will perform all the tasks required for migrating your app to the cloud, another platform, or technology.
  • Other related services. We can not only migrate or modernize your software products but also test your apps, fix bugs, implement them into your business process, and maintain and regularly update them to ensure their smooth functioning.

Why Choose Us for Legacy Application Migration Services?

Though the number of software development services providers is growing, we are confident in our forces and ability to keep our market positions thanks to our outstanding expertise. 

The history of our company started more than 10 years ago. Over this time, we’ve accumulated skills and knowledge to offer our customers the best solutions.

Our benefits:

  • We can guarantee you a reasonable price-quality ratio.
  • Our legacy migration solutions can help optimize your business costs, boost productivity, and better organize your workflow.
  • We can make your software compatible with all modern tools, technologies, and platforms.
  • Your migrated solution will be seamlessly integrated with all the systems used at your company.
  • We can provide you with software support services after the legacy migration.

Maybe it’s high time to migrate your legacy software! Let us study your case and offer you the best solution.

If you are interested in legacy application migration services or want to find out whether you need to opt for this approach to improve your existing systems, do not hesitate to contact us. At Geomotiv, we are always open to cooperation and will happily support your business growth with our solutions.


Need Help? We’ve Got You Covered!

What is legacy migration?

It is a process of moving obsolete software to a newer technology version, to another technology, or another platform. An app can also be migrated from on-premises to the cloud.

How do I migrate a legacy application?
What are the benefits of legacy application migration?


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