Modern enterprise apps are now event-centric – how can your legacy app catch up?

Spruha Pandya

Image source: 2017 Gartner

As technology advances, the array of services enterprises can offer over the internet increases and that changes the market scenario. In recent years, the role played by enterprise applications in driving businesses has increased due to emerging technologies. Also, owing to the fast-paced digital transformation, everyone, including your customers are now extensively using digital devices to benefit from the services that your business has to offer or get information from your business. So, obviously, your business application needs to scale up and add functionalities to keep up with the changing times.

Enterprises have never been short of application ideas that match their business models. But, they usually fall drastically short of keeping those applications up to date with modern day requirements. This is because well-established businesses running on legacy applications do not give enough merit to the need of app modernization as it seems to be a lot of hassle for an application that has been in use for a long time. But, app modernization is a necessity now as these legacy applications are becoming too bulky to handle and too obsolete to be functional. The shift of IT architecture from data centric to event centric plays a critical role in this increasing need for app modernization. According to Gartner: “80% of new business ecosystems will require support for event processing.”

The Gradual Shift in App Architecture

During the initial advent of computers and the internet, applications were focused on data, that is the app architecture and logic revolved around the sole aim of preserving data. The data-centric architecture was effective till the sizes of data sets were manageable and data extraction was easy. But as these data sets started to get bulky, data processing got more and more complicated and data storage and management needed a separate solution. At the same time, digitization was no longer limited to a particular segment of an enterprise. Right from the end customers to the back office, all needed to be linked through digital chains to automate operations. Also, reacting to an event and offering services became more significant for enterprises than merely accumulating data on the event. For example, along with listing down all the restaurants located around you and all the cuisines you can try, applications like Zomato deliver food from those restaurants at your doorstep. This gave rise to event-centric app architectures that prioritized on reacting to events instead of merely accumulating data.

Thus, in order to expand the gamut of services offered by an enterprise as well as keep up with the changing times of digital transformation, app modernization became one of the top priorities of most enterprises. In event-centric architecture, apps process data that are received via APIs from various sources and offer the desired services to the end users. For this, the app needs to be interoperable so that it can easily connect to other systems for a seamless exchange of data. This is one of the major factors that legacy applications lack and that hinders app modernization. So, while undergoing app modernization, the key factor in focus has to be interoperability.

If the tech stack of the enterprise application is based on open standards, it is open to connect with all systems. So, there is no need for developing complex structures to integrate third-party plugins or securely access pieces of data like GPS location or phone number from a user device. Also, all the emerging technologies are compatible with open standards and thus, it is a way of future-proofing your application by enabling interoperability through open standards.
In short, open standards make an application interoperable and interoperability paves way for app modernization.

Where Do You Stand With Your Legacy Application?

The talk about open standards and app modernization is very appealing and the traditional modernization approach prescribes ripping apart the existing ecosystem and rebuilding it from scratch. But, rebuilding your legacy application needs a lot of investment in terms of money, time, and resources. Moreover, you have a lot of professionals using the existing application and a development team managing it. Getting a completely new application from scratch using new technologies will require training your staff and giving them time to get accustomed to the new application. This may hinder the smooth functioning of your business and lead to a lot of slacking down. Also, with a lot of competitors constantly trying to seize market domination, such slack in business functioning may make your entire business prone to risk.

Despite all these aspects, scaling up to modern functionalities is still a necessity for you. Continuing to run your business on a monolithic application that is simply inflexible to change is equally risky for business. So, what can you do about it?

The simple answer is – low-code app development platforms. Low code platforms can speed up the development process and help you serve the end goal of getting a future-proofed enterprise application by using modern and open standard technologies for legacy modernization.

How Can Low-code Help?

  • Fast-paced
    With minimal coding and most part of the business logic retained or reused, the go-to-market time is very less. One can come up with a refreshed and modernized system from an existing legacy system within weeks of work. Though the time taken depends on the size of the legacy application, it will surely be a lot lesser than the time taken for rebuilding it from scratch.
  • Modular development
    Through low code, the business logic is broken down into smaller and manageable modules which are designed and developed separately. All these modules are then integrated together to cohesively function as one system. This breaks down a monolithic legacy application and converts it into a scalable modular system. This quickens the beta testing iterations. Also, due to the modular structure, one can easily change or upgrade functionalities as per the requirement in future.
  • Low-risk
    Low code application development lets you prototype and test the application while keeping the existing legacy application functional. As no minimal or no coding is required and there are no proprietary technologies used, the cost of development is lower than expected. The business logic is retained and thus professionals who have been working on the legacy system for years are not alienated by the new system. All these factors together eliminate the downtime in business and thereby reduces the risk.
  • Interoperable
    A low code app development platform uses technologies that are compliant with open standards and thus making the resulting application flexible, interoperable and future-proof.

A final word

Keeping in mind the need to modernize legacy applications that are stuck in time and all the limitations that your enterprise may face while modernizing it, choosing a low code app development platform is the best way to approach it.