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App Development
6 minutes read

How to Create an Application Modernization Roadmap

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

At some point, it will become necessary to update legacy systems, and when it does, your business will need an application modernization roadmap. Building and implementing legacy applications did not happen instantaneously. In the same way, application modernization won’t happen overnight with instant benefits and success. Therefore, if your business wants to successfully modernize legacy applications, you will need a modernization roadmap to follow. 

This post will explain an application modernization roadmap, why businesses need to have one, and the preparation required to build one successfully. 

What Is an Application Modernization Roadmap?

Before creating an application modernization roadmap for your project, you need to understand what it is. An app modernization roadmap summarizes the key steps and information associated with your modernization project. Therefore, your modernization roadmap will need to include key information about your project, such as timeframe, schedule, resources, milestones, dependencies, business events, etc.

A good application modernization roadmap is brief and visually based. Stakeholders should be able to get an overview of the project in a digestible visual format. A modernization roadmap is not a product roadmap, which includes far more technical details, requirements, and tactical steps. Confusing an app modernization roadmap with a product roadmap or a project plan will lead to a dense document that is difficult to comprehend. 

Why Is an Application Modernization Roadmap Important? 

If an application modernization roadmap is brief and contains little to no technical project details, why is it so important to create one? A modernization roadmap gives every member and stakeholder a clear understanding of the goals driving their actions and how they contribute to the project’s success

Roadmaps are created at the outset of the modernization project to provide a clear and unified vision for all stakeholders. Teams create a roadmap to cement a coherent product vision, set objectives, and chart the development path. App modernization roadmaps create stability and predictability and prevent team members from getting sidetracked during the project’s execution phase. 

While a roadmap won’t get into the technical details associated with a modernization project, it will establish explicit goals and priorities for the team. An application modernization roadmap is a visual document that acts as a signpost for the entire organization and reminds everyone of the broad objectives and goals. Miscommunication can lead to failures and conflicts. Roadmaps improve communications and ensure everyone understands the direction of the project. 

Building an Application Modernization Roadmap

Every modernization project is different. Therefore, there is no standard app modernization roadmap that every business can follow. While each legacy application modernization project is different, they all fail for the same reason: lack of adequate planning. The application modernization roadmap is the first step to creating a cohesive plan. Creating a roadmap for application modernization is not difficult, but it requires planning and thoughtful consideration. 

Here are the steps to building an effective app modernization roadmap:

  • Understand your business and objectives 
  • Analyze the current state of your applications 
  • Define your vision of the future 
  • Build your roadmap

Understand Your Business and Objectives 

The first step to creating a comprehensive roadmap for application modernization is understanding your products, processes, and business operations. You should already have a good idea about what your end goals look like. Still, it doesn’t hurt to bring key stakeholders, domain experts, and team leaders to discuss business operations and how modernizing mobile and web applications can improve processes and business outcomes. 

Work with a third-party development company for modernization. They will use this phase of the roadmap creation process to get an intimate understanding of your business, digital assets, goals, competitors, industry, etc. They will help you define your objectives and goals based on your current processes and needs. 

Your business doesn’t have to work with a third-party development company. Still, getting an outside perspective and working with an expert who understands current technology trends is helpful. In addition, building a partnership with an outside development company can be valuable and offer technical insights and solutions that your business might not be aware of. 

Analyze the Current State of Your Applications

Once you take the time to fully understand your business processes and the way your applications play a significant role in your day-to-day operations, you must analyze the current state of your applications. In what ways could your applications improve? Is design holding your applications back, or do you need to migrate to the cloud to handle and process more data? 

You need to analyze your business applications from an end-user and technical perspective. In some cases, you might not need modernization on one end but a lot of modernization on the other. However, in many cases, applications require modernization from both an end-user and technical perspective. 

After your application analysis, you should have specific areas that need improvement. In addition, you should also have relevant metrics that can be measured to determine how effective modernization was or was not. During this phase of creating an application modernization roadmap, you should also perform a technical audit that analyzes an application’s:

  • Architecture 
  • Integrations 
  • QA processes
  • Deployment

It will be impossible to create a thorough application modernization roadmap without first performing a deep analysis of the current state of your company’s applications. 

Define Your Vision of the Future

What does the future of your application look like? What does a new architecture look like? How will users be impacted? Now that you understand your business processes and the state of your application, you need to define your application’s future based on its current state and your organization’s goals and objectives. Without a clear vision of the future, cohesively executing a modernization project will be difficult. 

The future you envision will be integral to your application modernization roadmap. It will guide your teams moving forward, and if you are working with an app development partner, your vision of the future will drive their modernization efforts. 

Build Your Roadmap 

After considering the business, the current state of your application, and your vision for the future, you are ready to build your roadmap. The information you uncovered during the previous steps will inform your application modernization roadmap. Your company’s roadmap will be unique. We can’t tell you what a prototypical roadmap looks like because no two projects are identical. 

Final Thoughts 

Building a roadmap to modernize legacy applications might seem daunting at first. However, you already have all of the information you need. If you need help modernizing legacy applications, executing cloud migration, or even creating an application modernization roadmap, reach out to an experienced app development partner.

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