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App Development
9 minutes read

How to Create an Application Modernization Roadmap

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
9 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 what an application modernization roadmap is, why businesses need to have one, and the preparation required to build one successfully. Without a clear roadmap, your modernization journey will be fraught with difficulties and your business goals might not be met. So, let’s take the time to understand the importance of application modernization roadmaps to accomplishing your business objectives. 

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. 

Creating a detailed modernization plan must begin with a visual roadmap. This will help ensure that your organization sets realistic expectations for existing applications and new technologies. It is also vital to define success metrics before modernizing applications so that your business can assess the effectiveness of the modernization process. 

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 team member and stakeholder a clear understanding of the goals driving their actions and how they contribute to the project’s success. Digital transformation requires everyone on the development team and in the business to be on the same page. 

Roadmaps are created at the outset of the modernization project to provide a clear and unified vision for all stakeholders. Teams create a digital transformation roadmap to cement a coherent product vision, set objectives and chart the development path. In addition, 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, project scope, 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, critical processes, and goals. Miscommunication can lead to failures and conflicts. Roadmaps improve communications and ensure everyone understands the direction of the project. 

Your modernization effort will be negatively impacted by poor communication. To reduce costs and accelerate innovation, you need to keep everyone on the same page. Modernizing legacy apps or a legacy system is a massive undertaking, and for the sake of business continuity and the customer experience, your project team needs a clear application modernization roadmap. 

Building an Application Modernization Roadmap

Every modernization project is different. Therefore, there is no standard app modernization strategy 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 thorough application assessment and thoughtful consideration of business needs. 

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

If your organization takes the time to go through each of these steps, it will have no problem developing a cost-effective modernization plan for its existing application systems. 

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 together to discuss business operations and how modernizing mobile and web applications can improve processes and business outcomes. 

Your business won’t get a modernized system by simply investing in cloud computing. Instead, you must understand how innovative technologies impact existing code and processes. Speaking with team leaders and domain experts will give your organization a better understanding of the modernization challenges your organization faces and the best ways to overcome them. 

If your business chooses to 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. 

Working with a third-party development company is the best option for many organizations because they have more experience and technical expertise. However, 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 the initial assessment phase of creating an application modernization roadmap, you should also perform a technical audit that analyzes an application’s:

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. 

In addition, during the assessment phase of building an application modernization roadmap, you should also consider your application maintenance costs. How much do you spend to maintain your current legacy applications and system? Can costs be reduced through modernization? In some cases, regularly maintaining legacy systems can be more expensive than modernization.  

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. Cohesively executing a modernization project will be difficult without a clear vision of the future. 

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. You won’t be able to construct a roadmap if you don’t know where you are going. 

Presenting a clear, definitive vision of the future of your legacy applications can be difficult. Don’t get stuck trying to define every last detail. While you need to have a clear understanding of the direction you want to go, you don’t need to have everything figured out at this point. Many organizations find it helpful to work with an app development partner because a skilled partner can help them figure out the best path to moving forward. 

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. 

Remember, your application modernization roadmap should be simple, visual, and easily digestible. We have covered a lot of information in this guide, but in reality, a successful application modernization roadmap doesn’t include a lot of technical details. The important details that need to be included in your modernization roadmap are the timeframe, resources being used, dependencies, objectives, and milestones. 

Working with an app development partner can help simplify the process of creating an application modernization roadmap. If your organization is struggling to build a modernization roadmap, it might be time to consider finding an app development company to partner with. 

Final Thoughts 

Building a roadmap to modernize legacy applications might seem daunting at first. However, you already have all of the information you need. With some analysis and thoughtful consideration, you can put together a complete application modernization roadmap with everything your project will require. 

Remember, if you need help modernizing legacy applications, building custom solutions, executing cloud migration, or even creating an application modernization roadmap, reach out to an experienced app development partner.

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