The pace of technological change we witness nowadays sometimes makes you wonder if there are limits to how technology can transform seemingly familiar things. However, business owners are often not too eager to absorb everything that a modern software industry can offer and continue using outdated systems. The reasons may vary.

In most cases, legacy app modernization may seem like an unreasonable investment. After all, if it works, it works. Unfortunately, the costs of using the outdated software system usually involve much more than paying for regular maintenance to keep it up and running. However, obsolete technologies can influence every aspect of your business, and the overall efficiency loss can outweigh the costs of system modernization. This article will consider how outdated applications can harm your business and what factors you should keep in mind if you decide to modernize your system.

How Legacy Systems Affect Your Budget Without You Noticing

The logic behind the intention to keep using an outdated system instead of investing in its modernization is pretty straightforward. Nowadays, the development cost is relatively high, and one-time spending of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars may seem like an unbearable burden, especially for a small company. The Statista data shows that the only force that stopped the ever-increasing worldwide spending on enterprise software was the 2020 coronavirus pandemic that affected all industries. Besides that, there was no sign that businesses could start spending less on enterprise software.

However, your attempts to cut costs may play a cruel joke on your business. If your workflow relies on a legacy system, each of its multiple flaws will bite off a small piece of your income, resulting in pretty significant losses.

First of all, regular maintenance of an outdated system may become a real headache. We don’t try to say that you won’t have to spend resources on its maintenance after you adopt a brand new shiny system. Every complex software solution requires due attention. The thing is, the older software you use, the harder it is to find a specialist with enough expertise to support it.

Things don’t stand still in the IT world, and new programming languages, libraries, and frameworks allow us to deliver more reliable apps and make them quicker appear pretty often. Therefore, maintaining your decades-old software system and fixing bugs may become a daunting task one day.

Read Also Top List of Signs that Your Legacy Software Needs Modernization

If you don’t want your business to be stuck unable to meet the needs of its customers, it’s essential to ensure a hassle-free data flow. Most probably, constant and quick access to up-to-date information is a factor that in many ways determines the success of your company. Conversely, if you deal with an outdated system, the lack of a centralized data processing module or the use of legacy database management systems can become a challenge preventing you from reaching a competitive market advantage.

Keeping sensitive data secure is one of the ways of achieving credibility for your business. The possibility of data breaches or complete loss of stored information is a risk that you have to accept if you run a legacy system. Vulnerabilities not fixed promptly can become a considerable threat to your company’s reputation. Even if you’ll luckily avoid data breaches, there’s still a risk of frequent downtimes characteristics for any old mechanism, be it a vehicle of your legacy system. Such incidents can paralyze the workflow, which won’t make your clients happy and, believe us, won’t increase your income.

If you face these or other problems that hinder the further growth of your company, it may be an excellent decision to consider investing in system modernization. The question is what factors influence the total cost of modernization and what aspect of the process you must keep in mind to ensure overall success?

What One Should Know Before Modernizing a Legacy System

If you decide to cooperate with a company providing software modernization services, there are some factors influencing the overall cost that you should keep in mind. First of all, in addition to the money you’ll have to spend on modernization, it’ll take some time. If we talk about an enterprise-wide system that covers the needs of multiple company departments, be prepared to test your patience. Therefore, if you experience a system failure and bringing it back to life is impossible, prepare for some extra losses caused by a lengthy downtime. Additionally, after the system modernization is complete, it’ll take some time for your employees to adjust to workflow changes. Finally, even if you start working with software made with the best UX practices in mind, you need to learn how the new features work before you feel like a duck to water working with it.

Before you make the final decision about whether or not you want your legacy system to be modernized, you’ll want to get an estimate of the cost of the work. Believe it or not, software development companies don’t just choose the amount of money that would seem attractive to them regarding legacy systems modernization. Instead, there are different methodologies helping devs to make data-driven assumptions on how much time and effort modernization activities will take. For example, COCOMO, also known as Constructive Cost Model, determines how the overall number of required person-months depends on thousands of lines of code and such parameters as product attributes, team size and experience, etc. Another example is Function Point Analysis. According to this methodology, the assessment process is based on analyzing the future system’s functional requirements.

The modernization process itself includes multiple steps and usually starts with the analysis of the current state of your legacy system. When we talk about a legacy system, we don’t mean an application developed at the dawn of the computer age and uses punched cards to operate appropriately. Usually, some parts of a legacy system are still helpful and creating a new application from scratch would be a costly and non-optimal approach. So instead, the development company determines what aspects of the legacy system cause problems or can cause them in the future and what parts require zero improvements.

If you want to cut costs on system modernization, it’s crucial to choose a proper approach. According to the problems your company faces, developers may choose one of many available options. For example, developing a new data architecture may be enough to meet your current needs. Or, suppose, to achieve better scalability, you may desire to move your app in the cloud and use a SaaS application instead of the desktop version. On the other hand, if you have used a system for decades, there are chances that your IT department has been adding more and more features increasing the architecture complexity over the years. In some cases, legacy system modernization will require rethinking the overall architecture and developing a more elegant solution. A software system allowing you to add functional modules as you need more features can be an excellent option in this scenario.

As mentioned, modernizing your legacy system or even adopting brand new software doesn’t free you from the need to continuously maintain it and fix bugs as they appear. Furthermore, to free future developers from the need to spend countless hours trying to understand what a specific line of code does, it’s vital to pay attention to thorough documentation. In addition to developing documentation for the future generations of developers, creating guides and/or training programs for the new users may also be required. Finally, to ensure that the system modernization routine won’t waste money, you should remember that constant updates are essential and will add to the overall cost.

That’s what a legacy system modernization may look like in a nutshell. According to your needs and expectations, the current state of the system, and other aspects, the overall cost may reach $30,000-70,000 for a small application. Medium-to-large-sized applications may require up to $150,000 of your investments. But, in exchange, you will receive increased data security, excellent scalability, reliability, and increased productivity of your company.


Using outdated software is a tricky path. Spending money on its modernization will cost you dearly, but avoiding these expenses, you risk facing more significant losses or even losing your company’s reputation. Leakage of personal data of your customers and unexpected system failures are only a few examples of what you can face if cutting costs in every possible way is your number one priority. On the other hand, timely system modernization is a solution that pays for itself in the long run, thanks to increased reliability and optimized workflow.

If you want to take a step towards better software reliability and performance, feel free to contact us.