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Legacy Software Assessment: A Checklist for Enterprises

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Often, the digital infrastructures of enterprises represent a mix of modern and outdated software. Therefore, up to a certain point, IT systems may carry out their duties without any trouble. Nevertheless, sooner or later, the incompatibility of legacy software with modern solutions begins to slow down business growth.

To remain competitive, teams opt for faster solutions. They choose software that supports integrations and platforms that can bring it all together. So digital transformation, which often implies the modernization of legacy software, sometimes becomes the most reasonable way out of the situation.


At this point, business leaders may face a difficult choice: They can take a “radical” approach and completely transform. Alternatively, if possible, they can renovate only individual infrastructure elements. Both options require money and labor investments and also bring some risks. Meanwhile, choosing the wrong modernization approach may lead to running over the budget and the emergence of security threats.

To make the right decision, enterprise managers should have a deep understanding of the possibilities and prospects of their modernization projects. This understanding can be achieved via a comprehensive legacy software assessment.

Legacy Software Assessment Is Critical for Successful Modernization

At Itransition, we believe that only a comprehensive assessment of legacy infrastructure elements will help enterprises choose the most future-proof approach to application modernization. This is the only way to ensure the maximum return on investment (ROI) of their projects.

Assess Outdated Software in Four Steps

Here are some steps that enterprises can take to get a complete picture of their legacy solutions.

Review Legacy Code

Just as it is impossible to assess a car’s performance without looking under the hood, it is impossible to estimate the state of legacy software without delving into the code. When it comes to software modernization, adequate code assessment becomes truly critical for several reasons.

For instance, over time, working with legacy code becomes more challenging. Companies struggle to find developers with a suitable skill set, for example. Only code evaluation will show enterprise managers if they can access the right talent to manage their legacy systems. Alternatively, it may indicate that it would be better to rewrite the old code to avoid potential difficulties.

One of the ways to conduct code reviews is to run feature and unit tests. Alternatively, teams can develop their custom code quality control tools. For example, they can develop static code analyzers. Measures like these allow teams to understand how their code actually works and identify any potential problem areas.

Analyze Functional Characteristics

After code review, enterprises should check whether the legacy software fulfills its purpose and whether its capabilities meet their goals. To do this, IT specialists should analyze every action the program makes when a user interacts with it.

Here, functional testing may come in handy. With it, companies can evaluate their legacy systems as a whole or analyze their software components. Via functional testing, enterprises can check if the software correctly operates and detect any hidden issues.

Assess Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity risk assessment helps organizations understand, control, and mitigate all types of potential cyber risk. Regarding modernization, this procedure allows managers to check if the outdated software complies with the company’s security policy and resists emerging types of threat. In the long term, this can also help companies avoid financial and reputational damages.

Cybersecurity assessment is always a complex process that involves the use of a variety of tools and practices. For example, teams can conduct penetration testing to determine the vulnerability of outdated systems. Or they can check software compatibility with global or regional security standards.

Calculate TCO

Another way to make a more balanced decision about software modernization is to assess the costs that a company bears in maintaining legacy solutions. Then, managers should forecast whether any upgrades would be beneficial or not. To do this, therefore, teams can calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Calculating TCO usually involves estimating software license fees and annual maintenance. It should also include operating expenses and maintenance of user devices or servers. TCO should also cover additional factors, such as employee training, security, and so on.

By using TCO as a benchmark, enterprise managers can compare the pros and cons of modernizing their legacy corporate systems from the financial perspective. Then they can determine the overall business value of these outdated solutions in the long term.


Final Thoughts

Changes in market conditions, the growing workload, and the need to remain competitive and flexible drive enterprises to modernize their legacy software. Unfortunately, the process of transformation isn’t always successful, and companies may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in vain.


To choose a more appropriate modernization option and increase their projects’ ROI, enterprise managers can initiate a comprehensive and detailed assessment of their legacy software. Legacy code review, functional analysis, and TCO calculation are just some measures that can help business executives make more intelligent decisions regarding legacy software modernization.