What is Application Modernisation?

Application modernisation is a process that involves repurposing, consolidating, or refactoring legacy software code to better align with business needs. It updates existing applications, making them scalable and resilient to meet evolving user expectations, often utilising modern technology stacks such as the cloud.

Sometimes referred to as legacy modernisation or legacy application modernisation, this practice updates older software to newer computing approaches, including modern languages, frameworks, and infrastructure platforms. Application modernization extends the lifespan of an organisation’s applications, allowing them to benefit from technological advancements without the need for complete replacement.

For organisations, application modernization can be highly beneficial. The most significant results are achieved by integrating delivery practices, services, and cultures with cloud technology. This video from AWS Events highlights how modernising your people, processes, and applications can help you fully leverage the advantages of the cloud.


Broadly speaking, app modernisation efforts can be broken down into four stages: assessment, migration, modernisation and optimisation. At each of these stages, organisations must seek out and implement the tools and practices that will lead to success.


An assessment can make or break an app modernisation effort. Automation is essential at the assessment stage, as humans can miss opportunities for modernization and slow down the process. A holistic assessment engagement, such as Accelacloud Strategic Application Rationalisation Assessment, can help organisations to analyse their code, evaluate it against modernisation goals, and provide a custom roadmap that leads to applications that are more scalable and easier to maintain. During a SARA engagement, hundreds or even thousands of applications can be analysed using our proprietary reporting and analysis methodology. To fuel digital transformation, it is important that assessments look at environments from a software standpoint rather than taking an infrastructure-centric approach.


Business and IT leaders sometimes overlook the importance of selecting the right cloud provider to host their modernised applications. Too often, organisations make this choice by default, simply continuing to use a public cloud environment with which they are familiar. However that this decision should be based on a provider’s ability to deliver necessary services. 


Once organisations have assessed their application environments and decided where their modernised apps will live, they must do the difficult work of creating cloud-ready applications that meet their needs. Typically, this process relies heavily on the use of containers, packages of software that are bundled together across application code, enabling seamless deployment across multiple environments. Other important tools include microservices, an architectural approach that makes development more agile by allowing each core function to be built independently; automation, which can streamline tasks such as deployment and diagnostics; and artificial intelligence, which can help organisations to mine insights from their applications.


Anyone who has worked in IT for long enough knows that the success or failure of an initiative often depends on how well it is sustained over time. Application monitoring tools can help organizations to ensure that their modernized app environments continue to perform as expected and meet users’ needs, and managed services can help reduce the burden on internal IT staffers. To support an agile, digitally transformed workplace, organizations must ensure alignment between their new application environments and their people, processes and governance. They must also closely track key performance indicators and adjust their practices over time to address changes in performance.

Application Modernisation Strategies

A key strategy is developing a long-term application modernisation roadmap to effectively manage a business’s resources through legacy modernization. For most organisations, it is better to approach application modernisation in a piece-by-piece manner rather than all at once. This can help teams properly manage their existing applications’ performance while undertaking the work of modernization.

Another foundational strategy for successful legacy app modernisation is to conduct a thorough analysis of candidate applications. This assessment should include evaluating the app’s suitability for cloud migration or similar shift, technical characteristics, the application’s interdependencies with other systems, the ROI of undertaking such a modernisation, and other criteria.

Modernisation efforts can take several forms, such as replatforming and rearchitecting – also referred to as refactoring. Both can be good choices for strategic, business-impacting applications. A cost-benefit analysis is the preferred method to determine which of these approaches is best for each application to be modernized.

Replatforming enables applications to take advantage of foundational cloud functionality and cost optimisation. Often a lower level of effort, it typically involves up-versioning components like a database to optimise them for cloud infrastructure.

Rearchitecting an application is often more involved and can include rewriting swaths of code to ensure that applications gain from cloud-native functionality. While more time and resource-intensive, refactored applications can maximise the operational and cost efficiencies offered by the cloud because they are fully able to take advantage of cloud functionality like elasticity and auto-scaling that can result in extensive savings. Often, business-critical legacy applications are good candidates for rearchitecting.

The 7 R’s of Application Modernisation

Application modernisation isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavour. An approach that’s perfect for one application may be entirely unsuitable for another. Modernisation options are often broken down into seven categories.


Refactoring involves code uplift without altering functionality to remove technical debt and reduce maintenance burdens.


During a modernisation effort, leaders may decide to leave some applications alone, especially those employed by relatively few users.


Rewrite or redesign the application component from scratch while preserving specifications that lead to improved functionality.


In some cases, leaders may decide that an application is no longer necessary and opt to retire it completely.


Also known as a “lift and shift” migration, rehosting means migrating a workload to a public cloud environment without modifications.


Eliminate the former application component and replace with new off-the-shelf solutions, considering new requirements and needs.


With this option, an application is moved to the public cloud, but it is first overhauled to make it more cloud-native, often via containerisation.

ACCELACLOUD Application Modernisation portfolio focuses in repurposing, consolidation and/or refactoring of functional areas and services. We help create new or value from existing applications to align them more closely with business needs. Our services helps your business modernise legacy applications to scalable, resilient environments to meet your business expectations as the maturity evolves.

Application Rationalisation

Using the 7R analysis, identify which applications should you upgrade, retire, replace or move to the cloud.

Application Migration

Migrate from current environment to a more robust, scalable, and agile one making your organisational structures cost effective and digital ready.

Application Architecture Advisory

Define vision for application and technology along with business capabilities and align value realisation goals to business objectives and results.


Cloud Automation enables automation of deployment across a multi-vendor hybrid cloud infrastructure, providing both flexibility and investment protection for current and future delivery of cloud services.