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Do you actually know what’s in your enterprise’s legacy application portfolio?

When the legacy portfolio is opened and analyzed, the contents may be surprising. A legacy portfolio contains more than just applications.  It also includes legacy data and integrations that have evolved over the years to help stitch the enterprise systems and processes together. When evaluating the legacy application portfolio for modernization options, there is a range of “generic” choices available, as illustrated on the Legacy Portfolio Modernization Curve below:


The Legacy Portfolio Modernization Curve is segmented into the following categories:

  • Retire:  This portion of the legacy portfolio can simply be retired because the applications are no longer in use.
  • Rationalize/Consolidate: There is an opportunity to rationalize the multiple functionally duplicate applications and consolidate the users onto one application platform, saving support costs, license fees, and infrastructure costs.
  • Replace with COTS/GOTS:  Custom-developed, homegrown code that can be replaced by equivalent commercial off the shelf (COTS) or government off the shelf (GOTS) solutions.
  • The “Dangerous Middle”:  This segment of the legacy application portfolio needs further analysis because of technology complexities, business or mission criticality, or other risk factors. We call this the “Dangerous Middle,” because the risks associated with these applications are enough to merit a cautious approach for these applications.  Based on the various risks, there is a range of options to consider for “Dangerous Middle” applications.

Options for “Dangerous Middle” applications

  • Rewrite/Refactor
  • Replatform
  • Service-Refactor (via SOA-based approach)
  • Service-Wrapper/Exposure (via SOA-based approach)
  • Virtualize (preparatory for Cloud migration)
  • Do Nothing – Too Risky, Costly or Complex

These dangerous middle applications are among the major cost drivers of the legacy portfolio, because there are no easy or obvious modernization choices, and almost of the options require significant investment, and expose the organization’ to the various risk factors.

  • Do Nothing:  This category of applications are either too risky to meddle with or very recent additions to the portfolio.  In either case, the migration decision is the same – do nothing for the time being.

These “generic” legacy portfolio migration options provide an overall perspective across the legacy portfolio, independent of specific migration scenarios or target technologies such as Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Service-Oriented Architecture, and others.

This post is adapted from the AgilePath whitepaper “Legacy Portfolio Modernization in the Age of Cloud Computing.”   This exclusive whitepaper will become available on ___ in conjunction with the AgilePath webinar of the same title. AgilePath President and CEO Eric Marks, the author of the whitepaper, will detail the challenges faced by IT executives and offer solutions for legacy portfolio migration/modernization.

Click below to register for the webinar and pre-order your exclusive copy of “Legacy Portfolio Modernization in the Age of Cloud Computing” by Eric Marks, President and CEO of AgilePath.

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