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Due to rapid technological advances, businesses in Australia must continuously update and realign their existing systems, including apps, with the latest technological standards. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the modernisation process, emphasising why application modernisation is crucial—not merely advantageous. It offers in-depth strategies and best practices designed to transform your business operations effectively.

Modernising applications is vital as it significantly enhances business agility and operational efficiency. As legacy systems age, they often struggle to integrate with new features and become slower and more costly to maintain. Through application modernisation, most organisations can adopt faster, more secure technologies that integrate seamlessly with advanced cloud services, ensuring they stay competitive in their markets.

This guide will lead you through various strategies for modernising applications, including cloud migration and adopting cloud-native solutions. Each strategy addresses specific needs within your technical environment and business model. From deciding which applications to phase out to implementing robust security measures in new deployments, these strategies help you make informed decisions. By embracing these modernisation strategies, your organisation will be better positioned to leverage emerging opportunities and enhance security and performance across all operations.

What is the importance of Application Modernisation?

As technology continuously evolves, most organisations are driven to reassess and update their application infrastructures. Legacy systems, typically inflexible and compartmentalised, impede the agility and operational efficiency required to remain competitive in a swiftly shifting landscape. Application modernisation is more than just a strategy to keep pace with technological trends; it represents a transformative process aimed at making business operations more efficient, scalable, and cost-effective. Statistics indicate that companies committed to modernising applications experience a 15% increase in operational efficiency and a notable decrease in IT expenditures. These modernisation efforts are crucial in ensuring that businesses maintain relevance and a competitive edge in the market.

Key challenges in Application Modernisation

Modernisation is no small undertaking; it comes with its set of challenges. Organisations often struggle with overcoming the inertia of legacy systems, where technical debt accumulates, and outdated architectures slow down business processes. Moreover, a scarcity of expertise in new technological domains can pose a significant barrier. By examining real-world examples, such as a major retailer that successfully transitioned from a monolithic to a microservices architecture, we can learn the strategic importance of overcoming these hurdles.

The 7 R Strategy: A framework for Application Modernisation

The 7 R strategy offers a structured framework that guides businesses in their application modernisation efforts. This method divides the modernisation process into seven distinct strategies, helping organisations navigate through complex decisions efficiently.

Retire: Removing obsolete applications

It's essential to identify and decommission obsolete applications that no longer add value. This strategic move not only reduces costs but also simplifies the IT landscape, paving the way for the adoption of more modern and efficient systems.

Rehost: Moving applications to the cloud

Rehosting, often referred to as 'lift and shift,' entails transferring applications to a cloud environment without altering the original code. This strategy leads to substantial cost savings and increases scalability, making it a vital part of the modernisation process.

Replatform: Optimising cloud platforms

Replatforming modifies existing systems slightly to maximise cloud-native features. This strategy enhances operational efficiency and cuts costs associated with cloud resources, aligning with modern business needs for agility and improved performance.

Refactor: Restructuring applications for the cloud

Refactoring transforms an application’s code to suit a cloud-native architecture, significantly boosting both performance and scalability. It enables organisations to fully utilise the capabilities of cloud services, aligning with current technological standards.

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Retain: Prioritising critical applications

Retaining involves keeping certain critical applications unchanged temporarily due to their complexity. This approach allows for strategic planning and careful consideration of future modernisation initiatives, ensuring stability in essential business operations.

Relocate: Migrating infrastructure to the cloud

Relocating involves moving digital assets to a flexible and scalable cloud environment. Selecting the appropriate cloud model is crucial for optimising the benefits of cloud migration enhancing overall business flexibility and capability.

Repurchase: Adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Adopting a SaaS model dramatically reduces maintenance burdens and facilitates continuous updates. SaaS solutions provide scalability and flexibility, adapting seamlessly to evolving business requirements and modernising applications effectively.

Best practices for successful Application Modernisation

To ensure successful application modernisation, businesses should adhere to several best practices:

  • Conduct thorough assessments of your current application estate to prioritise actions.
  • Set realistic goals and timelines to manage expectations and resources effectively.
  • Prioritise security to protect your data and operations during and after the transition.


Modernising your application architecture is not merely an option but a strategic necessity in the current business climate. Adopting the outlined frameworks and best practices enables companies to stay competitive and equipped for future advancements. It is essential to take proactive steps toward your application modernisation, adapting the guidelines to your specific business context to maximise effectiveness and future readiness.

We urge businesses to actively engage in their modernisation journey by exploring additional resources and consulting with experts to customise their strategies. This tailored approach will ensure that your initiatives align closely with your unique operational needs and strategic goals. Embracing this transformational path is your gateway to a future marked by innovation and sustained growth, positioning your business at the forefront of industry advancements.

Frequently asked questions

What are the steps for application modernisation?

The steps for application modernisation typically involve several strategic actions aimed at updating and enhancing your existing systems. Initially, it includes conducting a thorough assessment of your current applications to identify which ones need updating, which can be retired, and which may require complete rebuilding or replacement. The next step often involves deciding on the modernisation approach, such as rehosting, replatforming, refactoring, or replacing applications, depending on your business needs. Finally, implementing these strategies with an emphasis on integrating new technologies and ensuring that the updated systems are scalable, secure, and efficient. 

What is an example of application modernisation?

An example of application modernisation is a company transitioning from a traditional on-premise software system to a cloud-based solution. This could involve using strategies like rehosting, where the existing application is moved to the cloud with minimal changes, or refactoring, where the application is significantly altered to take full advantage of cloud-native features such as scalability, security enhancements, and integration with other cloud services. 

What is the modernisation approach to application development?

The modernisation approach to application development involves updating legacy systems to better align with current technology standards and business practices. This approach typically focuses on making existing systems more agile, efficient, and capable of integrating with modern technologies. It might include adopting a cloud-native architecture, incorporating microservices, or utilising DevOps practices to accelerate development cycles and improve service delivery. 

What are the components of application modernisation?

The components of application modernisation include several key elements necessary for updating legacy systems effectively. These components often encompass cloud migration, which involves moving applications to cloud environments; application refactoring, aimed at restructuring existing applications to be more modular and scalable; and the adoption of new platforms such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to reduce infrastructure burdens. Additionally, ensuring robust security measures and involving stakeholders throughout the modernisation process are crucial components of a successful strategy. 

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