Contributed by Mphasis
Written by Suresh Nair, Vice President & Principal Consultant– Retail Banking, Industry Solutions Group, Mphasis

About a decade ago, privately owned cabs were considered an expensive, premium form of urban transport. Since then, “ridesharing,” as pioneered by Uber and Lyft, has revolutionized affordable travel in private vehicles owned by someone else. It has normalized the practice of commuting in relative comfort at a fraction of the cost by offering a “shared” ride that matches passengers with vehicles via a website or a mobile app. The same idea is now being extended across modern enterprises, transforming legacy businesses cost efficiently.

Digitizing legacy businesses via modern apps
While these monumental shifts might seem normal today, it could not have taken place without the extensive deployment of advanced technology. Present day apps are built on iterative platforms that are taking the lead in empowering businesses to redesign themselves for today’s customer-driven era.

However, even large, modern companies that have been successful in adapting to changing requirements for years will have to invest in building such applications. Although acquiring such apps upfront may seem like the most straightforward option to some companies, a majority face the imperative of modernizing their in-house legacy applications on shoestring budgets under digital transformation initiatives.

But how can they possibly go about doing that? Will modernizing only mean swapping one set of legacy applications with advanced counterparts, involving hefty investments? Not so. Although a total swap out will entail million-dollar investments, incremental modernization does not. What does that mean?

The enterprise benefits of embracing domain-driven design
Typically, in most IT modernization projects, there is an expectation for savings to come from within the IT system. Although this can and does materialize, it takes time, up to five-six years, delaying and minimizing the impact of return on investment. But when organizations modernize legacy applications by following a domain-driven design approach, they are able to unpack fused functions in what used to be a monolithic system. Each module is then freed up to function independently, iteratively and optimally in collaboration with similar modules in other companies, thus ensuring a multiplier effect for growth in business.

To help illustrate this, let’s consider trucking as an example. Before technology revolutionized the global supply chain as we know it, a company that specialized in providing trucks for ferrying goods relied on one monolithic system to keep a tally of its accounts, logistics, orders and deliveries. Information was keyed in manually and each function was tightly tied to the others. Business output was predictable. Growth followed expected lines. And there was not much leeway for facilitating sudden spurts in demand.

The business imperative to unpack domain functions
Fast forward to now, and nothing could be more different. Not only do truck companies have the agility to scale based on demand, these businesses can also leverage advanced tech to monetize customized collaboration with other partners in the industry.

But to modernize outdated IT systems, truck companies that have not yet embarked on digital transformation journeys need not discard legacy applications. Instead, a business operating in this space can decouple its four primary functions, namely, logistics, dispatch, customer order and financials, so that each can act independently to optimize growth and reach.

So, for example, if contacted by a customer for an out-of-turn delivery over a busy weekend, a truck driver can offer to meet customer expectations by tying up with a fellow truck company that has trucks idling for a competitive price. In this way, businesses are no longer limited by the monolithic design of legacy IT systems that inhibit collaboration across enterprises. Most importantly, businesses are no longer compelled to refuse customer demands due to the lack of resources within organizations.

Fostering enterprise growth by dismantling monolithic systems
Such an approach enables employees to function like growth-driven consultants—driving business growth and earning the trust of the company leadership.

Stepping back to look at the bigger picture, this is why a key to modernizing legacy apps on a shoestring budget lies in wrapping legacy applications and exposing their functionality as modules. Although the technology remains unchanged at the back end, design is optimized for business growth by breaking the tight connections between systems. When it comes to modernizing your legacy apps, what’s your ROI?

About Suresh Nair
With over 30 years of experience as a software architect, Suresh has been at Mphasis for 11 years and nearly 20 years at Citibank across the Middle East, Europe and Asia. At Mphasis, Suresh heads up our Modernization tribe; working with our technology, delivery and domain experts to help customers succeed in their journeys to move IP and years of investment from legacy technologies to next generation platforms. Prior to this role, Suresh was the Chief Architect for Banking & Capital Markets; and the co-founder and CTO of our NextAngles enterprise scale knowledge-driven platform.

During his time at Citibank, he owned the move off mainframe of the Credit Initiation platform and was the architect for both the EU-wide rollout of CRM and the cards-back office platform for the Middle East and Central Europe.

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