7 Steps to build an Application Modernization Roadmap [2024]


In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses are increasingly hampered by outdated applications that act as roadblocks to innovation and efficiency. Picture this: a well-established financial institution, relying on a decades-old banking system, faces a 30% drop in customer satisfaction scores. This decline is directly attributed to slow transaction processing times and a lack of modern, user-friendly interfaces, which are now considered baseline expectations by tech-savvy consumers. During the pandemic, CIO demand for new digital products and services surged, according to 76% of CIOs surveyed by Gartner, and 83% predicted that this need would rise even more in the years.

As we delve into the Application Modernization Roadmap, we’ll explore strategic pathways to rejuvenate these aging digital assets, transforming them from cumbersome relics into dynamic, agile tools that drive business forward and enhance user experiences.

What is Application Modernization?

Application Modernization is the process of updating old software applications to newer, more current standards. It’s like giving an old car a new engine, better safety features, and a modern navigation system to make it run faster, safer, and more efficiently. 

Here’s a condensed version of the key benefits of an application modernization roadmap:

  • Increased Efficiency: Modernized systems are faster and more reliable, reducing processing time and improving responsiveness.
  • Enhanced Scalability: Updated technology can handle larger volumes of data and transactions smoothly.
  • Cost Reduction: Over time, modern systems are less costly to maintain than outdated ones, reducing overall operational costs.
  • Improved Security: Newer software incorporates better security measures to protect against contemporary threats.
  • Better Customer Experience: Integration of modern technologies can lead to faster and more personalized customer services.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Modern systems are designed to meet current regulatory standards, helping to avoid legal issues.
  • Data Utilization: Enhanced data analytics capabilities allow for better decision-making and business strategies.
  • Future-Proofing: Keeping up with technology trends helps companies remain competitive in a fast-evolving market.

Why does Application Modernization Roadmap matter?

Ignoring application modernization roadmap is akin to neglecting necessary updates and maintenance on a vehicle; over time, it becomes more expensive to operate, less reliable, and eventually obsolete. Businesses that overlook application modernization roadmap face several significant risks:

  • Increased Costs: Just as an old car guzzles more fuel and needs frequent repairs, outdated applications consume more resources and require extensive maintenance, leading to escalating operational costs.
  • Compliance Risks: In the same way regulations evolve to demand safer and more environmentally friendly cars, legal and industry standards for data protection and privacy are constantly tightening. Using outdated software can result in non-compliance, leading to hefty fines and legal repercussions.
  • Lost Opportunities: Sticking with an old car in a world moving towards electric and autonomous vehicles means getting left behind. Similarly, businesses using outdated applications miss out on new technologies and innovations that could enhance efficiency, customer satisfaction, and competitiveness.

A recent Wakefield Research study found that 92% of the responding organizations are actively intending to modernize their legacy apps or are in the process of doing so.

7 steps to creating an Application Modernization Roadmap

7 steps to creating an Application Modernization Roadmap

Application modernization is a crucial strategy for businesses looking to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and capitalize on the benefits of new technologies. Here’s a structured 7-step roadmap to guide the process of modernizing your applications:

  1. Assessment and Planning:
  • Inventory Existing Applications: Catalogue all existing applications and infrastructure to understand what you currently have.
  • Define Business Goals: Identify what you hope to achieve through modernization, such as increased agility, cost reduction, or improved security.
  • Assess Compatibility and Priority: Determine which applications are suitable for modernization and prioritize them based on business impact and compatibility with new technologies.

2. Technology Selection:

  • Rehost: Move applications to a new hardware environment without changing the code.
  • Refactor: Restructure and optimize existing code without changing its external behavior to fit into a new environment.
  • Rearchitect: Alter the code to shift it to a completely new architecture. This can be advantageous for adopting microservices or cloud-native technologies.
  • Rebuild: Redesign and rewrite the application from scratch while preserving its scope and specifications.
  • Replace: Eliminate the existing application and replace it with a new one that meets the same needs.

3. Technology Selection:

  • Determine Operational Needs: Decide on the software, frameworks, and infrastructure that align with your modernization goals.
  • Select Technology Stack: Choose the programming languages, databases, container orchestrators, and cloud platforms that best fit the intended architecture and operational needs.

4. Execution Strategy:

  • Pilot Projects: Start with small, manageable projects to refine your approach before fully scaling up.
  • Iterative Development: Implement modernization in phases, allowing for adjustments based on feedback and changing requirements.
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): Establish pipelines to automate the deployment and testing of modernized applications.

5. Technology Selection:

  • Develop Testing Protocols: Create comprehensive test plans to ensure the modernized application performs as expected.
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Engage users to validate the functionality and usability of the updated applications.
  • Performance and Security Testing: Ensure that the modernized applications meet required performance benchmarks and security standards.

6. Deployment:

  • Staged Rollout: Deploy the modernized application incrementally to monitor its performance and impact.
  • Monitor and Optimize: Continuously monitor the application for any issues and optimize performance based on real-time data.
  • Feedback Loop: Implement mechanisms for feedback to promptly address any operational issues.

7. Maintenance and Continuous Improvement:

  • Post-deployment Support: Provide ongoing support and troubleshooting to ensure stable operations.
  • Regular Updates: Regularly update the application and infrastructure to incorporate new features, security patches, and performance improvements.
  • Evolve with Technology Trends: Continuously assess and integrate new technologies and practices to keep the application modern and efficient.

Success Stories

The FedEx case study on application modernization offers a comprehensive examination of the company’s strategic approach to improving its technology infrastructure for better operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Here’s a simple breakdown of the challenge, solution, and outcome:


FedEx had the challenge of updating an old IT infrastructure that consisted of a variety of outdated systems. These systems were crucial for its daily operations, but they were becoming more and more inefficient and expensive to upkeep. The challenge was not just about technology, but also about ensuring that the modernization efforts were in line with FedEx’s strategic business goals of enhancing service quality and customer satisfaction.

Solution: FedEx implemented a wide-ranging IT modernization program that encompassed various aspects of technology and business processes. We simplified their operations by adopting modern cloud-based platforms, improving their logistics and package tracking systems, and integrating advanced data analytics to boost operational efficiencies. Importantly, FedEx also prioritized creating a user-friendly e-business framework that seamlessly combined their physical and virtual infrastructures, resulting in creative customer-focused solutions.

Outcome: FedEx’s application modernization efforts have yielded highly positive outcomes. The company has improved its operational capabilities, making it easier to handle and track millions of items every day across different global destinations. This transformation has not only improved customer service and satisfaction, but it has also established FedEx as a frontrunner in technology-driven logistics solutions. In addition, the recent updates have improved their ability to handle logistics and operations, resulting in a more efficient delivery process and improved customer service.



Infrastructure Scale

Manages logistics for over 3 million items daily across more than 200 countries.

Operational Efficiency

Enhanced package tracking and delivery speed, crucial for competitive advantage.

Technological Innovations

Pioneer in package tracking applications; implemented unique barcodes for shipment tracking.

Customer Satisfaction

Improved reliability with guaranteed on-time delivery and a money-back guarantee.

Investment in E-Business

Significant investment in integrating physical and virtual infrastructures for customer-centric innovations.

Challenges to avoid

Modernizing applications can be a transformative journey, but it’s not without its hurdles. Here are some common challenges and practical tips to navigate them:

Managing Change

  • Challenge: Resistance from within the organization, as employees may be accustomed to the old systems.
  • Tip: Foster a culture of change by involving stakeholders early in the process. Use training sessions and demos to demonstrate the benefits of the new system, easing the transition.

Budget Constraints

  • Challenge: Modernization can be costly, and budget constraints may limit the scope of the project.
  • Tip: Prioritize the most critical applications for modernization based on their business impact. Consider phased implementations to spread costs over time and show quick wins to justify further investment.

Technical Complexities

  • Challenge: The intricacies of legacy systems and the integration of new technologies can be daunting.
  • Tip: Start with a comprehensive audit of your existing systems to understand dependencies and complexities. Leverage tools and platforms that simplify integration and allow for incremental updates rather than a complete overhaul.

Resources to Overcome Hurdles

Change Management Workshops: Workshops or webinars focusing on change management can provide valuable insights into leading organizational change effectively.

Cost-Benefit Analysis Tools: Use these tools to evaluate the potential returns on investment from modernization efforts, helping to make a stronger case for budget allocation.

Technical Consultancies: Engaging with experts who specialize in modernization projects can provide guidance tailored to your specific technical and business context.


Embarking on the journey of application modernization roadmap can seem daunting, but taking that first step is crucial for staying competitive and meeting the evolving needs of your customers and workforce. Arm yourself with the right knowledge by exploring guides, white papers, and case studies that shed light on best practices and strategies for a successful transformation. Consider scheduling a consultation with experts who can tailor a modernization roadmap to your unique business context.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. A wealth of support is available from technology vendors, experienced consultants, and vibrant online communities dedicated to software modernization. These resources can provide invaluable insights, answer your questions, and offer practical advice to navigate the challenges ahead.

Don’t let legacy systems hold your business back. Start your modernization journey today and unlock new levels of efficiency, security, and user satisfaction. The future is bright for those who innovate, and the time to act is now.

Parkar Digital, a Gold Certified Microsoft Azure partner, provides technology solutions for Digital Healthcare, Digital Retail & CPG. Our solutions are powered by the Parkar platforms built using Cloud, Opensource, and Customer experience technologies. Our goal is to empower a customer-first approach with digital technologies to deliver human-centric solutions for the clients.


Amit Gandhi

As the Co-Founder and CTO for Parkar Digital, Amit leads the Technology and Engineering teams and is responsible for designing and implementing innovative technology solutions for clients across various industries.​

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Parkar Digital is a digital transformation and software engineering company headquartered in Atlanta, USA, and has engineering teams across India, Singapore, Dubai, and Latin America.

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