How application modernization can spark a lasting competitive advantage

Varghese Cherian, Head of Technology Services at UST

Heart of portfolio modernization is taking stock of existing technology and deciding the most prudent way to address each piece.

Varghese Cherian, Head of Technology Services at UST


Application modernization, also known as portfolio modernization, above all, is a business-building initiative; therefore, it must drive competitive advantage. It is a cloud-agnostic approach to help create new applications and migrate existing application portfolios to the cloud efficiently.

Every company approaches application modernization slightly differently. They must consider the unique challenges and opportunities to be effective. It is a series of decisions (e.g., design, redesign, refactor or reengineer to future-proof their business on the cloud), and no company will approach it in the same way.


At the heart of the portfolio, modernization is taking stock of existing technology and deciding the most prudent way to address each piece. Businesses have a wealth of options for anyone technology.

Among their options include rearchitecting and reengineering applications with new functionality and integrations, refactoring by upgrading a current application to run better in a legacy environment, rehosting an existing application on newer infrastructure, or refreshing the application as a more recent version. They can also retain the technology as is, or they can replace or retire or decommission the code.

As you can see, there are many decisions to make before you even begin to realize the benefits of application modernization. All it takes is the right partner to unlock the requisite value to justify the time and cost. But it’s well worth it: the innovative ideas that follow are likely to spark lasting competitive advantage.


  1. Improved product offerings: The first is the easiest: modern applications are made with today’s users in mind. Driving greater adoption means happier users, who are likely to become advocates for your product. This boosts your corporate reputation and enhances your relationship with customers, making them more amenable to continuing to purchase subsequent products. Companies that are saddled with old legacy technology are often distracted by technical debt (old, unused or buggy code) that drains productivity and takes focus away from developing and launching meaningful new solutions.
  2. New revenue streams: Application modernization opens companies to new ways of thinking. They can reimagine new business products, functions, and services or conceive of new markets they would not be able to reach with legacy tech. Working with a partner like UST to conduct application modernization involves focusing on a vision and strategic roadmap to deliver new business services around modern technologies like AI, automation, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, AR/VR and 5G.
  3. Accelerated deployment: Legacy technology weighs down solution roadmaps. By embracing application (or portfolio) modernization, companies can release applications quicker and more efficiently; they can also ideate and build new solutions faster. Companies that have adopted application modernization can more readily use Shift Left approaches, where testing is performed earlier in the software or system lifecycle, e.g., moved left on the project timeline. Organizations gain the ability to rapidly develop, test, and launch new applications, processes and workflows. Removing complexity while increasing transparency into the entire software development lifecycle enables better collaboration across development, security and engineering teams. Additionally, application modernization unlocks the use of microservices, which positions applications as a collection of partially connected services. This enables development teams to rapidly innovate on application functionality and launch quicker.
  4. Fewer security headaches: Imagine a race where the leader sprains his or her ankle, requiring him or her to exit the race to receive medical attention. The rest of the pack catches up. A data breach or hack brings a company’s operations to a standstill. IT needs to allocate resources to fix the breach, marketing halts, litigation saps resources, and executives must take time communicating to the press what happened and how it was fixed instead of talking about exciting new initiatives.
  5. A more connected workforce: Many legacy technologies were built for siloed organizations when management and business strategy were radically different from today. Application modernization creates opportunities to automate workflow and provides transparency across toolsets. It is the right fit for today’s organizational imperatives for greater collaboration and seamlessly sharing information across business units and functions.
  6. Solve talent gaps: Today’s developers and engineers are looking for several key attributes in any new company. These include a greater purpose, mission and work flexibility, but more importantly, a modern technology stack. It provides more opportunities for great work while protecting them from spending too much time reconciling technical debt.


Looking the other way and failing to conduct application modernization means a competitive disadvantage, considering how most of your competitors are already on their modernization journey. Companies that do not address the problems with their current infrastructure, outdated code, application maintenance costs, and lack of scalability run the risk of falling behind the competition.


In an environment where tech talent is hard to find, lean on UST developers with 20+ years of experience, deep domain expertise, and an understanding of legacy code and the newest technologies. Our customers can engage our strategy and modernization services within our multi-step methodology and take advantage of our platforms to accelerate productivity and power innovation.

Our community of digital transformation experts can engineer an end-to-end methodology and provide innovative developer tools and platforms to help you efficiently migrate your existing application portfolios to the cloud.

Contact us today to learn more!