Modernizing Business Technology: Legacy System Modernization Through APIs

Table of contents

Laptop and monitor on desk to modernize business technology

An enterprise can use up to a thousand apps in their business, but not all of these are going to be new and modern. You’ll often see the same workhorse applications, mainframes, and ERPs used by business leadership when the organization began. Modernizing your business technology is challenging enough, especially at the scale an enterprise needs. But what about when those legacy processes store data and functions that are crucial to keeping your business running?

There’s a way to bring these legacy applications to the present day without gutting your existing technology. This can be an easier sell for leadership or anyone else in your organization who finds ideas like digital transformation intimidating. With the use of application programming interfaces (or APIs), you can connect legacy systems with new programs. In doing so, you can harness the flexibility of API technology and keep the applications that you’re comfortable using.

What Is A Legacy System?

The term “legacy system” is more than a polite term for “outdated.” While this does refer to older technology that could be replaced by more recent applications, these “upgrades” were built on the achievements of older systems that are still in use. Without legacy systems as a guide and the innovation of developers, much of our current technology wouldn’t exist. It is for this reason that legacy systems require careful consideration when modernizing your business technology.

Enterprises don’t hold on to legacy software out of nostalgia. These programs often hold the basic data and functionality that keep their business processes going. These critical processes form the foundation for the entire business. Replacing that foundation with something more modern every few years could mean reworking the entire technological structure. Also take into account time spent learning new systems and training your staff, and you realize modernizing your legacy system can be more trouble than it’s worth.

For this reason, enterprises often opt to keep legacy systems as they are. They’re a reliable constant in a business that handles plenty of changes already. But using a legacy system will still run into problems when working alongside new tech. Old systems will be limited in the volume of calls they can handle in real-time. Developers will need to be mindful of different file formats and transfer protocols. This is where API development comes in. Implemented properly, an API can fill in the gaps of legacy software and allow for smooth integration.

Integration With APIs

There are a few ways to handle incorporating legacy software into today’s tech offerings.

    • Wrap your legacy services in a REST API. This is one way of packaging legacy services so that the rest of your business technology can work with them.

    • Improve connectivity with web services through an API, letting the API act as a middleman. This can be useful when dealing with legacy systems that have crucial data such as master client data.

    • Use the underlying code of the legacy system to build a microservice, and connect the microservice to the API. It’s much more involved and code-intensive, but can be an option if your legacy program has a business-critical function.

Does API creation sound intimidating? Not sure how to approach the challenge of modernizing your business technology? Don’t worry. DreamFactory makes it easy. Take our guided tour with a 14 day free trial. Build your first API in minutes with sample data or your own database. Try it now!

“Ancient” Technology Made Modern

By linking your legacy systems to an API, you can take advantage of new software innovations without a complete overhaul of your own business processes. You can effectively maximize your investment in legacy apps beyond their traditional lifecycle by leveraging their data and functions in ways you didn’t think of before. You can make these systems more secure by adding authentication. Adding scalability becomes an option where legacy systems strained to keep up with demand. Even automation becomes a possibility. Streamline your business workflows by letting these legacy functions operate in the background, or feed the master data into new programs without worrying about data entry and human error.

This is the first step to building a truly composable enterprise out of your current business offering. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. Digital transformation need not come out by taking a wrecking ball to your existing technology. With API integration, you can build upon the systems you already have and know how to use. This gives you the agility your business needs to stay competitive. It also saves you money and time spent on acquiring and training your staff on learning about new applications and backend systems as they hit the market.

About DreamFactory

DreamFactory is an API management service that helps you build, convert, and manage your APIs. Using your existing database, you can build your own fully functional REST API in minutes. This means you can finish integrating your legacy systems in the better part of an afternoon, giving you more time to run the business. Modernizing your business technology has never been easier! 

If you’re already working with a SOAP web service, DreamFactory can help you upgrade to a new RESTful API that is more flexible and simpler to manage. And once you have your API, DreamFactory can help you maintain it and add more functionality as needed.

Ready to bring your legacy applications to the present day? Let DreamFactory help you build your own API. Our 14 day free trial comes with a guided tour and all the information you’ll need. Get started today, no credit card required.