AWS Smart Business Blog

SMBs Struggle with Legacy Tech—Here’s How to Modernize Custom Apps

In today’s world, many of the biggest opportunities lie in using data to become more innovative, efficient, and customer focused. In theory, small and medium businesses (SMBs) have a big advantage over their larger contemporaries—they’re smaller and can move more quickly than large enterprises.

In practice though, two things hold them back–a lack of in-house technology skills and an over-reliance on outdated legacy applications.

How outdated technologies hold SMBs back

Legacy apps lack the scalability, functionality, and flexibility of their modern counterparts. They’re also more expensive to run, update, and maintain, as vendor support is often no longer available. If your SMB built a custom app over a decade ago, you likely know this struggle.

It’s not just additional operational costs that SMBs with legacy apps face–there’s also the opportunity cost of not being as efficient and responsive to customer needs as competitors. If your rivals can change faster than you can, and take advantage of tools and features that you cannot, you’re going to lose out to them time and time again. And when apps become a barrier to growth and success, they need to be modernized.

The issue many SMBs have is that they don’t have the ability to carry out app modernization (or AppMod for short) projects by themselves.

Working with third-party experts such as IT consulting partners can help businesses modernize their apps faster. This gives SMBs the ability to take advantage of new opportunities before their competitors, as well as accelerate innovation, streamline operations, and reduce costs.

4Asset office with people working at a table

What is App Modernization (AppMod)?

AppMod is the process of updating legacy applications and migrating them to modern cloud setups. This gives you the scalability and functionality to meet your current technology and business objectives, as well as respond to new opportunities or challenges. If you have a custom app that is hosted on-premises, it contributes to additional overhead costs and could be an option for AppMod.

Think of macroeconomic factors that AppMod can enhance. For instance, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, SMB retailers, manufacturers, and more were forced to quickly improve their remote working capabilities to offer more online services. If employees couldn’t easily access their apps in the cloud, it reduced productivity.

AppMod delivers agility and efficiency for SMBs

RapidScale (formerly known as Logicworks) is a Premier Amazon Web Services Partner specializing in making apps fit for modern ways of working. We’ve been working together for over 10 years, helping SMBs to accelerate transformation through AppMod.

All kinds of SMBs can benefit from AppMod, even if they operate in very traditional, non-digital marketplaces. For example, a small business recently collaborated with us and AWS to modernize its legacy apps.

The business trades milk using an in-house legacy app, running weekly auctions across several global locations. The app’s lack of scalability made it expensive to run and maintain.

Now the app is hosted on AWS Cloud, so the SMB can scale its power up and down during the auctions, meaning it only pays for the resources it uses. This flexibility helps reduce unnecessary costs compared to when it was hosted on-premises.

These examples may sound simple on the surface, but the truth is that AppMod goes way beyond simply moving apps from on-premises to the cloud. AppMod is a chance to fundamentally improve how an SMB works. It’s about shifting cultures as much as shifting applications—helping small teams to take on an agile mindset, embrace change, and turn challenges into opportunities.

How to launch an AppMod project with RapidScale

Schedule a free consultation with RapidScale’s experts, who are capable of understanding your challenges. We’re here to listen and observe. We’ll work together to discuss how cloud services can help reduce operational costs, drive efficiencies, accelerate time to market, and more

We’ll also assess your legacy apps and identify modern technologies capable of supporting your goals. If you decide to work with us, we’ll develop a strategic plan that fits your budget and various business requirements.

Who should be involved in an AppMod project?

AppMod doesn’t only benefit IT, it impacts your staff and end-users. When apps are modernized, the impact can be felt across the entire business. So, when it’s time to kick off an AppMod project, it’s important to bring everyone to the table. Make sure to include:

  • Your wider leadership team, including heads of finance and operations
  • Cloud hosts able to deliver effective AppMod for SMBs
  • Any existing IT consultant(s) or staff who have technical knowledge of your app

Start with a free RapidScale AppMod consultation

Book a free consultation now with RapidScale’s AppMod experts. You’ll understand what your apps are capable of in a modern cloud environment, discover the business benefits AppMod can bring, and start taking advantage of the opportunities around you.

Ben May

Ben May

Ben May is Director, Customer Solutions Architect Engineer at RapidScale. He is committed to designing and implementing the most cost effective and efficient cloud architectures for multiple systems (such as AWS), as well as working with the teams to support and deploy those applications around the world. He is based in New York.