Can Application Re-engineering Save You Money? Exploring the Cost-Effectiveness of Modernization

Application re-engineering in software development refers to systematically transforming an existing system into another form to improve its quality, capability, functionality, performance, or flexibility at a lower cost, schedule, or risk. By modernizing legacy systems, businesses can use the latest technologies and environments, ensuring ongoing success and staying ahead of the competition.

Application re-engineering offers several benefits, including cost-effectiveness. By simplifying operations and reducing time and resource waste, re-engineered processes can lead to more efficient operations. Additionally, application re-engineering can enhance customer satisfaction by improving software quality and reliability.

The question remains: Can application re-engineering save money? While some argue that application re-engineering is a cost-effective software development method, others disagree. Application re-engineering can help businesses discover unnecessary steps and resources in legacy software, minimizing costs in the long run.

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Costs of Application re-engineering

Upfront costs

Upfront costs of application re-engineering include project planning and analysis, development effort, and testing and deployment. As much as 5% to 20% of the total cost of a project can be attributed to rework.

Project planning and analysis

Accurate estimation of project costs is an essential prerequisite to re-engineering a project. Existing systems are usually re-engineered, and the cost of application re-engineering can vary depending on the complexity of the system and the extent of the changes required.

Development effort

Development efforts include rewriting code, refactoring, and other activities required to transform the existing system into its current form. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process, requiring significant expertise and experience.

Testing and deployment

Testing and deployment are critical to application re-engineering, ensuring the re-designed system is functional, reliable, and secure. This can involve extensive testing, debugging, optimization, and deploying the updated system live.

Hidden costs

Hidden costs like developer training, data migration challenges, and downtime may offset upfront application re-engineering costs.

Training for developers on the latest technologies

Developers may need to be trained on re-engineered technologies and tools to work on re-engineered software, which can have significant costs.

Data migration challenges

Data migration can be complex and challenging, requiring careful planning and execution. This ensures data is accurately and securely transferred from the old to the updated system.

Downtime during implementation

Downtime during implementation can be a significant cost, as businesses may experience disruptions to their operations during the implementation process.

benefits of re-engineering

Benefits of Application re-engineering

Application re-engineering can lead to significant long-term cost savings. By transforming an existing system into a more efficient one, businesses can reduce maintenance costs for outdated systems, improve developer productivity with modern tools, increase system scalability and flexibility, and enhance their security posture. These cost savings can make a compelling case for re-engineering your legacy software.

Reduced maintenance costs for outdated systems

By re-engineering legacy systems, maintenance costs can be significantly reduced. The relief and reassurance of finding specialized skills and knowledge to maintain legacy systems, which are often difficult and expensive, can be a major financial benefit for businesses.

Improved developer productivity with modern tools

Application re-engineering can also empower your developers by improving their productivity with modern tools and technologies. This confidence in their ability to work more efficiently and effectively can lead to significant operational benefits for your business.

Increased system scalability and flexibility

Application re-engineering can also increase system scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to adapt to changing needs faster and easier. Companies can reduce the time and resources required to change their systems by re-engineering them to be more flexible and scalable. Also, application re-engineering allows businesses to use new technologies and platforms, providing greater flexibility and scalability.

Enhanced security posture

Application re-engineering can also enhance the security posture by addressing legacy vulnerabilities. Legacy systems often have security vulnerabilities that are difficult and expensive to fix. By re-engineering these systems, businesses can address these vulnerabilities and improve their security posture, reducing the risk of security breaches and data loss.

Making the Decision: To Re-engineer or Not?

When deciding whether to re-engineer a system, several factors should be considered:

The severity of problems in the existing system: 

Reengineering may be necessary to address these issues if the system has significant problems, such as poor performance, a lack of scalability, or high maintenance costs.

Availability of resources and budget: 

Application re-engineering and modernization can be complex and time-consuming, requiring significant resources and budgets. Ensuring the necessary resources and budget are available to support the application re-engineering effort is critical.

Consider the potential for future growth and scalability.

 If your existing system struggles to keep up with your business's expanding needs, application re-engineering could ensure long-term success and adaptability. This potential for future growth and scalability should inspire optimism and hope in your organization.

Risk of Application Re-engineering: 

While application re-engineering can bring significant benefits, knowing the potential risks is important. These can include introducing existing bugs or disrupting the existing system. By understanding and evaluating these risks, you can ensure they are manageable and decide whether application re-engineering is the right choice for your business.

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Decision tree approach 

When considering application re-engineering, having a structured approach to evaluate the factors involved is helpful. This can include assessing the quality of the application re-engineering framework, selecting a suitable architecture design based on quality requirements, and evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of different architectural structures. This decision-making method can increase confidence in the decision taken and ensure a successful application re-engineering project.

A decision tree approach can also evaluate when to re-engineer the software. This approach can help identify the most appropriate application re-engineering and modernization strategy based on the system's specific needs and constraints.

It is also imperative to consider why legacy application re-engineering projects fail. These reasons include adopting a flawed or incomplete re-design strategy, inappropriate use of outside consultants and contractors, a lack of control over the legacy system, inadequate requirements elicitation and validation, insufficient planning or resolved-to-follow plans, a lack of long-term commitment, and predetermined technical decisions. By carefully evaluating these factors and addressing potential issues, organizations can increase the likelihood of success in their application re-engineering efforts.


Undertaking an application re-engineering project is complex, but the benefits can be significant. Modernizing outdated systems can reduce maintenance and development costs while enhancing security. Defining goals, analysing current processes, designing improvements, implementing changes, and evaluating results are crucial to a successful journey. CodeSuite is here to guide you through this process with our expertise in application re-engineering services, ensuring you achieve your goals effectively and efficiently.

Are you interested in re-engineering your legacy software? CodeSuite's experienced re-engineering team is ready to provide top-notch application re-engineering services. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us guide you through the process with our expertise and professionalism.