Application Decommissioning: Benefits, Challenges, Checklist and Best Practices


An IT strategy is one of the most vital components for any organization as it defines a broader and well-defined plan. This plan inculcates a streamlined process that helps to outline the usage of technology, thereby meeting business goals. It further details factors affecting the organization’s decisions regarding investment and the optimized use of technological resources. For example, outlining the important goals, interacting with the executive and operations team, defining the schedule and scope, reviewing the existing infrastructure, creating a road map for architecture and resource allocation, defining metrics, and keeping an updated IT strategy.
Another critical part of the IT strategy is Application Decommissioning.
Application decommissioning Definition: Application decommissioning refers to the process of retiring or discontinuing a software application or system that is no longer needed or relevant within an organization’s IT infrastructure. Organizations often encounter issues with outdated legacy systems and tend to use the budget that companies could better use for more relevant tasks. Although the legacy setups need decommissioning, you cannot undermine the presence of such systems as they contain historical information that you might require for legal, compliance, and/or regulatory purposes.
Here, AvenDATA helps you to decommission these systems and reduce the IT maintenance budget to a great extent. We follow a strategic approach to systematically retire outdated and costly legacy applications. The best part is that our approach never compromises on your business and/or compliance requirements.
Our experts understand and utilize a meticulous and precise process for analyzing your application portfolio. We are thus able to explore and identify the most appropriate candidates for decommissioning. We evaluate the process based on its overall value to the business, savings, and associated costs. We also employ the latest technology to extract data from these older setups and perform effective as well as easier storage. Our team not only maintains complete security, privacy, and retention policies but also manages the compliance and regulatory constraints.
We use effective archiving to keep the content accessible as well as fully compliant. You can further perform an easy search, accurate reporting, and remarkable integration for the best business analytics.
Our central repository enables you to collate information from various sources and offers integrated queries and reports. These are easily accessible and fully convertible into different formats.
Moreover, our main concern is the amount of money spent on maintaining and running the older applications. Recent studies indicate that more than 50% of the IT application portfolios and 70% of IT maintenance budgets are associated with legacy applications. Our economic solution functions with a clear business understanding and a detailed decommissioning plan.
The main points of the plan include data preservation and technological notifications, avoiding the gaps in providing the best service. The plan also ensures that after decommissioning, the business still has access to the legacy system’s most significant data.
We also consider the legal implications of data retention from the legacy setup with equal consideration to data integrity. The data integrity aspect leads to a long-term storage and retrieval system, storing the archived version of your decommissioned application. Here, we not only provide assurance for the lifetime of the data but also the methodology to access it in the future, thereby covering the emergency and contingency aspects.
We are equally concerned and carefully monitor the annual maintenance cost by estimating the license and system maintenance cost, identifying the expensive resources, and other operating costs.

Why do we decommission applications?

As organizations grow and evolve, they accumulate numerous applications over time. However, advancements in technology render some of these applications outdated, unsupported, or redundant, resulting in escalated maintenance costs and operational inefficiencies. Application decommissioning comes to the rescue by eliminating unnecessary complexities, reducing licensing and maintenance expenses, and optimizing resources effectively.

Benefits of Application Decommissioning

Application decommissioning offers numerous advantages for organizations looking to modernize their IT infrastructure and streamline operations. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Cost Savings: Retiring outdated applications eliminates the need for costly maintenance and support, freeing up resources to invest in more strategic IT initiatives.

  2. Improved Efficiency: Removing legacy applications can streamline business processes and reduce complexities, leading to improved overall efficiency and productivity.

  3. Enhanced Security: Legacy applications often lack modern security features, making them vulnerable to cyber threats. Decommissioning these systems and migrating to newer, more secure applications strengthens data protection.

  4. Compliance and Risk Management: Transitioning away from legacy applications ensures that the organization complies with industry regulations and reduces potential compliance risks associated with outdated systems.

  5. Increased Agility: Modern applications are designed to be more flexible and adaptable, allowing organizations to respond quickly to changing market demands and business requirements.

  6. User Experience Improvement: New applications are user-friendly and offer better interfaces, leading to an enhanced user experience and increased user satisfaction.

  7. Data Consolidation and Integration: Application decommissioning helps consolidate data from disparate systems into centralized, integrated platforms, enabling better data analysis and decision-making.

  8. Resource Optimization: Decommissioning legacy applications enables organizations to optimize resources, including hardware, software, and IT staff, for more strategic initiatives.

  9. Scalability: Modern applications can scale with the organization’s growth, accommodating increased demand and providing a foundation for future expansion.

  10. Easier Maintenance and Support: Newer applications typically have more comprehensive support and documentation, making ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting more manageable.

  11. Reduction of Data Silos: Decommissioning legacy applications breaks down data silos, enabling seamless data exchange and collaboration across departments.

  12. Faster Innovation: By freeing up resources from maintaining legacy applications, organizations can focus on innovation and the development of new products or services.

  13. Competitive Advantage: Embracing modern technologies through application decommissioning allows organizations to gain a competitive edge by staying ahead of competitors in terms of efficiency and agility.

  14. Long-term Cost Efficiency: While decommissioning may involve initial investments, the long-term cost efficiency of modern applications and reduced maintenance costs outweighs the initial expenditure.

  15. Future-proofing: Transitioning to modern applications ensures that the organization is better equipped to adapt to technological advancements and changes in the industry landscape.

The Challenges in Decommissioning Legacy Applications

Challenges in Decommissioning Legacy Applications

Decommissioning legacy applications is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. Some of the common challenges faced by organizations include:

  1. Data Migration: Transferring data from legacy systems to modern platforms while ensuring data integrity can be a daunting task.

  2. User Resistance: Users may be accustomed to legacy systems, and transitioning to new applications can lead to resistance and training requirements.

  3. Compliance and Regulatory Concerns: Retiring applications with historical data requires adherence to compliance and regulatory requirements to ensure data retention and accessibility.

  4. Business Continuity: Decommissioning applications should not disrupt business operations, and a seamless transition is essential for ensuring continuity.

Application Decommissioning Checklist

Below is a checklist for the application decommissioning process:

  1. Assessment and Planning:

    • Identify legacy applications that need to be decommissioned.
    • Evaluate the impact of decommissioning on business processes.
    • Determine data retention requirements and archival strategies.
  • Data Migration and Archiving:

    • Plan data extraction from legacy applications.
    • Transform and format data for migration to new systems.
    • Ensure data integrity during the migration process.
    • Archive historical data for compliance and reference purposes.
  • Retirement and Sunsetting:

    • Inform stakeholders about the decision to decommission the application.
    • Set a clear timeline for the application’s retirement.
    • Disable access to the application for users and stakeholders.
    • Ensure all relevant data is transferred to new systems.
  • Modernization and Implementation:

    • Select appropriate modern applications to replace the legacy system.
    • Test and verify the functionality of the new applications.
    • Train users and stakeholders on the new systems.
    • Implement security measures to safeguard sensitive data.
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation:

    • Identify potential risks associated with the decommissioning process.
    • Develop mitigation strategies to address identified risks.
    • Monitor and address any unforeseen challenges during the process.
  • Communication and Change Management:

    • Communicate the decommissioning plan and its impact to all stakeholders.
    • Provide regular updates on the progress of the decommissioning process.
    • Offer support and training to users adapting to the new applications.
  • Testing and Validation:

    • Conduct thorough testing of the new applications for functionality and compatibility.
    • Validate data accuracy after migration to new systems.
    • Ensure that the new applications meet the desired performance standards.
  • Documentation and Knowledge Transfer:

    • Document the entire application decommissioning process for future reference.
    • Transfer knowledge and documentation to relevant teams for ongoing support.
    • Provide training materials and resources for using the new applications.
  • Post-Decommissioning Review:

    • Evaluate the success of the application decommissioning process.
    • Gather feedback from users and stakeholders on the new applications.
    • Address any post-decommissioning issues or concerns promptly.
  • Monitor and Maintain:

    • Continuously monitor the performance and efficiency of the new applications.
    • Regularly review data security measures to protect against potential threats.
    • Address any maintenance or updates required to keep the new applications running smoothly.

By following this checklist, organizations can ensure a well-organized and successful application decommissioning process, leading to improved efficiency, reduced costs, enhanced security, and the ability to adapt to technological advancements in the future.

We proudly acknowledge 600+ archiving projects. We have managed 250+ applications from different vendors. Our expertise is further complemented by international experience spanning more than 18 years. Our backbone is the team of 180+ experts, who consistently perform and deliver successful archiving solutions for our global clients, excelling in the IT application decommissioning domain.
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FAQ About Application Decommissioning

Application decommissioning refers to the strategic retirement of outdated legacy applications that are no longer needed. It helps organizations reduce IT maintenance costs while ensuring compliance and retaining historical data.

An IT strategy is crucial for organizations as it provides a well-defined plan for utilizing technology to meet business goals. It outlines the usage of technology, factors affecting investment decisions, and optimized resource utilization.

As organizations grow and evolve, they accumulate numerous applications over time. However, advancements in technology render some of these applications outdated, unsupported, or redundant, resulting in escalated maintenance costs and operational inefficiencies. Application decommissioning comes to the rescue by eliminating unnecessary complexities, reducing licensing and maintenance expenses, and optimizing resources effectively.

The application retirement/Application Decommissioning process involves the following steps:

  1. System Analysis: Analyzing the legacy system to estimate the archiving period, cost, and initiate the decision-making process.
  2. The Archiving Project: A kick-off meeting with an experienced project manager to discuss the project details.
  3. User Acceptance Test: Testing samples, verifying documentation, and receiving an acceptance report from AvenDATA.
  4. System Shutdown: After acceptance, the legacy system can be shut down, and the necessary information can be properly archived.
  5. Ongoing Support: AvenDATA provides full customer support, including assistance during audits, training, and employee transitions.

The benefits include cost savings, improved efficiency, enhanced security, compliance adherence, resource optimization, and future-proofing.

The plan includes data preservation, technological notifications, access to legacy system data, and consideration of legal implications.

The checklist includes assessment and planning, data migration and archiving, retirement and sunsetting, modernization, risk assessment, communication and change management, testing and validation, documentation and knowledge transfer, post-decommissioning review, and continuous monitoring and maintenance.