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How Modern Apps Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

When choosing a software solution, it can be tempting to choose the system with the lowest upfront costs. But the cost of running and maintaining software, including updates, bug fixes, and downtime, can increase your initial costs by over 20% per year. That’s why it's important that you invest in future-proofing your software from the start. 

Modern application development is a proven approach for increasing the agility, reliability, and security of your applications while allowing you to build and release better applications, faster. In contrast to legacy applications, modern applications are easier and less expensive to maintain. They require less investment, less developer time, and less IT staff resources.

Modern applications are built using agile development processes, modular architecture, and serverless operational models. They allow organizations to innovate faster and increase time to market while reducing risk and total cost of ownership (TCO). In fact, TCO is one of the most important—and most often overlooked—factors when selecting a software solution. 

Here’s what you need to know about the total cost of ownership of modern apps.

What Is Total Cost of Ownership?

Gartner defines TCO as, “a comprehensive assessment of information technology (IT) or other costs across enterprise boundaries over time. For IT, TCO includes hardware and software acquisition, management and support, communications, end-user expenses and the opportunity cost of downtime, training, and other productivity losses.” 

TCO is critical in determining what a product or service truly costs beyond its basic purchase price. It combines all of the costs associated with a product or service throughout its entire life cycle, including both direct and indirect costs.

How Modern Apps Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

Modern applications reduce total cost of ownership in several ways, including lower development costs, faster delivery cycles, and decreased operational costs. 

Higher Availability

Legacy systems are generally large and highly integrated with the databases, user interfaces, and other services related to the application. This monolithic nature means that if part of the application fails, the entire application will fail. Updates and changes that need to be applied to the system will result in downtime. 

Because of the size of legacy applications and the complexity of their integrations, it can take hours—or even days—to troubleshoot the issue when they go down. Other applications that depend on the legacy software may also need to be shut down or restarted. Planned or unplanned downtime of any length can result in loss of revenue, especially if you provide time-critical services.

In contrast, modern applications use the microservices approach, making them more resilient to downtime. Microservices are small, interoperable modules that can be upgraded independently when implementing updates or new functionality. Since microservices are independent, an issue in one service doesn’t necessarily affect the other services. This leads to less downtime overall and, by extension, less revenue loss.

Faster Delivery Cycles

Legacy applications are built using traditional software development approaches, such as the waterfall model. These methods use a sequential software development approach with a specific set of activities, including requirements gathering, design, development, testing, and deployment/delivery. Each step must be completed before the development team can move on. 

As a result, these methods often result in development time frames as long as 6-24 months and wasted time on features that customers don’t actually need (or want). Making changes or adding features requires restarting the entire process from the beginning.

In contrast, modern applications are built using accelerated development processes supported by agile methodologies, DevOps practices, modular architecture, and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) processes. Agile and DevOps practices facilitate better collaboration and communication among developers, IT operations teams, and other stakeholders. This leads to greater clarity on development objectives. 

CI/CD processes for automated builds, testing, and deployment eliminate several of the manual tasks that slow down traditional applications. Microservices support the modular development of smaller code blocks which allows developers to deliver software features faster. These and other modern app development processes decrease labor expenses over time and prevent costs associated with unnecessary development.

Increased Security

Modern application development incorporates several security controls that make modern applications more secure than their traditional counterparts. 

For example, DevSecOps (short for development, security, and operations) integrates security into every stage of software development through automated processes. This helps developers focus on meeting security and compliance objectives from the early stages of development, reducing errors and vulnerabilities in the end product.

DevSecOps integrates security assessments and vulnerability tests at each point of the CI/CD pipeline. As a result, continuous security monitoring allows security and operations teams to monitor the development environment for security threats through automated processes. 

These tools provide increased visibility into the environment, ensuring that potential threats and security risks are identified and fixed. Monitoring tools also provide alert features so that IT admins can discover, report, and respond to incidents in a shorter time. 

As recent high-profile cyberattacks have shown, secure applications are a must for avoiding financial loss due to ransomware or compliance penalties. 

Lower Development Costs 

The inflexibility of traditional software development methods often results in delays, inefficiencies, and waste. This increases overall development costs. 

Applications built with modern development technologies take less time to complete, use less code, and can utilize cost-saving cloud-based environments with virtualization and serverless architecture. 

Cloud-native architectures eliminate the need for physical hardware and network infrastructure. Serverless architectures in the cloud let you run dynamic workloads on a pay-per-use model. This makes it less expensive to provision and maintain the infrastructure needed for development environments. 

Cloud providers offer as-a-service solutions for software, storage, infrastructure, and development platforms on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. This can reduce both startup costs and the costs associated with overprovisioning and paying for unused resources. 

Modern applications can also reduce costs by leveraging open source software, which is free to use and doesn’t require additional licensing fees. 

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