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Tips on Calculating the Average Cost of a Legacy Mobilization Project

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Feel free to use this image just link to www.rentvine.comLegacy mobilization is a top-of-mind for many of today’s CIOs. They consider it a necessity, and chances are, they have a pretty good understanding of the key steps that will be involved. The one lingering question – and it’s a big one – is how much is it going to cost?

In the world of tech, developing a budget is often an exercise in futility. Without a good understanding of what the actual investment requires (dollars and time), it’s nearly impossible to determine whether the project was worth the costs, both in the short-term and long-term.

So in today’s post, we wanted to offer a few tips on calculating the average cost of a legacy mobilization project. The keyword in that last sentence was average, as each project will vary. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider:

Application Development:

To start, open source programming is more lightweight than legacy programming languages such as COBAL, so by simply switching to Java, a company can cut development time by 80%. When it comes estimating application development time, it is important to get a rough idea of how complex the new solution will be. According to the Kinvey cost estimator, a small solution (1-3 screens) will take 8 person days to develop whereas a large application (9+ screens) should take 48 person days.

Development tools specifically designed for creating mobile apps in legacy environments can significantly cut these expenses. We have seen companies get up and running with baseline functionality in just two days.

App Design:

Design can be extremely expensive service to outsource, costing anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on the amount of custom branding and UI specializations needed. Design studios that enable users to quickly add widgets, styles and third party plug-ins can help organizations quickly enhance usability without going over budget.


Testing early and often should be included in every app development project – the cost of having to fix problems later in the development cycle is just too expensive. Ideally, the ability to test is included in the development environment and therefore adds no additional costs to the project. If done separately, estimate approximately 5-10% of the total system cost for testing.

System Integration:

Everyone remembers how costly and time consuming a middleware project could be – it would take months of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars. That approach is still quite costly. In fact, the CTO of 5App recently reported that an app with complex server-side integration and offline data caching will probably take 8-12 weeks and cost $71,000 to develop for two platforms.

Luckily that is an outdated notion in legacy mobilization. Now developers can use APIs to interface with mainframes and legacy data sources to eliminate system integration expenses completely. While the APIs can be created manually, the process can be extremely time consuming. Auto discovery tools simplify the process, ensuring that the work is complete in just hours. With OpenLegacy, for instance, a company can significantly reduce the costs for development users (think, dollars per day), with an unlimited number of potential end users and new customers – at no charge – as part of our subscription pricing model.


Luckily, there is no longer a need to “replatform” before beginning a legacy mobilization project. However, the app itself must be deployed in a standard server environment. Today the average price per server should be less than $2,000 each. Those organizations with CAPEX issues can consider a hosted option which requires a minimal monthly expense. Estimate 18-30 man-hours during deployment to ensure that any issues detected is corrected prior to going live.

As you can see, estimating the cost of a legacy mobilization project can be tricky. The good news? Any project undertaken today will be far less expensive than those done in the past. The key to containing costs lies in leveraging existing IT skillsets and next-gen open-source modernization platforms to streamline the project from start to finish. Taking the time to make smarter choices upfront will help speed time-to-deployment and the modernization effort as a whole.

Want to get started? Contact us today.


Tags: Development, APIs

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