Making Your Old Business Software Work Properly in Today’s Dynamic Business Environment



Every present-day individual or thing is a product of improvement, a result of change. Even the age-old story of evolution is a pragmatic flow from which came about the existence of today’s Homo sapiens. Same also happened to the humble abacus, which was overhauled through the years and became the lofty calculator.

The transformation from old to new may be inevitable, but it never is an easy course. There are various qualities or characteristics that are often dropped or removed from the original product, and pieced together under the same original structure, to become a new one. There may be qualities that are emphasized, and yet all of these changes are meant to improve or downgrade something in the long-run.

Now take today’s technology and albeit many would call it a great leap for humanity to have evolved technology from room-sized computers to one that can run on a desktop or even on the palm of one’s hand. Today’s programs like Windows, Linux or those nifty applications we see around had most of their computer codes evolved throughout the decades from several very complex and rather primitive computer programming languages. FORTRAN, COBOL, and the other ancestors of today’s Visual Basic, Java, PHP, JSP, and HTML – all of them underwent transformation – becoming faster and more efficient to meet the demands of today’s very dynamic technology infrastructure.

Computer codes and programming languages might have taken a step up the ladder, but the programs that they spawned remained in stagnant waters. During the time when FORTRAN or COBOL (1950’s-1970’s) were hitting the technology era by storm, several companies and individuals were more than eager back then to compile the computer code into a viable business software; several business software became capable of computing large amounts of numbers, storing vast amounts of information, and processing them altogether into useful tools, which became indispensable in the successful operation of large companies.

Eventually time passed, and fast-forwarding to the year 2008, the age of interconnectivity sees time when computer codes and programming languages like PHP, Java, JSP, and HTML have started re-shaping the business arena. Adapting to the technologically advanced computer hardware of today, computer languages have re-packaged themselves; becoming lighter, faster, more efficient, and capable of handling internet-based processes.

Now the real dilemma begins. What can a person or company do to preserve all the important data which were stored in their computer database, while using an outdated application, interchangeably referred to as “legacy application” like COBOL, making it capable to handle more dynamic computations and procedures? Buying new software is not always good option; it can be very costly, and the delay, which can inevitably occur while transporting decades of information into the new business system can disrupt or even derail the whole business operation. Yet, something has to be done in order to remain competitive and stay on the race.

Why not modernize them? Modernizing legacy systems is the best alternative to continue or maintain the important business structure and information stored within the legacy code of the application. Legacy Modernization is a process which requires transformation and re-engineering. It involves upgrade of legacy business application, which was coded decades ago using COBOL, Perl, Mapper, etc., into a level of competence that current applications handle.

The next step would be stripping away the unnecessary program blocks and features which may hamper performance in the new coding environment. That is followed by encapsulating the legacy code in the new computer code, re-writing the basic interface for all routines and sub-routines and then adding more dynamic memory allocation, array functioning and interoperability into the program capabilities. The last and final step would be testing the program and its ability to properly integrate the existing business information.

The whole procedure sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but they are really required to excellently modernize a legacy application. Legacy modernization is a long-term aspect, and as such, there’s a good chance that the new program will be optimized to yet another modernization procedure later on. Now that would save you a lot of money, and make the program fit for another computer revolution up the programming ladder.



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