What to do with applications, developed in old technology?

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The perennial dilemma. What was once a shiny new application in a modern language can fall quickly into the legacy technology bucket. Many of these applications are still being used extensively, adding real value to businesses of all size. With estimates of 220 billion lines of COBOL source code alone around the world, there is clearly a significant volume of applications that were developed with old technologies. Frequently these are not properly documented, the original developers may have moved away, they may be hard and expensive to update, may have become bloated with new features tacked on, and have become a risk to the Company.

What are my options for modernisation? Do nothing and hope it does not cause an issue? Rewrite it in a modern language? Buy something off the shelf? The route of the problem is actually the amount of source code in these applications and the knowledge of how these lines of code work and are put together. None of these options above solves the route cause and eliminates the cost and risk created by all this.

From our conversation with customers, there are often 2 major inhibitors to change. The first being that these systems have become so devolved from what the business processes should be to serve the current business. Simply rewriting a legacy application in a modern language does nothing to improve the internal process. Secondly, to put ones head above the parapet to modernise a huge legacy system carries a significant element of risk. Perhaps a lower risk solution is to eat the elephant in smaller chunks. Commission small, agile projects that can tackle smaller components of the whole system to build confidence in the ability to transform the main application.

A meta-data driven methodology with a framework of customizable building blocks, that cover the spectrum of the end to end business process, offers customers a solution that is language-agnostic (future proofing them against the inevitable shifts in technology). A 40% plus reduction in the volume of source code with a 30% plus lower cost than traditional development options, with the majority of the remuneration orientated to delivery milestones – may be an attractive option for companies looking to move their business forward?

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