Legacy Applications - Managing / Web enabling
Several IT organizations have spent huge amounts of resources on their existing
legacy applications which have huge amount of knowledge stored within them and day
to day business processes are intricately woven around these systems. But with the
advent of internet and collapsing of boundaries, these legacy systems have become
huge bottle necks for companies looking to expand over the internet and take their
business processes to a higher level. These legacy systems are not necessarily main
frame systems but also various other applications that the company has been using
to run its business operations from enterprise wide packages to client server software.
Several companies look forward to leverage their legacy systems over the internet
because they can re-use the existing logic supporting their various business organizations.
Also web enabling a legacy system would be "fast to market" since the
new system is based on existing legacy elements. Shorter "time to market"
and 'reuse' of existing logic means lower costs to the company and also a system
developed based on an existing system will be much more stable and secure.
The Web-Enabling Process
The first step in web-enabling a legacy system is to scan for and identify individual
components. Scan and assess each the components, boundaries, dependencies, and functions.
This assessment is vital and it lays the foundation for the re-architecture
In order to re-architect and simplify existing processes it is very important have
a clear idea of the legacy systems architecture. The various levels of abstraction
and the interaction between layers are analyzed. The analysis is charted out using
call graphs, control flow graphs, structure chart etc.
Developing Wrapper Classes
Wrapper classes are classes which enable communication between the web components
and the existing legacy components. Not all existing legacy components need to be
leveraged on to the web. Only certain components are identified to be wrapped on
to the newly developed web components.
Transformation to Web GUI
This is the final stage of web enabling the legacy system wherein the legacy UI
are mapped or transformed into Web enabled GUI to be used in the web application.
Why Web enable legacy system services of BeyondKey?
Customer centricity is the most vital aspect of web enabling legacy system. The
web enabled system must be several levels ahead of the existing system in terms
of user friendliness, functionality, accessibility etc, for this customer centric
development is the most vital and BeyondKey does just that by lending an open ear
to customer's feedbacks, suggestions and ideas during the web enabling process.
Our process of legacy to web transformation process uses phased methodology to ensure
a smooth transformation and easy leverage of the legacy system on to the web
LEGACY APPLICATION SYSTEMS
A common decision that software owners are faced with is what to do with legacy
systems and databases once they become outdated.
Why invest in a legacy application?
Leaving a legacy application untended will only turn it into a liability. This is
because an application goes through a definite lifecycle, with an initial maintenance
phase where bugs are fixed and functionality added. After this phase, the owner
needs to invest in the application with both resources and time in order to enhance
its performance, value and capabilities. If left neglected at this stage, all of
the initial investment will be lost. The steps to maintain the productivity of a
legacy application could involve legacy integration, legacy application migration
or enterprise application integration.
The Four Rs
There are usually four common options before the owner of a legacy system, commonly
referred to as the four R's. They are Rewrite, Replace, Re-engineer and Re-use.
If the owner chooses to rewrite the software, the most important decision to be
made is what language to use. The choice you make, be it COBOL, Java, VB or C++
is especially important. The wrong choice will result in a lot of wasted time, effort
and money. Once you have zoned in on what language to use, you need to train your
staff to be conversant and adept with the new language. You could also hire new
people, but this will also have its own complications, as they would need to learn
the workings of your business and applications and you would need to spend time
on training. According to Capers Jones, 27% of rewrite projects are cancelled or
rescheduled, 20% are seriously behind schedule, 50% exceed budget and the majority
of projects that do manage to reach completion, have only less than half of the
planned features. Overall, rewriting does not seem like an encouraging option.
The second option is replacing your legacy application with a new package. This
again entails finding a package that fits in with the requirements of your business.
The chances of this happening are very low, therefore, you need to either customize
your package in order to fit the business, or actually make changes to your business
in order to exploit your package to the fullest. This can turn out to be a workable
strategy, provided the package supplier has made a good decision on the choice of
The third option is Re-engineering. This entails changing the entire business as
well as the software application in order to make way for your re-engineered software.
The flip side of this option is that there already are existing systems, procedures
and methods in place, with technicians trained to work with them. Re-optimizing
all these systems is both expensive and hugely time consuming.
The final option is reusing your existing legacy systems. This is by far the most
sensible, cost effective and time effective option, primarily because your staff
is already acclimatized to your system and will need minimal re-training. It is
still possible to web enable your legacy systems, graphical user interfaces and
mobile computing. The changes made will be incremental, which means much lower costs
and time involved in re-training your workforce. The smaller the steps, the easier
they are to retrace and start over in the case of a mistake, which means that the
risks are also minimized.
So your legacy system will still serve critical business needs, while making use
of newer, more efficient technology and programming skills.
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