Creating documentation has always been seen as a chore for developers. The traditionally manual aspect of it has generally been seen as boring and tedious, and it tends to get overlooked when weighed against other more immediate priorities. Because of this, it is estimated that 70% of organizations do not have referenceable documentation of their portfolio.
However, not having this documentation can result in major company crises as personnel retire and organizations attempt to update their applications in various ways. For example, the TSB failure in the UK where 2 million customers were locked out of their accounts after banking technology was moved to a new platform was partially attributed to not fully understanding the scope and complexity of how the new system should work. To understand this requires you to understand the source system at a granular level, and from experience, carrying out legacy modernization projects with poor documentation increases the chance of failure by 70%.
Poor documentation reduces process efficiency as well as slows down the adoption of new methodologies and technologies, ultimately leading to increased costs and missed business opportunities. But legacy application life-cycles can be 20 to 30 years or longer, and during this time, too many changes and fixes occur to keep the original documentation updated accurately in a manual way. The unfortunate reality is the longer an application has been in existence, the further from the truth the documentation really is – if it even exists. Therefore, when an organization tries to do a legacy modernization project, they are unfortunately starting from a position of weakness and failure is the most likely outcome.
How can you prioritize creating and updating documentation while minimizing time sinks on their development team?
The answer is automation. Using intelligent reverse-engineering techniques, there are a variety of companies out there today that are able to produce automated documentation artifacts for applications. However, many of these companies only provide a limited view of the application or can only provide artifacts for a small number of programming languages.
The Intellisys platform automates the generation of a series of reports, diagrams, and logic representations for applications written in over 20 languages. In addition, these artifacts are generated in formats and a neutral language that can be understood by multiple types of personnel. This is crucial for modernization projects where business and technical users are required to collaborate on understanding whether the logic inside an application is still relevant for the current environment or not. And finally, Intellisys focuses on providing repeatable processes meaning that the documentation can be quickly and easily updated as you continue to update your applications.
Success with modernization efforts hinges on having a foundational understanding of what you’re starting with to inform where you need to take the applications. Comprehensive documentation is instrumental in gaining that understanding, and the Intellisys platform provides you with that as well as the tools needed to modernize your applications themselves.