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Minimizing the Pain of Application Modernization with Agile Business Rules Extraction

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Modernizing legacy applications is a challenging process for IT teams at large enterprises and government agencies. CIOs and their direct reports must set strategy, work to understand their application portfolios and develop a prioritized approach for evolving these vital business assets. In addition, many organizations lack the internal resources and talent to get these large-scale projects done since personnel familiar with these applications and their programming languages have retired or moved jobs.

So, what makes application modernization so difficult? First, IT teams have developed applications in a variety of programming languages and environments over the past few decades, meaning that there is no single approach to updating them. In fact, Gartner identifies seven different options for modernizing legacy applications. Then, there is the reality that business processes may cross multiple applications, creating dependencies that IT teams must consider. Finally, freezing code during application modernization efforts puts organizations in limbo. They must keep business policies static during the length of the application modernization project, which can span one to two years. Or, if they need to update policies, IT teams must unfreeze code, implement policies, and lose visibility into completed work. It’s no wonder that this process is fraught with complexity and cost. As a result, organizations may delay modernization projects or focus on smaller applications that don’t have a significant number of dependencies. Leaders don’t achieve the ROI they wanted, and business capabilities may lag the market.

But what if there was a better way? What if organizations could dynamically update business policies during the entire application modernization process without freezing code? And what if by automating multiple processes, teams could gain significant efficiencies, speeding up work? And further, what if clear documentation, automation, and the ability to take a phased approach to modernization significantly decreased risks? Together, these gains could reduce the pain and strain of legacy application modernization so much that IT teams and their partners would be able to tackle larger, more interdependent systems, continuously adding value without fear of destabilizing business operations.

EvolveWare is proud to announce that this day has arrived, with the release of the industry’s first Agile Business Rules Extraction (Agile BRE) solution on our Intellisys platform. Here’s how Agile BRE meets the needs of IT teams seeking to accelerate application modernization programs while reducing their cost, risk, and effort:

Benefit from seamless policy updates: Agile BRE builds on the Intellisys platform, which automates documentation and analysis, business rules extraction, and code optimization and migration, simplifying C-level and team decision-making about which legacy applications to modernize as well as the execution of these projects.

With the release of Agile BRE, enterprise and government agency IT teams can now update business policies on applications they’re currently modernizing, without needing to freeze code. That means that IT teams can make changes at any point, without disrupting business operations or losing visibility into past code changes. This approach aligns with Gartner’s recommendation in its recent report, Use Continuous Modernization to Optimize Legacy Applications, to “implement continuous modernization by identifying, prioritizing and removing the most severe friction points – business capabilities with poor application support.”

Agile BRE transfers code changes from the legacy application into an existing repository and then generates reports that outline which changes were made. Rules that are unaffected by new policies stay as-is. Agile BRE further reduces risk by enabling IT teams to undo the optimization efforts or consolidation of logic into rules.

Reduce time and effort: Traditionally, modernizing applications has required un-agile-like processes, such as manually gathering documentation, extracting dependencies across solutions, and the like. Now, IT teams can use Agile BRE to save considerable time and effort by automating key processes. Agile BRE provides support for applications written in over 20 programming languages, both legacy and modern, making this tool usable for a wide array of business applications. The solution automatically extracts foundational knowledge from code using machine learning techniques and provides tools to consolidate this extracted logic into business rules and catalog them. In addition, Agile BRE automates the transfer of extracted rules to third-party platforms such as DROOLs.

IT teams can use Agile BRE to save at least 60 percent of their time and effort by automating key processes.

Take a phased approach: Previously, organizations attempted to replace or rebuild applications with a big-bang approach, partially because they believed doing it in one push would reduce disruption. This approach often led to business pushback on modernization plans.

With Intellisys and Agile BRE, teams can take a phased approach to modernizing an application. Since code doesn’t need to be frozen, IT teams don’t have to put critical dependent applications on hold, as they have before. As a result, IT teams can now take a true Agile/DevOps approach to modernizing applications, while providing rapid and ongoing business value.

Enable simultaneous projects: IT teams have often modernized applications one or a few at a time, due to business risks. These risks include creating data silos, destabilizing applications, and going over-schedule and over-budget.

With Agile BRE, teams can extract business rules on multiple applications at one time, generating a single or multiple repositories of their documentation, including diagrams, reports, logic, database details, and critical dependencies.

With better, faster insights, CIOs and IT teams can more accurately understand dependencies, prioritize efforts, and transform applications. Since business policies can be dynamically updated at any time without freezing code, there’s no reason to stagger or delay projects. As a result, IT teams can modernize across multiple applications at a time – or even an entire portfolio.

Focus stakeholder discussions: Agile BRE also simplifies the process of gaining consensus for application modernization efforts, by presenting logic in multiple formats, including pseudo-code, flowcharts, decision tables, and business analyst language. IT teams can present clear evidence of what needs to be modernized, how efforts will impact other applications, and what the path to creating value looks like.

Let’s Revolutionize Application Modernization Together

For too long, modernizing applications have been overly complex and challenging work. Organizations have needed to manually generate documentation on millions of lines of code and carefully plan complex initiatives while lacking full visibility into their scope. In addition, they have had to ensure developer support for legacy languages, when this talent pool is fast retiring. Finally, they have needed to weigh the inconvenience and costs of putting policy changes on hold with the benefits of modernizing applications across their portfolio.

Now, with Agile BRE, IT teams can automate the creation of documentation, improve planning with better information, and move applications onto a modern platform or transform them into modern languages without worrying about code freezes. As a result, IT teams will be able to significantly speed up work, transforming entire portfolios and achieving business gains more rapidly. In addition, by accelerating their path to a modern platform and/or languages, IT teams can ensure better skill coverage for these business-critical resources at their organizations.

So, if you’ve ever thought there was a better way to modernize legacy applications, you’re right. You can use Agile BRE to modernize your applications, beginning today.

Contact EvolveWare to get started.

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