A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post dealing with the specifics of application modernization on the IBM i platform. This inspired a conversation I had with a customer. Our conversation was not focused on any one computing platform but was more of a general industry conversation. At the heart of our conversation were two points: what is application modernization and why modernize your applications? This blog is a rehash of that conversation.
Starting with what is modernization, modernization is the process of improving the user interfaces, the code and database of your production applications. It’s creating a new user experience, including mobile, integrating new productivity applications, and using new development tools and methods. It includes thinking differently and leveraging new ideas into the development process.
In the area of development today, it could involve using a development framework that is component-based and allows you to include business rules in the components. This leverages reusability and standardization across the organization. A collaborative, agile development methodology might be a part of that process, working in groups and following an incremental development timeline. A framework-based development methodology results in increased maintainability of the code, reusability, extensibility (a big word for expandability of code) and more reliable testing.
Modernizing the database focuses on the need for greater performance and increased security and integrity. Simplifying the data access paths can create the needed performance increases. A hard look at the layout of your data can highlight referential integrity issues. For security considerations, access control or Row and Column Access Control (RCAC) adds an additional layer of data security. Access control allows you to establish rules for permission to rows and columns. With access control established, you can enable production database access to new users or testers without the fear of exposing sensitive data. You can also perform logic analysis and correction to critical vulnerable areas of your database and enforce control policies across users and database administrators.
An important consideration is the modernization of the reporting environment. Your data is a valuable business resource. Modernizing the reporting of your data can turn the data into insight. Taking advantage of the capabilities of the database can improve your reporting abilities. With standardized database functions and component-based business rules, you can get to that often elusive ‘one version of the truth’. Delivering the right data in the right form at the right time can result in greatly improved business results.
So what happens if you don’t modernize your application development methods or you don’t create a mindset of continued improvement? I was reminded of an American Red Cross CPR class I took a few years ago. At the end of the class the instructor said, “If you remember nothing else from this class, remember that if you get in a situation where you need to use CPR and you can’t remember what to do, doing something is always better than doing nothing.” When it comes to application modernization the only mistake you can make is to not do anything.
If you’d like additional information or would like to have a discussion regarding how Arbor Solutions can help you with a modernization initiative, give me a call.
President, Arbor Solutions, Inc.