Modernize Systems of Differentiation to Innovate

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 09:52
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Fast Innovation is a Must

Today’s IT needs to allow a fast rate of change for the business units relying on it.  Opening up the organization’s data for use in internal and out-facing interfaces has never been more important. Where once B2B was the goal, today the expectation is of support for an ever-expanding reach for the organization’s IT assets, in offering new services to new audiences, over more and more platforms.  Competition is forcing a very fast rate of change in these services, of which some will fail and some will succeed in engaging new and existing customers and users.

Systems of Record are Here to Stay

On the other end, many financial institutions, government agencies and consumer goods manufacturers still must rely on the systems of record that have been their IT backbone for decades.  They continue to rely on these monolithic systems because of regulation, because of reliability and because shutting down mainframe or even mini-computer based systems continues to be costly, and more importantly – very risky.  As a result, there are still thousands of centrally run, COBOL, PL/1 and RPG based applications smoothly taking care of financial transactions, government records and processes, industrial and engineering systems.  Many of them are not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Your Differentiation Systems Can Move Faster

In a partial response to this challenge, and as a result of the rise of RAD tools such as PowerBuilder, VB6, Delphi and then a little later .NET and Java desktop frameworks, organizations started to put their differentiating assets in desktop based client/server systems.  Insurance companies built sales and processing client/server systems in PowerBuilder where regulatory changes were easier to implement, banks replaced the green teller screens with VB6 thick clients to which they could add products and services making use of the basic objects in the systems of record, and government rolled out procurement systems to office desktops.

These systems are now holding back on the race to innovate.  They are difficult to open up to the web, almost impossible to expose on mobile, and both because of their architecture and because of developer shortages, they are difficult to add capabilities and services to them.

But their platforms and architectures make it possible to employ new technology and services to modernize and re-architect these core business systems to modern, open, well architected solutions on the web and the cloud, as we have discussed in a previous post <link to previous post>.  Unlike the mainframe based systems of record, these systems of differentiation can be redeemed and given a new life and new value.

Breakthrough: Advances in Client/Server Code Understanding

The unique technology for which Gizmox Transposition has been awarded its patent in 2016 is continuing to evolve.  The basic principal remains that of an intermediate representation of the source application in a graph like structure, from which the new application is re-architected, faithfully preserving business functionality and capabilities in a best-practices based native web application.  VB6, PowerBuilder, .NET and soon Delphi desktop applications can be modernized to the web and cloud.

Until recently, the stateful nature of a system designed for the desktop guided us towards a server based web/cloud modernization solution, namely the ASP.NET MVC framework.  But recent advances now allow us to dynamically split the original functionality between a client based on Angular and a server component based either on .NET or Java.  We will expand on this in a future post.

Lights On: The Innovation Based IT Ecosystem

Modernizing an organization’s systems of differentiation makes it much easier to expose data and services internally and externally through iPaaS platforms.  Other business units are exposed to what used to be departmental islands of IT assets.  Innovation cycles can be iterated through rapidly without needing to modify the core business processes.  VB6, PowerBuilder, .NET desktop and soon Delphi will no longer hold IT back, but the systems based on them will live on!

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