Software developers are often tasked with adding to or upgrading an existing application. Sometimes it is easy to add or upgrade because the application was written recently enough to be in a modern language or framework, but when it is not, then software integration can be the best solution. Software system integration means combining individually tested software components into an integrated whole. Integration often requires a complete re-write of the application using a modern language when the systems in use are obsolete. Integration means that all of the critical software systems needed to run modern businesses function together. As much as management prefers to update old systems, thus avoiding integration, the problem with trying to update old systems is that older versions of applications use ‘legacy codes’ – versions of languages that are no longer engineered but are continually patched (Techopedia) which causes many problems. It is also likely that the application will break-down if the code language is simply updated to its latest version. How is the decision to update, versus integrate, made?
Analyze logic and data flow
Understanding code thoroughly allows developers to visualize the structure of the application as a whole. With a thorough understanding of the logic and data flow, it is possible that there are parts of the code that need no modification at all. This saves time and money. It also helps to identify components of the code that may pose a problem in the future. There are situations where simply adding to an existing legacy system is much faster and more cost efficient. However, we often find that there are too many problems with the old code to make an update feasible. It may be more expensive up front to rebuild the core functionality of the application through integration, but it will run efficiently and will be viable for years into the future.
Determine your approach
There are many types of integration techniques, and it is important to research different approach methods to determine what is best for the project. For example, an off-the-shelf packaged solution may be best if an application is needed quickly, but this forces the business to work within the constraints of the packaged software rather than the software following the workflow of the business. In the long run, the packaged software decision is often very costly to the business and does not allow for company growth. For example, if developers implement an integrated .NET-based solution, it’s easier to communicate large volumes of data between different computing languages. Though this task will be more time consuming, it works efficiently for applications that process thousands or even hundreds of thousands of requests every day and is better for the organization over time.
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Many people think it is less expensive to update their existing systems using off-the-shelf software, but this is often short sighted. While it is true that existing software can sometimes be interfaced (connected) to other commercial software, in general, off-the-shelf software does not communicate with other off-the-shelf software. This lack of communication means the systems running a business do not share data. Shared data is key since it allows the organization to reduce errors by removing multiple entries of the same data and allows for Business Intelligence, used for making decisions about the business as a whole, to be garnered automatically.
If you have a legacy software system and you are wondering what to do about it, Palm Beach Software Design offers free consultations, with no obligation. Tell us about it and we’ll give you an honest assessment about the best way to move forward. We interface (connect existing systems) to new custom modules and integrate from scratch as well.
About Palm Beach Software
Palm Beach Software Design is a company comprised of a small, tight-knit team of software and business professionals. Though we are a Florida-based company, we have served clients throughout North America for more than 30 years, developing custom software solutions. Using modern technology and software, we seize potential opportunities to grow businesses by automating operations, increasing sales and public impact, and modernizing for today’s business climate. Please contact us at 561-572-0233 and visit us on the web at www.palmbeachsoftware.com to learn more about how Palm Beach Software Design, Inc. can help your business get that competitive edge.