Software Assessment, the First Step to Modernization

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Have you thought about any of these questions regarding your software?

  • Is our platform well built?
  • Is our software stable?
  • Will our solution continue working as it is?

If you are asking these or similar questions relating to your software, your software is probably ready for modernization. Software modernization or application modernization is the redevelopment of an existing software application into a modern architecture so the business can continue to use and get value from the app. The transformation extends the value of existing software applications and data while allowing data reuse and improving user experience.

Software modernization is not only for legacy applications. It also applies to existing software applications that need to be deployed to the cloud or applications that are not performing well or keeping up with new user functionality demands.

The first step for any modernization project is to perform a software assessment on the app that will be updated. The goal of the assessment is to understand the areas of the application that can be reused and those that need replacement. A software assessment should at least examine four key areas: technology, source code, data, and security.

Technology

We need to determine the technology stack used for the solution and assess if it is still appropriate. For example, what is the development language used to code the solution? Is the development language still current? Is it using an old version that is no longer supported? The technology assessment must also examine any external technology modules that are used in the application.

The goal of the this part of the assessment is to build a register with all the different technologies used in the app. Then each of the identified technologies must be researched to provide recommendations on how to modernize them.

Source Code

We have to verify the source code to determine if it follows proven industry coding standards, best practices, and software design patterns, including following an N-tier approach to the development of the solution.

By examining the source code we’ll be able to determine what part of the code can be reused and what part needs to be refactored.

Data

Most application modernization projects reuse the existing data layer, but that just highlights the necessity of performing a complete assessment on the data layer of the application. We need to understand the data design and assess if it’s robust enough to withstand any new requirements and performance demands of the modernized software application.

This analysis will help us map and understand the application’s data layer. With the information we gather will determine what data areas of the application may be used without changes and which areas need to be modernized.

Security

There are at least two major security areas that need to be examined before modernizing an app: security of the stored data and user access control. Does the app store any sensitive data? Is sensitive data segregated or encrypted? Similarly, we need to examine how user access control security is implemented and if it’s secure for today’s business standards.

With this information will be able to identify and plan the areas of improvement for the overall security of the solution.

A software assessment that includes the four key areas discussed is the initial step of any software application’s modernization process. It will provide the necessary information to proceed with the software modernization planning and design process. Without an adequate software assessment you will not have the necessary information to architect correctly the modernization of your existing software application.

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