Business needs and its requirements from an organization’s software keep evolving with time. The software it completely depends upon, slowly erodes. It starts to lag and doesn’t keep up. Organizations often need good software engineering service providers to prevent this erosion. Additional Microsystems are added to the main system over time making it slow. Band-aids and patchworks can carry you only so far. In order to realize the full potential of their software systems and to stay competitive, companies go in for software re-engineering. Majority of the companies keep a big chunk of their IT budget for improving efficiency and increasing productivity every year.
A research conducted by Tech Pro Research (TPR) in August 2015 shows the IT Budget Priorities for 2016 decided by organisations from over 20 industry sectors. It clearly shows that the organizations don’t shy in spending on IT systems when it comes to keeping their software in top shape. And when you want to make your IT systems and software future-ready, you invariably go for software re-engineering.
What Is Software Re-engineering?
Software re-engineering is the process of examining, analysing and then altering the existing software into a new form which meets the business goals of the organisation in a better way. It is the restructuring and re-documentation of an existing system without changing much of its functionality. The process of software re-engineering mainly includes sub-processes such as Inventory Analysis, Source Code Translation, Document Restructuring, Reverse Engineering, Program Modularization, Data Migration, Program Structure Improvement, Re-documentation, Retargeting, Code Restructuring, Data Restructuring and Forward Engineering.
In software re-engineering the challenge basically lies in taking the existing system, applying best development practices to it and developing a target system which has the same core functionality of the existing system but is more user-friendly, reliable and relevant.
Why Should You Go For Software Re-engineering?
There could be many reasons to go for software re-engineering. Overtime quality of data declines due to changes that are made to data which then starts producing errors. There always is a problem of duplication with aging software. With the help of software re-engineering, you could update, clean up and restructure your data for better usability. You can make your software secure. You can migrate it to a new platform to save it from being obsolete. If there have been changes in your business processes you can incorporate those changes in the new system. If your system needs better documentation or needs to be more secure in the wake of ongoing malware and ransomware attacks, Software re-engineering can provide you with the solution you want.
Many companies have several stand-alone systems which are often difficult to manage separately. Such systems can be integrated by software product re-engineering– so that they are all together, working cohesively on the same platform for ease. Some programs have inherent built -in constraints on the amount of data that can be processed. Those constraints need removal. Sometimes, the subsystems have issues and need frequent maintenance.
Some companies have legacy systems in which the company is invested heavily but with the passage of time the systems frequently start producing errors and become outdated. Such legacy systems cannot be discarded as that would endanger the workability of several other applications built on it overtime. Also, the cost of writing a whole new software system from grounds up can be huge. They need to be re-engineered in a planned way to ensure better data handling capability, maintainability and relevance.
Software re-engineering salvages old software. It uses the same functionality. It preserves critical data and business logic and prevents business disruption and revenue loss. It enhances the business value of new and restructured applications and ensures continuity. It makes the systems more reliable and maintainable. You can also add stronger encryption capabilities.
What Are Different Software Re-engineering Approaches?
There are three different approaches to Re-engineering. These approaches differ in their rate of replacing the existing system with the target system.
#1 Big Bang Approach
This approach is a “Lump sum” approach. Organizations adopting this approach replace their existing system with target system at one go. This approach is needed when you need to solve a problem immediately. This is an ideal approach where there are no mixed environments. This approach may not work for large systems. It is a high risk approach.
#2 Incremental Approach
Incremental Approach is also known as “Phasing Out” approach. The project is broken into different sections and then one after the other existing system is phased out by targeted system. Components are replaced overtime. It is easier to trace errors and find lost functionalities as the interim versions slowly become the target version.
This approach takes longer and it needs careful reconfiguration as the entire system is not overhauled at one go, only sections are re-engineered. It has lower risk factor when compared to the Big Bang approach.
#3 Evolutionary Approach
This approach is based completely on functionality. The existing system is analyzed and core functionalities are then neatly sorted and segregated in the new targeted system in a way that yields maximum ease to system users. The target system is built with functionally cohesive parts. The structure of the existing system is carefully studied and the new system is structured module-wise on the basis of keeping functions that work best together in one module. Anomalies that are present in the existing system are tracked and the re-engineering team ensures that they are not present in the targeted system. The evolutionary approach may take time but for enterprises which end up with big systems with messed up functionalities overtime, this is the best way to get their systems in shape for the present and for the future. It requires careful planning and execution. The existing system slowly evolves into a more useful and efficient targeted system.
It becomes important for businesses and organizations to save and maintain an existing system which is extensively used. Organizations depend on it and the processes would collapse if they are shut down without finding a reliable replacement. Replacing the old system with the new one could mean heavy development costs both in terms of time and revenue. Maintaining existing system with re-engineering is less risky. There are talented teams of skilled experts who can help you with software re-engineering. Software re-engineers sit with your team and carefully analyse your system. They prepare a brief on the re-engineering plan which they then share with you before they start the process. Software re-engineering is an important part of software system life cycle. It always pays to keep your software systems in top shape – for the present and for your future.