Untangling the web: modernizing complex legacy application systems

Modernizing complex legacy application systems

For the past six months, the trade press has been busy talking about a variety of government agencies’ data consolidation initiatives, the need to update the DoD’s MOCAS application and the issues around the launch of healthcare.gov.

However, amid the idle chatter of federal IT acquisition strategy, one thing remains clear: the modernization of mission-critical, so-called legacy systems is key to furthering the success of many federal agencies.  But after years of editing, modifying and staff turnover the portfolio of business applications has become a tangled web of 1’s and 0’s. While they meet economic, commercial, operational, and technical challenges of the agency, the longer these programs have been in use, the more complex these systems have become.

So the question becomes, how do I modernize a system that is rich in undocumented complexity?


Prior to making changes, the key to unlocking complexity lies in understanding the application environment. Agencies must understand and appreciate how the current applications operate to avoid the creation of a primary obstacle – that is, determining what to change and how to change it.

I have noticed that many agencies in the federal space are purchasing tools based not only on the usefulness of the product, but more importantly the longevity. This is perfectly understandable in a climate of cost-cutting and high-profile IT failures. So what can tick all those boxes?

Where to start: Enterprise Analyzer

Enterprise Analyzer represents the smart choice. Not only is it a great tool to use in an application development scenario, but also in application maintenance mode. Enterprise Analyzer is the foundation for your application modernization, mapping out your entire IT environment.

If you think about it, Enterprise Analyzer (EA) is like a blueprint for a house. It tells you where the walls should go, where the electricity wires and the plumbing should run. Of course, there are other blueprints at your disposal. But do you really want to build a house with misplaced wiring, slanted walls, or poorly-designed rooms due to vague plans? If you don’t I recommend an investment in EA for the modernization of your IT mission-critical applications and their ongoing maintenance.

It certainly acts as a blueprint in the application maintenance scenario, making it easy to find portions of code you may need to update due to regulation or other regular maintenance routines.

A variety of vendors within the market space offer tools that provide the capabilities to run reports and provide analysis at surface level only. By this I mean that their tooling is limited in depth and cannot demonstrate to the developer the potential impact across the application of a single change in code.

Developers working with Enterprise Analyzer begin by mapping the applications. This provides a solid foundation – but understanding does not stop at tabular and graphical visualizations. With this solution the developer can access application decomposition analysis, systems analysis that provides insight into applications and their subsystems inter-relationships, field change analysis and much more.

Using a mature tool such as Enterprise Analyzer enables developers to locate specific instances of code or undertake simple tasks, such as locating certain directories. It is these features that help to increase developer efficiency by 40%.

For the budget-conscious Federal agency, then, the question is not so much why use Enterprise Analyzer, as why not…?

Learn more

Enterprise Analyzer is all about discovery, and finding out more about the inner complexities of your application portfolio. The journey begins here – by learning more about Enterprise Analyzer itself. We have created a number of useful assets to assist you. This whitepaper, this demo and this product overview are all good starting points. Or find me on Twitter if you want to talk more.



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