Fixing the hot rod of application transformation

Main visual : Fixing the hot rod of application transformation

The request sounds simple.

Company X has an application that’s been running on premises for ages. It’s part of the crucial business functionality. Without this application up and running, the business stops.

This application drives the production line. If it stops, production stops and a lot of people will be sitting on their hands. Every hour of downtime will cost Company X at least 10k of revenue, not to mention other financial consequences, such as damage to the reputation and loss of goodwill.

The problem is that the application is old. The maker of the original software has long gone out of business. It’s been taken over by a bigger company that has standardized all software they sell, but hasn’t touch this particular piece of software, since it was only sold to a small number of companies in a niche market.

Refactoring this software would have costed a huge investment, so instead they informed the customers – among them Company X – that they’d support it for a limited number of years, but stop in 2020.

By then Company X should have replaced this software. However, Company X didn’t have a clue how to replace this crucial part of their production line.

It gets worse.

The software runs on a platform with operating systems that are now end-of-life. But there’s an escape. If we lift it to a cloud platform, it can still be supported. However, this can result in two problems.

  • Firstly, how do we get this application to run in a cloud?
  • Secondly, it was sitting next to the production line for a good reason for latency. How are we going to deal with that?

Now Company X is stuck. The solution is to ask a service provider to fix it for them.

It’s called application transformation and it’s absolutely part of ‘my portfolio’. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand. It’s the kind of request that takes time to figure out what the application does with what interfaces, how integrations are done, how the code is scripted, and what the architecture looks like. Once we have this information, we can start thinking about how we’re going to fit all the pieces back together in a more modern, supported way. This can be in a cloud environment or in an on-premises environment.

At Fujitsu, we have specialists in the field, mostly working from our software factory in Seville, Spain.

Maybe you’ve seen the Discovery channel series where they buy old cars, fix them and add a modern touch. (Although my heart breaks to see a ’57 Thunderbird changed into some modern hot rod with airbrushed flames on the door panels). These guys strip the car completely, checking every part in the engine. If they can reuse it, they keep the original parts. If not, they replace it, even making some parts themselves. It all needs to fit perfectly before they can send it off safely to the road again.

It’s the perfect metaphor for application transformation. No magic wand. Just plain hard work.