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Legacy modernization comments

Here is what i found in a Legacy modernization site claiming that Powerbuilder needs to be replaced with some new age tools in the market. What do you guys think of this blabbering??

A Stress Free Call Center Upgrade

If you manage a call or contact center, you life is anything but stress free.

Call centers are competitive weapons for businesses of all types, so they’re under constant pressure to be fast, efficient and effective. They’re also under pressure to upgrade to new technologies, such as online chat and video streaming, as these become available. And every day, customers are using more credit cards and payment channels.

It’s no surprise you’ve got a bottle of Tums in your desk.

But if you manage a call center based on a legacy application platform like PowerBuilder, you need Tums in your desk, car, jacket pocket and next to your bed.

Your legacy development platform is old and your applications are fragile. Adding new functions or more agent-seats can be difficult and risky. Even finding the right developers can be a challenge. What developer wants to freshen up on PowerBuilder skills?

The good news is you’ve got options. The bad news is you’ve got only got a few. SaaS-based apps are a possibility if your needs are relatively simple. But in a competitive environment like, say, hotel reservations, the call center is essential for competitive advantage. You don’t want to build it around a SaaS vendor’s concept of what it should be.

Another option is a full rewrite, from PowerBuilder to a web-friendly platform like Java. Java opens the door to a ton of Open Source call center applications that are more-or-less future-proof, but first you’ll need to go through the horrors of ground-up development: budget overruns, missed deadlines, scope creep, incorrect requirements and so on. Also, you’ll have to burn significant time and money to train your agents, since most of what they do requires fast handling of function keys and complex commands. You’ll have to start over, train them, and then wait until they can get back up to their previous speed. You could be looking at a month or more before they’re back to top productivity.

The other option is using a transformation process to turn your legacy applications into Java applications. We’re a transformation company so you can understand why we’d favor this approach. But there are advantages to transformation, whether you use us or a different solution. Here are a few:

Complex function-key commands will stay the same, even though the applications will be completely “new,”
You’ll be able to leverage your intellectual property through automated tools that analyze your old business rules so they’ll carry through to the new applications,
Changeover to the new applications can be gradual, since you’ll be able to run the old and new platforms side-by-side until all agents are productive, and
Whatever retraining they need will be communicated within a one-page memo.
The bigger your company and more gnarly your legacy apps and interactions, the more likely transformation can help. Whichever solution you choose, realize that time is fast running out on platforms like PowerBuilder and Visual Basic. If you haven’t already begun, the time to start your changeover is, as they say, yesterday.

Also, my thoughts on providing a fitting reply to this legacy marketing hype:

There are winds of change in the Client/Server computing space..
1. In-memory computing – This can drastically change the underlying performance of your existing Powerbuilder data-driven applications to perform better and faster. This means, you only need to re-factor your existing applications to take advantage of the revolutionary changes in Database computing. Not try to change your front end or middle ware.
2. GUI RAD development – Let’s face it, even after 10 years, neither Java nor .NET technologies can match the speed and ease of 4GL enterprise grade development. The best way forward will be to use Powerbuilder or any GUI 4GL tool to spit web based Javascript for the GUI and take advantage of the powerful 4GL abstraction that makes life easy for software development.
3. Enterprise grade web development – We are talking about serious Enterprise applications and not some fancy shopping cart applications. Web development with Java and .NET can help build these fancy web apps but fail miserably when it comes to ERP and other enterprise grade applications. Best way forward will be to use Client/Server development tools like PB that can spit Javascipt, HTML, CSS for the GUI and take care of both 2-tier and 3-tier development.

Couple of things have changed since they have built their PB to Java/.Net transformation product.
1. In memory computing has become mainstream.
2. Web development tools still suck at developing Enterprise grade GUI apps. Cannot match the speed and ease of either PB or VB based 4GL. Have not seen a single Web application so far that has the richness or functionality packed in a client/server GUI. Web developers are still working around presenting the so called ‘Legacy’ GUI. Which tool is Legacy? Client/Server GUI which packs a punch or the stripped down Web GUI? You get it right?

Would invite your thoughts on this.

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