Legacy Modernization: Don’t forge a Jackson Pollock

jp5Well here I am again and “here he goes”, I hear you say as you brace yourself for some off the wall tenuous link. Well this time it is even more fun: Jackson Pollock, creator of No. 5, the world’s most expensive piece of art is back alive and kicking creating wonderful deployment diagrams at an enterprise near you.

Don’t believe me? Quick have a little play with this great web app and see if you can create the chart that you already have in Visio; you may be surprised.  That’s right, just move the mouse around and off you go, you are an online abstract artist or an individual with a serious issue – an ever evolving and morphing enterprise that seems to simply grow.

Alright, let us get serious here for a second.

Over the past decade or even decades we have heard from all the brightest and smartest in the world that Legacy applications were dead, your mainframe was going to keel over and draw its last breath and there was nothing you could do about it but go buy the latest technology and sunset. How did that work out?  Oh yeah, what happened was we all went around adding more and more applications to our architecture without the real stability or payback to ever do the sunset.

Well done to the brightest and smartest, not only was their advice totally wrong and unfounded it came with a heavy price tag: an enterprise more convoluted and costly to run than before with so many places for change that time to market, the holy grail, became longer and more cumbersome.

I have ranted enough……for now.

So what can we do? Well the answer comes with integration, it comes with technology and innovation – I know I know, I said we tried the latest technology and it failed – but we are not talking about wholesale replacement, we are talking about the use of technology to remove the need to sunset – ah ha!!!

Sure there are applications that make sense to re-platform or re-write; if your app changes heavily and would be better served with the ability to extend and integrate readily then yes, let’s take that Cobol app and create the wiz-bang .Net app. However, there are many others where it makes more sense to simply integrate – why try to port a 20 year old admin system that runs perfectly fine? Why not take 5 or 6 of them and represent them on the web with one integrated, low maintenance front end? Can it be done? Of course it can, it was just we were blinkered by the “sunsetters” and I do not mean late afternoon autumn drinks on the porch, which would be a good thing right now.

So what about Mr. Pollock? Expensive art, expensive deployment model……let’s go with Single View – the minimalist approach…..plus it is a lot easier to explain to guests you have over.

Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery (http://www.npg.si.edu/)

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