Enterprise Application Modernization

There comes a time that even your most mission-critical systems must be modernized. The goal is to reduce maintenance and redeploy resources to achieve greater value from your IT investments going forward.

We help clients move on from to modern approaches.

We at Keyhole Software help companies move forward in technology, while also providing educational and hands-on support to ensure project success.


2017 Writeup Of Transforming A COBOL Application To Java Code.

Modernization Opportunities

Even companies that updated tech stacks as recently as a decade ago run into some of these key problems:

  • Deployment woes: Everything has to be deployed as one unit and is a painful process and/or is tightly coupled to all of its infrastructure.
  • Scalability woes: The vertical limits of scalability are being hit – meaning the machines cannot get bigger fast enough to handle increases in capacity.
  • Performance woes: The volume of messages/transactions through the system is increasing latency and in some cases causing cascading failures.
  • Resource woes: The engineers and computer scientists who worked on this system originally are no longer around or are retiring, and the programming language is not being taught in schools anymore.
  • Cost Savings: Free, lower-cost, or open source alternatives are available that would meet the needs in the same way.
Traditionally, many have preferred a Java EE style environment with one big platform including a centralized middleware platform (such as IBM WebSphere). However, the concept of microservices and lightweight, server-side frameworks has gained traction in the industry.

Your applications can be upgraded, migrated, or rewritten to use more modern platforms that unlock new capabilities like microservices or cloud computing. Successful migrations allow organizations to reap cost savings, become more agile, reduce risk, and innovate, while aligning to current and future business needs. And, often, leaving proprietary software suites behind can diminish sunken costs of licensing, traditional servers, and technical debt.

Since the early 2000s, web-based, object-oriented application development has been largely successful, but at the cost of agility. Applications have been produced that are large and hard to maintain or enhance.

Breaking these monoliths up into smaller, more nimble, and isolated features can improve scalability, reusability, and lifespan, or at least give the ability to adapt to change.

Mainframes are still prevalent in some larger enterprises, and as such, older code bases like COBOL still exist as well. The reasons to modernized from older code bases and mainframes are usually one of the following:

  • Mainframes can be a large expense for enterprises of any size with the only option for growth being vertical scaling – which is sometimes punitively expensive.
  • Disaster recovery and high-availability strategies common in most modern architectures can be cost-prohibitive with mainframes.
  • Newer programming patterns cannot be easily leveraged in procedural language constructs (OOP, Functional programming, Reactive programming, etc.) – thus limiting options.
  • A change in the SDLC – i.e. moving from waterfall to Agile process to stay competitive.
  • Mainframe programmers are becoming scarce and those language sets are not being covered in modern curriculums in any depth. It is harder to recruit new developers, especially when rapid change and ever-widening technology choices are becoming the norm. Fewer staff are willing to work on what is considered, by some, deprecated technology.

Legacy mainframe applications (both online and batch) can be moved to modern, distributed online and batch environments. This can be done using modern cloud-based application platforms, from Windows, to Unix/Linux, to the cloud.

We have helped organization accomplish this in numerous ways from performing green-field rewrites to employing code transformation and generation mechanisms.

Plugin Prohibition for the browser is here. Various browsers are in the process of phasing out the support and availability of plugins. Web applications currently implemented with Flash, Flex, plugins, and other outdated plugin technologies will cease to perform once this transformation is complete. Businesses need to act now to modernize.

Many enterprise companies have outdated applications currently in use that are implemented with outdated technology: plugins, Adobe Flex, Flash, Applets, Silverlight, and others.

Create responsive modern application user interfaces for all devices by choosing to leverage modern HTML5/CSS technologies and design principles.

Keyhole Software approaches these opportunities by identifying modern architectures, leading technologies, and open source solutions that best fit your organization’s needs.

Typical Modernization Approach

Though every project is a custom engagement, we have a generalized path for taking our clients through successful modernization. We help companies at every step, whether you are just now looking into modernization options, or are in the middle of your modernization efforts and need sharp implementers.

Analysis & Assessment

We analyze current application architecture, tooling, and environments to assess state. This can include interviews with members of your technical team to highlight any architectural constraints, overall understanding of current practices, blockers, etc.

Keyhole will produce a document with identified findings, including a summary of suggestive approaches that can deliver the most value to the organization with the best path for modernization.

Strategic Modernization Planning

Using the Assessment document, Keyhole Software works with your team to help estimate and establish an incremental modernization plan to fit within established budgets.

A number of paths can be chosen, depending upon the goals and budget. Whether the best path is a rewrite to modern technologies (like SPA, Java or .NET), code transformation, migration from proprietary solutions (like WebSphere) to open source or cloud, or other approach, our consultants work with your team directly to plan successfully.

Educational Component

When a change is made, current development personnel must be educated to be successful within the new constraints. Keyhole Software establishes access to a Knowledge Transfer Portal GrokOla for your team.

This portal includes instructor-led and self-guided education content. This how-to knowledge base for your team assists in getting personnel up-to-speed on the new approach.

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We teach every technology we work in.

Keyhole Software also provides educational services: lab/lecture courses, informal hands-on exercises, and one-on-one mentoring. Courseware uses our hands-on experience to help your team avoid pitfalls in adoption.

Architecture Elaboration and Strategic Plan Implementation

Keyhole Principal Consultants follow the modernization plan. Keyhole helps put in place system DevOps and SDLC mechanisms for building, testing, and deployment, in addition to architectural frameworks and tools.

Additional services are provided as needed. Our goal is to leave your team in control of your modern application with the education and experience to be successful – whatever it takes to do so.

Let’s Talk About Your Modernization Needs

Why Partner With Keyhole?

Our experts are uniquely positioned to help our clients modernize to forward-thinking approaches.

Over many years, our expert consultants have established our company as thoughtleaders in software development. Our teams have assisted companies is nearly every business industry with modernization initiatives. Capabilities span architectural assessment, roadmap guidance, software development, and education.