Application Modernization? The Real Scary Story from the Debt Ceiling Battle
Brett Stineman 270002944C firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  application-modernization legacy-applications business-rules
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During the recent budget impasse over raising the government's debt ceiling, the press and the world were focused on what would happen if the United States defaulted on its financial obligations. However, there was another story which didn't get much attention, but was much scarier when put in the context of a developed, technologically advanced nation. On National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" news show, a story on July 29 looked at whether or not the US government would be capable of actually choosing which payments to authorize. According to several former employees of the US Treasury Department, the government's systems were not designed to provide the flexibility of prioritizing specific payments. As one former official, Jay Powell, said in the interview, "And you gotta consider that this is legacy government software, this isn't the latest product from Apple".
Okay, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. After all, a lot of core systems in both the public and private sector were built many years ago and continue to faithfully do the jobs they were designed for. But is it really too much to expect that these systems should be able to be configured to handle unexpected situations? Of course, you say, but how much effort and cost is required to fix what essentially works?
When considering how to modernize legacy applications, many people believe it requires major re-engineering or even wholesale replacement of the existing applications. But there are ways of progressively modernizing these applications that can allow them to continue to do their work while giving them more flexibility and easier maintainability. Externalizing business rules allows decision logic to be maintained outside of the application. his improves the visibility and understanding of critical functionality, reduces the effort required to maintain it over time, and provides sophisticated runtime capabilities for more precision than with traditional coding practices. As you might imagine, IBM has some experience with application modernization. If you want to learn more, check out this recorded webinar from two IBM experts on the topic.