IBM i Application Migration
As an IBM i shop, you have a supremely vested interest in persisting your legacy IBM i RPG applications into the future. This RPG application is the key enabler for your business. It governs workflows, it resolves your business's very specific challenges, and it empowers your business to deliver its unique business value to your customers.
The demise of the IBM i has been predicted for years by many a pundit. Despite predictions to the contrary, IBM i hardware has remained invincible. However the tipping point for migrating applications off the IBM i isn't about the hardware, it's about the software, or more precisely, the RPG programming teams that wrote, understand, maintain, and enhance IBM i RPG software. These RPG teams are rapidly approaching retirement age. Given this pool of rapidly diminishing RPG talent, many IBM i shops today need to think about how they will persist their business-backbone RPG applications into the future without available RPG talent.
Persisting your applications into the future is key to persisting your business into the future. ASNA has the tools and talent to help you do that.
Rewrite or replace?
Rather than persist your applications, why not just replace them by either rewriting them or replacing them with canned packages.
Should you rewrite your RPG applications? Your RPG applications have tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of lines of code and, with few exceptions, the documentation is non-existent. Rewriting applications this large takes years. It can be done, but it takes tens of thousands of programming hours and is very expensive. Not only is it a giant challenge to rewrite applications, but it's just as big a task to test these new applications thoroughly. And, if the new app requires an DB modifications, this generally can't be done incrementally. It's all or nothing! Go very carefully into commiting to a ground-up rewrite.
Should you replace your RPG applications with canned packages? Your RPG applications have evolved with decades of work to fulfill the demands of very specific business needs. While you can probably replace a few of the commodity-like aspects of your application, most of those RPG applications are doing very custom processes that no canned package could ever do.
Rewrite or replace, if you seriously consider one of these options be brutally realistic with your budgets and timelines. There are many horror stories of the failures of custom enterprise software or the implosion of trying to implement canned package replacements. Chart your course carefully if you head into either of these two perfect storms.
Migration: A better alternative
Most IBM i enterprise applications are written in RPG. The existing talent pool for RPG is rapidly fading and today's computer science graduates haven't heard of, let alone, seen RPG. To these young programmers, RPG means nothing but "role-playing games." You need to be able to put your legacy application in the hands of younger programmers in a language they know and use.
Your RPG application isn't documented. Its workflows, its foibles, its behaviors are locked away in your aging RPG programming team's heads. The only rational artifact that exists for your RPG application is its RPG source code.
Your RPG applications need modern improvements and enhancements. Although your application is very good at doing the unique data processing your business needs, it is aging rapidly and it's a challenge to integrate it with modern ways of doing business. You need to be able to persist what's there but also extend and enhance it to better connect securely and reliably with business partners and customers.
You need to invert control. Most IBM i shops today are at a loss as to the best way to persist their RPG applications. This desperation and frustration is driven by false flags from RPG programming teams reluctant to embrace change, misguided advice and incorrect assumptions, and a lack of understanding what is rationally possible. Don't let your RPG dependence drive you into despair and hopelessness, take charge of the situation and learn how to resolve it.
ASNA has the tools and talent to help you
The road map, the asset that provides your path out of RPG dependence, is your RPG source code itself. ASNA's migration team uses that old RPG code to create a modern, Web-based C# version of your application. Our tools work with either hand-written RPG or Synon-generated RPG. Once migrated to C#, the application has all of the capabilities of your original application, but now it is in young programmers' hands and in an environment where it can have modern improvements added very effectively.
Your RPG application can provide a great foundation for your business's future. Don't be intimidated by it, contact us today to learn how we can help you lay the groundwork for persisting your business well into the future.