Melbourne-based consultancy McRae IT has decided to bottle its 15 years of experience in managing large and complex business systems with a product developed to reduce the headache of keeping track of legacy applications.
The MakeSense product is designed to map large-scale legacy applications, such as financial systems, manufacturing processes or fund management programs, written in COBOL or Visual Basic, company officials said.
Once a snap shot has been made, the product can be used to estimate the impact a change to a system, like the introduction of the GST to a financial application, would have on an enterprise. McRae IT also claims the product can be used to train new IT management staff on complex systems that have undergone a lot of development over the years.
Little statistical information is known about how prevalent COBOL still is in the Australian market, but Natasha David, senior analyst of enterprise software for IDC Australia, claims it remains a favourite for mainframe and AS400 environments due to its stability.
However David admits that a lot of companies, especially in the banking and finance sectors, are torn between the stability of their existing systems and the drive to facilitate Web-enabled strategies by migrating applications to new operating systems.
This can be a costly nightmare, according to McRae IT, and one the company is counting on to generate interest in its new management product.
MakeSense enables the user to view a system through a Windows-style GUI, which the company hopes will allow people to navigate the application intuitively.
McRae IT is targeting systems of 250,000 lines of code and above, with pricing beginning at $1500 for a single snap shot of a system.
"When you consider that in one week you get what it would take an analyst three months to produce, and be viewable in a Windows environment, the attraction is obvious," said the product's architect and principle director of the company, John McRae.
McRae claims the company is beginning to develop modules for MakeSense that will enable it to map additional systems written in Java or C++.