Leveraging Legacy Applications to improve ROI and your bottom line
While legacy applications often suffer from a perception of inflexible or archaic design, the truth of the matter is that these applications are some of the most proven, resilient, ingenious, streamlined and thin-client applications that continue to drive business into the 21st century and beyond. However, as formidable as these Legacy Applications have become, today’s end-users expect web-based and mobile ‘app’ ease-of-use. Unbeknownst to most users however is that often a Legacy Enterprise Application is the foundation of the very mobile ‘apps’ relied upon today. Indeed, the ability to leverage a robust Legacy Application to web-based end-users should be considered a valuable asset rather than a liability.
Perhaps one of the best examples of a proven Legacy Application is Sabre Holdings’ ‘Sabre’ reservations system used by more than 350,000 travel agents, 400 airlines, 100,000 hotels, 25 car rental brands, 50 rail provider and 14 cruise lines whose first experimental system went online in 1960, based on two IBM 7090 mainframes. Interestingly, in 1960, a typical 7090 mainframe installation sold for $2,900,000 or could be rented optionally for $63,500 per month. Despite the staggering hardware by today’s standards, the software was a complete success and is still widely in use today, albeit with the benefit of decades of enhancements and migration to modern cost effective platforms. As a direct result, everyone benefits from this Sabre foundation whenever we make reservations either online or in person. Something to think about the next time you whip out your mobile phone to make a reservation on www.travelocity.com
Here at Dynamic Concepts, we have invested over 34 years developing ingenious solutions for our valued software developers. Whether through enhanced Development languages such as ‘dl4 & UniBasic’, or through our middleware ‘dynamicXport’ and ODBC connectivity, these valuable Legacy Applications have benefited from both hardware and software portability, as well as interoperability with today’s state-of-the-art OS, iOS, Applications and Databases. By rejuvenating and extending the capabilities of your existing applications, there is immediate ROI by eliminating costly rewrites or even the more daunting task of an ERM replacement, all while enjoying manageable end-user migration and orientation. Many of Dynamic Concepts’ Developers have already realized these benefits and have successfully deployed them over a wide-range of Vertical Applications.
Sentry Management, headquartered in Longwood Florida, is a community management company. They have been using a customized Unibasic based application as their foundation for the past 37 years. During that time Sentry has grown from managing 10 communities to over 1600.
Dynamic Concepts consulting services has been assisting Sentry’s IT staff to enhance their comprehensive Unibasic application to utilize the latest industry standard technologies to improve their processes and user experience. This allows them to leverage their investment in their legacy application and unique data structures, which give them a competitive edge and differentiates them from other community management companies using HOA software packages. Sentry can offer their customer unique capabilities that other HOA companies cannot. In other words, their “Secret Ingredient”.
Initially, DynamicXport and DynamicPaper were implemented to provide homeowner association board members real-time web access to their financials through a secure web site. PDF copies of documents are also available for download. Prior to this, financial reports were only available monthly when they were printed and mailed.
Phase 2 of development had all internal branch users migrate from a character based terminal emulator access to using the browser to accomplish all their tasks, utilizing DynamicXport as the middleware and maintaining the existing Unibasic file structures.
Phase 3 of development was the creation of an iphone/ipad app to upload images of homeowner violations to DynamicXport, which passes the images on to the Unibasic application. PDF versions of all violation letters, along with related images are securely stored on the internal server, yet available for download on the browser at any time.
Phase 4 of development is replacing a third party Association Web Site package with DynamicXport based Association Web Sites. Thus, DynamicXport is serving over 1600 customized Association Web Sites and is tightly integrated with internal applications and data.
Sentry has considered migrating to one of the standard HOA software packages that are on the market. But when all factors are considered, the substantial purchase price, the cost of migration and training, the certain disruption of business that would occur, the higher ongoing maintenance expense, and the loss of the competitive advantages that a proprietary, customizable application affords them…they found it best to continue building on the foundation that has served them well and continue to invest in enhancing their existing platform.
A great deal of consideration was given to changing our software package years ago to keep up with the demands of our unique service industry and Dynamic Concepts has given Sentry Management the best solution. We have been able to retain the flexibility and detailed integration of our proprietary Unix/Unibasic based software, while providing employees and clients the screen appearance and navigation with which they are more accustomed. We had reviewed several industry software packages on the market and were very concerned about the software transition down time. Additionally, none of those packages had all of the features we had built into our own software and we were constantly evaluating what we could do without and what operational changes would be needed. With the solution provided by Dynamic, we had no down time and no internal re-training. The software is fairly intuitive and allows us to continue to enhance our existing financial and administrative product at our own pace, while providing additional options for the clients that is not needed for our internal accounting and administration employees. It’s almost like having two software packages seamlessly working as one. We’ve given up nothing and continue to add features and options that benefit all aspects of use. We could not be more pleased.
— Sherri Barwick
Vice President, Operations
Sentry Management Inc