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Legacy
Industry: Energy

A national infrastructure provider chooses DSP for Legacy management

DSP supported a national infrastructure provider with their Legacy requirements including health checks, assessments, enhancements and more. Continue below for more details. 

Application Health Check
Viability Assessment
Application Stabilisation & Enhancement

Overview

DSP's client runs, maintains and develops a significant proportion of the UK’s transport infrastructure, and is responsible for ensuring that any proposed enhancements to the infrastructure are safe, reliable and efficient. The client chose DSP to stabilise and enhance the Legacy Electrical Engineering System.

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"DSP brings years of practical, common sense Legacy Management experience. We felt that their ‘stabilise and enhance’ approach gave us the best value for money and our best operational flexibility.”

Application Support Manager
National Infrastructure Provider

The Challenge

The system used by the client’s electrical engineers for planning and modelling was originally written as a mainframe application in the 1970s. The primary language used to code the system was Fortran: over the years the system was developed to run on Windows machines but still had Fortran at its heart. The applications passed through several industry service providers until, in 2011, the current developer announced that they would no longer support or develop the application.

The client’s Application Support Manager told us, “We approached the Strategic Integrator community for their input and were told that there was nothing to be done except a complete rewrite of the application which, as well as being a costly approach meant we would be without day to day support until such time as the new application was finished.”

The following issues with the applications needed to be addressed in order to meet the short-term goal of Windows 7 compatibility:

  • Compilation Failure – The codebase had not been complied for over 5 years and contained numerous instances of outdated coding techniques that would no longer compile
  • No Single Development Project – The codebase was held in multiple formats across multiple media types, without a single consistent project
  • Inconsistent Documentation – What documentation did exist was invariably out of date

With an internal mandate to move to Windows 7 within 18 months, and estimates ranging from 3 to 5 years for a rewrite, the client needed to find a more flexible and agile approach. “Every company we approached wanted a large project team to spend 6 months looking at the application before they were even willing to quote for the rewrite project. This was too much risk for us: we had to find another way”.

The Solution

The client chose DSP as its support and development partner for its legacy applications. The appointment was based on DSP's legacy systems management capability, deep Fortran technical expertise, flexible commercial approach and alignment of cultures between the two companies.

Through a rolling commercial contract, the client engaged DSP to provide support and development services in the following areas:

  • On-going Support – Pick up business hours support for the application suite from day one.
  • Application Health Check and Viability Assessment – Get under the covers to understand what were the long-term options for the applications.
  • Application Enhancement – Following a continuous improvement and continuous delivery methodology, deliver enhancements against the areas that would give the highest impact for minimal effort.
  • Application StabilisationAlso a major factor in improving the client's estate, by creating a consistent development project for future work including rewriting missing code.
To this end, DSP removed all compilation errors, created a current .exe, and created a Windows 7-compatible version. The work speaks for itself...

The Result

DSP's services have already contributed to a significant reduction in the amount of downtime associated with the applications.

The service has also reduced the processing time and improved the performance for new models, as well as adding a few simple touches to reduce user frustration such as the introduction of an autosave feature when creating models.

As a result, the client is also engaging with DSP on other legacy systems management outside of the existing contractual scope of work.

Added Value

Minimized downtime

The amount of downtime related to the apps has significantly decreased thanks to DSP's services.

Performance boost

The overall legacy project resulted in shortened processing times and enhanced new model performance.

Legacy modernisation

We eliminated all compilation issues by building a development project for future work, including writing any missing code.

 

Why DSP?

  • Tailor-made solutions for our clients that satisfy their needs in the simplest, most affordable way
  • “We needed to find a partner who would feed and water the existing system, whilst simultaneously modernising the application to enable future business benefit."
  • Expert support and maintenance whilst working to define a modernisation plan to suit your business

“What really stood out about DSP, was the way in which the customer came first. They understood what we were facing and put together a program of work, which needed trust and faith from both sides. Also, they have been easy and a pleasure to work with. They have had an onsite presence throughout and are seen as an extension to the internal team.”

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Application Support Manager | National Infrastructure Provider

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