UnityBase as a Tool to Integrate Legacy Systems with Modern Web Services

As businesses grow and expand, they need to integrate older legacy systems with new technologies. This is one of the most difficult challenges CIOs face today. Legacy systems are usually old, technologically inflexible, and obsolete. It is often difficult to integrate them with new cloud and web-based services.

Yet they are still substantially utilized for critical business processes.

They may remain within the enterprise for various reasons:

1) as a result of a merger or acquisition of companies,

2) due to them being set up to support unique business processes, or

3) because they contain invaluable commercial knowledge and historical data.

Yet legacy systems often prevent technological growth and cause blocking of expansion. Replacing a legacy system altogether is expensive and risky. It requires a large amount of developer retraining, and may not be seen to take into consideration future needs of a business.

For that reason, many companies need to integrate legacy systems with new ones. The following challenges arise when the integration of legacy systems into a single solution is undertaken:

  • Scalability of a solution. The current state of the business will also be subject to changes that should become part of a single platform;
  • Ensuring continuity of the enterprise. In the process of implementing a new system, business processes must operate in the usual mode;
  • Distribution and mobility of work. Business needs to utilize both stationary and portable devices in order to work anywhere in the world;
  • With the availability of web access, Data Encryption and Security of Access are strict requirements;
  • High system load. Combining infrastructure of a large enterprise under one platform, the operation of data transmission and the support of a large number of users must be suitably taken into account.

Businesses require a bridge, incrementally extending existing assets while offering the advantages of new technologies. UnityBase platform can provide the solution.

Practical Case: Accounting Systems Integration for a Software Development Company

A large software development company had a separate HR system, two independent resource planning systems, and a business process automation and approval system. Initially, the systems were standalone. There was a problem of resource load accounting globally.

The requirements for a Unified system were the following:

  • Search staff project workload according to parameters - period, managers, professional skills, etc.;
  • Synchronize resources with HR system;
  • Support and conduct employee questionnaire as for attestation of professional skills, and certification;
  • Automatic creation of questionnaire when the employee commences employment and archiving when employment ceases.

UB platform was used as an intermedia layer (meta layer) between existing systems, without violating or replacing their functionality.

The level of the meta-model provided data from legacy systems, and the level of business logic - the relationship between them. In this case, there was no need to duplicate the data into a separate database, we kept only the links and relations between entities.                       

The Business Process Management module (BPM) ensured the relevance of the employee’s questionnaire during recruitment, professional certification, and termination. At the same time, there was no need to organize managers' access to the HR system as data were synchronized already via the intermedia layer as shown below. 

Integration based on UnityBase platform resulted in the improvement of interaction between territorially distributed subsidiaries, quality control of project workload, brand new user experience, as well as cost and time savings.

Practical Case: "Single Window" for a Municipal Water Supply Company.

A city water supply company had an outdated system for the submission of application forms. Applications were accepted by phone or during personal visits. The Document management system in the head office and subsidiaries was not integrated and was based on outdated systems from different providers. Processing of applications was carried out by phone or on paper between company subsidiaries.

The company sought to improve its quality of service and its customer front end by integrating the existing system into a “Single Window” web service system with online applications submission, auto tracking and monitoring of documents within the company. 

A Document management system based on the “Single Window” principle was implemented over 6 months. The system supports integration with existing legacy systems based on the UnityBase platform.

Common standards were developed for all document management systems integration using existing data warehouses based on meta-models. Principles of interaction between them were implemented and Web client with modern design to receive applications was created.

The “Single Window” system includes:

  • Application registration, transfer for execution to particular divisions of the enterprise;
  • Provision of general information about terms and procedure to the Applicant;
  • Providing information on the required document’s package depending on the type of application (including sample of applications);
  • Providing additional advice on the issues of registration and issues of client technical documentation;
  • Providing other necessary background information.

The general scheme of the “Single Window” document management system is presented in the illustration below.

The “Single Window” document management system increased the implementation processing speed of the application. The number of requests per year increased 10 times, leading to a significant increase in revenue. A step by step approach in legacy system integration with new one allowed the company move to the new system with new work standards without interruption in service.

The cases above demonstrate and provide confidence that the UnityBase platform can support the painless integration of existing outdated systems to modern web services.

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Intecracy Group is an international consortium of companies working in the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) industry.