Ever since computers first became integral to the business, the next big challenge emerged: communication between IT and the business. IT-business alignment is a critical exercise if you want to deliver on the business requirements, foster revenue growth and maintain a competitive edge. But this alignment is also critical when you are modernizing or simply making changes to existing applications. Do you know what your applications are really doing for the business?

Business rules are “a statement of structure or constraint that the business places upon itself or has placed upon it. Each business rule statement may be related to one or more other business rule statements. A business rule is a statement that defines or constrains some aspect of the business, but (in contrast to a business rule statement) it cannot be broken down or decomposed further into more detailed business rules. If reduced any further, there would be a loss of important information about the business. Each business rule may be based on one or more business rule statements.”[1] While these definitions may be unclear, what you need to know is that when these rules are put into code, the logic defining them may be hard to trace through the program or programs where they reside.

It’s no understatement that legacy code is difficult to read. Much of it is undocumented, data structures are strewn around and the code underlying the business logic chopped up and inserted in various parts of the module. And when you want to modernize or even maintain the code, it’s hard to ensure accuracy because it simply takes too long to analyze the code and define the business rules.

Though all your code is valuable, these rules are the “gold” of your code: To put it simply, they ensure your company’s ability to make money. And if you can’t modernize, IT may own the financial problems that result. From the first time a business application was created, the time it took to create or modify code seemed too long to the business. The recent implementation of DevOps was designed to automate and speed the delivery of code solutions. But while testing, code deployment and management have been automated and the information on these solutions has been readily available, the first step of the process — analysis — hasn’t received as much attention.

Without automation, your options are extremely limited. You can manually scan code, looking for key words and strings, trying to piece together the business rule that you want to modify. But who has that kind of time? You and your business partners need these changes urgently. You can’t be stuck in the stages of “panning for gold.”

But while the business may have a very clear view of their “rules,” the business analyst can’t really help you find those rules. . . unless you add automation into the mix. This allows business analysts and IT architects to find the rules in the code quickly and easily, ensuring that changes are made safely and accurately. The right automation tool bridges the gap between business and development, bringing you closer to your business goals. Using code slice path analysis, data mapping and more, you can have a clear picture of the business without the hard work of manual mining.

As long as we’re dreaming about the perfect solution, imagine if you could be doing this analysis during the development of new applications – creating documentation that can be used to maintain, modernize and problem-solve when you need it. And of course, you need it to scale, give useful visualizations that anyone can understand and perhaps even allow you to improve your code quality. The solution has to support the languages and platforms you use and work across programs/load modules. And what if it could detect and eliminate cloned code?

It turns out there is a new solution that will do all of the above! Check out CM evolveIT, now in its latest release, 10.1. CM evolveIT allows developers not only to perform quality impact analysis but also to modernize these legacy applications, easily create web and mobile apps, exploiting Cloud, or replatforming these applications as needed. When time permits, CM evolveIT can even help eliminate technical debt and improve code quality. Finally, you’ll have complete and accurate documentation of your system.

[1] http://www.businessrulesgroup.org/first_paper/br01c3.htm

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