Reverse engineering in the financial industry

The transformation of legacy systems into new IT systems presents many companies with major challenges. Often it has not been recorded which functionalities are available in the existing IT systems and how these systems function technically. Reasons for this can be that the original developer is no longer active in the company and the software was poorly or not at all documented.

Reverse engineering: understand, copy, improve

If there is no clear documentation, only documentation of the old system – before the changeover to a new system – can minimize risks and avoid problems. This documentation is not only required for the redesign of the replacement system, but often also after the changeover for the training of new employees who will have to look after the legacy system technically in the future. True to the motto “The truth is in the code”, the legacy system is analyzed in order to understand, copy or improve it. ReqPOOL uses a method to simplify the subsequent documentation, the so-called “reverse engineering”. Depending on how the software replacement is decided: Reverse engineering can be used again. When it is replaced by a new external system, reverse engineering is used as an aid to compare the IT background of various software offers as part of the beauty contest. If it is replaced by a new development of your own system, however, it serves as a tool for continuous documentation.

“Legacy systems are usually not properly documented and the topic is rarely a priority. We help to catch up on the documentation quickly and without great additional burden. In such a way that the system experts rediscover how exciting the ‘excavations’ on your system can actually be. That’s why we sometimes also call it software archeology! ”- Jakob Strasser, Senior Manager at ReqPOOL.

The financial sector is in a state of IT upheaval

Many financial service providers are busy exchanging old IT systems. The challenges here are complex: there is often a lack of programmers for certain older programming languages (e.g. COBOL, Natural or PL / I) who can understand the systems and maintain them accordingly. In addition, the old systems may simply no longer meet the latest requirements. In addition, in the financial sector in particular, software documentation must be created in a compliance-compliant manner, because there, for example, special regulations apply to BaFin. Transformation processes can quickly become very complex.

In the case of software documentation, documentation is created semi-automatically using reverse engineering. ReqPOOL developed the documentation solution “sysparency” together with the Software Competence Center Hagenberg of the Johannes Kepler University Linz in order to simplify the automated software documentation. This simplified process can save internal resources and help to make the transformation quick and uncomplicated. Then, in a combination of a structured procedure and tool-supported approaches, the replacement of the old systems – of course in every industry – can be successfully implemented.

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