Modern enterprise software architecture is growing increasingly complex. Organizations are jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon in growing numbers. They are striving to become more agile and continuously deliver new code, whether on-premises or to support cloud migration efforts. In the process, IT teams are amassing an ever-growing inventory of applications and databases, which generally includes a blend of custom code, open source and commercial applications.
“Spaghetti code” is what some call a tangled mess of a program—one that is difficult to follow, poorly documented and almost impossible for anyone but the original developer to troubleshoot or upgrade. Even today, when managers and developers take a more structured and disciplined approach to implementing code, the enterprise remains a patchwork of technology, a kind of spaghetti that can be difficult to understand and detangle.
Given these layers of complexities, it is imperative for organizations to be equipped with the right processes and tools to map out their IT assets. They need to understand how programs and databases interconnect and how a change in one can have implications across the network that imperil availability, performance or security and negatively impact employees and customers. Here are some best practices that enterprises looking for an easier digital transformation journey can follow.
Gleaning the Impact of Enterprise Software Changes
Implementing a software change or embracing a new application that has a puzzling code makeup has plenty of inherent challenges—not to mention potential long-term disruptions for multiple departments, functions and processes within an enterprise. Whether an organization is dealing with inherited applications from a merger or acquisition or simple system migrations, much depends on how it is coded. As a result, enterprises must familiarize themselves with the overall layout of the enterprise architecture, down to the code level. This comprehensive level of analysis aids organizations in identifying the full scope and impact of the desired changes or updates.
This is especially important for software teams who are operating on tight budgets and strict deadlines. Some important factors to consider in a comprehensive analysis include:
- Identifying the impact of a change request on the software development project or on a business’s IT infrastructure.
- Determining which software resources must be modified to implement the requested change.
- Calculating the cost, time and effort needed to perform the change request.
- Ensuring that the requested change complies with internal and external regulations.
- Eliminating or minimizing any security risks associated with the change.
Decoding the Spaghetti With Automated Discovery and Code Mapping
A study by research firm Enterprise Management Associates (Next-Generation ITAM) found that the average IT organization uses 11 or more different inventory and discovery tools—some even more than 40. However, none deliver the full picture and they can often contradict each other. As a result, the average IT organization spends 15 hours every week manually resolving discrepancies among its various discovery tools. These hours translate to hefty costs.
Fortunately, new approaches to discovery blend static and dynamic analysis methods that can operate in real-time to decompose software dependencies down to the code level. These new tools provide significant improvements in discovery and mapping, eliminating the need for multiple, redundant tool use and wasteful manual deconflicting.
According to a recent Forrester survey, 56% of IT managers don’t have a complete view of dependencies between applications or between applications and infrastructure. However, today’s evolving business landscape dictates that technologies must evolve to keep up with an organization’s shifting needs. Software changes, when implemented strategically, can help businesses be more productive, efficient and profitable.
To ensure that software changes serve this purpose, IT project managers need to implement a solid software change assessment system. With the help of technology, checklists and processes, organizations can outline a path that yields efficiency. They can understand and decode that tangled mess of software called the modern enterprise tech stack.