Tag: Extensibility

    Let’s Get Technical – Extensibility


    In our last post we discussed the Morphis low code development framework delivered with our modernized legacy applications to underpin their ongoing maintenance and enhancement. We left the extensibility discussion to this post.

    A discussion on extensibility is best illustrated with a real life case study for which we’ll use Ellucian and the modernization of their Banner® Student Information System from Oracle Forms to Java. This modernization included the provision of an extensibility framework which enables Ellucian’s clients to customize their UI data entry forms to ensure adherence to their own unique policies without having to modify the base source code.

    This is a key feature of extensibility. No longer does the end user have to update the underlying code, reapply their existing customizations and test functionality (assuming they remember what those customizations are); no longer is Ellucian having to deal with changes to their base code in the field. This is what the extensibility framework has delivered to Ellucian and their customers.

    Having modernized the core Banner system there are, of course, many customizations in the field that also need modernizing. To enable scoping of those customizations, Ellucian leverage Morphis’ Inspector tool. The video below is from Ellucian Live in March 2017 where Morphis and Ellucian discuss the process for Ellucian’s clients in modernizing those customizations. Unfortunately the audio is not great but the whole session is audible with a little perseverance.

    So what is the Morphis technology underpinning extensibility? The extensibility of Tasks and the inheritance model that Mprphis has implemented uses Morphis Foundations and even Morphis Frames, thereby, also enabling inheritance in Views.

    Foundations enables the addition of new business objects, controls, controller methods and service methods, as well as the modification of something that already exists. Different parts of the same Form can even inherit from separate parents while adhering to the single-inheritance rules of .NET and Java. 

    The basic extensions that can be implemented and combined include:

    1. Modification of visual properties and items within an existing view;
    2. Addition of new visual blocks and items to an existing view;
    3. Creation of new items in existing domain concepts (business objects);
    4. Creation of new domain concepts (business objects);
    5. Modification of existing action triggers functionality;
    6. Addition of new action triggers to baseline or extension elements.

    An overview and demonstration of the extensibility process is provided by the following video.

    If you have any questions or would like to learn how this can be applied to your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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    Ellucian Partners with Morphis to Complete Banner® Modernization

    Ellucian Banner Modernization

    BOULDER, Colo. — Nov. 8th, 2016 — Morphis, an application modernization software company based in Portugal with offices in the U.S., U.K., Spain and Brazil, announced today the completion of a significant modernization project with Ellucian, the leading global provider of higher education software and services.

    The project, which included the migration of over 4,000 pages from Oracle Forms to Java, specifically aimed to transform the user experience, accessibility, and extensibility for Banner® by Ellucian, the world’s leading higher education ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, which serves 1600 institutions across 40 countries.

    “Banner® is the most feature-rich, widely adopted Student Information System (SIS) in the world of higher education. Ellucian has transformed the entire system, including administrative functions, self-service functions, integration capability, and cloud deployment options. We trusted Morphis to assist us in the complete transformation of the user experience for administrative users,” said Kari Branjord, senior vice president, strategy and product management, ERP at Ellucian. “While we looked at several, there wasn’t another vendor that could execute with the same level of proficiency as Morphis. Their technology was vastly superior to anyone else we considered.”

    The engagement, which began in October 2014, focused not only on a complete renewal of the user experience, but also strengthened one of Ellucian’s major differentiators in the market—extensibility—allowing their clients to manage their Banner® solution to ensure adherence to their unique academic policies and requirements, without having to modify the underlying source code.

    “We are the only vendor serving higher education that gives our customer institutions a viable, strong, and compelling path to the cloud while preserving the investments they’ve made,” said Branjord. “We enable colleges and universities to utilize their resources more effectively by providing a path to meet the unique requirements of the institution without modifying the system, all made possible by adopting the next generation of Banner®.”

    “Completing a project of this magnitude is great validation that our technology, processes, and people are the best in the industry,” said Luis Andrade, CEO, Morphis Technologies. “The work we did with Ellucian is an example of the way we fulfill our mission; we are proud of the contribution we’ve been able to make to Banner®.”

    For more information please Contact Us.


    How Is Your User Experience? Do You Need To Modernize?

    Modernize to improve UX

    We have all tried to use an application or a website that was visually appealing, but was not functional or vice versa. Functionality and design are crucial in today’s mobile landscape, and user experience is playing an increasingly large role in generating business.

    User Experience, or UX, involves improving user satisfaction by upgrading the usability, accessibility and experience provided in the interaction between the user and a product, system or service. Simply, UX is aimed at improving a user’s overall experience when navigating a website, system or application.

    With aging technology and outdated legacy systems, many organizations are struggling with accessibility and usability. Accessibility means helping visually or physically impaired people to use the computer. Usability refers to the degree to which a software can be used to access information or perform tasks with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. When designed properly, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

    Modernization these outdated legacy systems can be a daunting task if attempted alone. As a result, companies have turned to third-party vendors with the knowledge and expertise to help guide them through the process. Often, IT teams will work in conjunction with these vendors to speed the process, cut costs and familiarize themselves with the major system changes. By migrating an organization’s existing systems onto a modernized platform, the UX as a whole drastically improves.

    Accessibility and usability are just two components of UX. Extensibility may also be a requirement for those software vendors who decide that a multi-tenant solution is not applicable for any or all of their market. Extensibility is defined as a system’s ability to have its functionality extended (or modified) by customers without the need to modify the underlying source code of the application.

    If extensibility is a requirement then this needs to be addressed as part of the modernization process. Morphis does this through the provision of an extensibility framework that enables the customers of our modernization clients to add their personal touches to the system without modifying the source code. This is beneficial, for example, where regulatory compliance needs to be achieved across multiple states or countries.

    Of course, if extensibility is a requirement in the modernized system, it was more than likely a requirement in the legacy system and achieved through changes to the system source code. If this is you then please Contact Us to discuss how Morphis routinely addresses this challenge.

    Check in later as we continue to explore UX and how incumbents have reacted to new market entrants whose usp has been focused on UX.

    15 Tips For The ISV Needing To Modernize

    Who's Eating Our Lunch?

    You’re an ISV. As sure as day follows night, someone is coming to eat your lunch, or at least try to.

    It could be one of your competitors who is maybe more agile because they haven’t had such an aggressive M&A strategy and, as a consequence, haven’t had to subsume so many different products and technology stacks; or maybe a new market entrant (such as Workday in Higher Ed) who isn’t encumbered with the history of customers and who can address the needs of where the market is going rather than where it has been. All of those features (or new channels such as mobile, or new consumption desires such as cloud) that your customers have been asking for over the past few years, well here comes the new market entrant with all of them built into their product.

    Note that it is not just missing features etc that can cause the need to modernize the application, lack of support and security loopholes within the technology stack can be equally strong drivers.

    Of course, this is not new to you.

    But did you know that the path to a modernized application capable of competing in the modern market is nowhere near as complex as you may think and, indeed, is well-trodden as evidenced by TOTVS, MV Sistemas and Miami-Dade County on this blog?

    Backing up for a second, there are 3 broad options when faced with a software product that has fallen behind the demands of customers and the market generally:

    • Re-write the application
    • Check to see if there are short term benefits to be achieved by wrapping the application in a connectivity layer (a la Mulesoft)
    • Re-architect the application

    Please leave me a comment below if you’re aware of a product of reasonable complexity (say >100K lines of code) that has been completely rewritten and delivered on time and on budget. My experience is of delay after delay with projects eventually abandoned and another path to modernization sought.

    The “wrapping” approach is valid if connectivity is an issue, for example, to enable web/mobile deployment. Where the core functionality of the application needs to be enhanced, however, wrapping can only be a short term solution as the underlying code needs to be modified. This leads us to re-architecting the application although wrapping may still provide a short term bridge in offering customers benefits.

    Re-architecting the application essentially relies on a technology platform to transform the application from its existing language and stack to a new (typically multi-tier) language and stack. How much of this can be done automatically and how much requires manual code completion depends on the state of the code in the original application, the source language itself and, above all, the quality of the underlying technology platform.

    When selecting a partner to provide support with re-architecting your application, here are some questions/guidelines to help with your selection process:

    1. Make sure you run a Proof of Concept that ensures the partner can deliver the solution you require.
    2. Be aggressive with the complexity and timescales on that PoC and be prepared to pay of the work. Maybe run a quick and easy PoC for free first to weed out the weaker vendors and follow-up with a paid PoC for the two or three leading contenders.
    3. Ask if enhancements can be included as part of the transformation process.
    4. If yes, ask which of those enhancements can be built into the transformation process (i.e. are delivered as part of the automated transformation process).
    5. As an example, making an application responsive is something that should easily be catered for within the transformation process.
    6. Does your partner provide a risk assessment up-front (e.g. are they providing you reports on the interdependence of modules within the application and indicating modules that carry the most risk)?
    7. Is your partner refactoring the code as part of the transformation process (i.e. are they identifying duplicate and dead code with a view to reducing the application footprint)?
    8. If extensibility is a requirement, how is your partner going to enable you to support field modifications?
    9. If accessibility is a requirement, how is your partner going to support or introduce accessibility into the modernized application?
    10. If you have multiple products in different software languages in need of modernization, can your partner support all of your requirements and drive you towards a standard technology stack?
    11. Can the product UI be customized for (human) language as part of the transformation process
    12. Are you migrating the database too? Can your partner support the transformation work here too?
    13. If you are modernizing both the application and the database at the same time, how does your partner manage that process and ensure QA demarcation between the application transformation and database migration?
    14. Is your partner providing all of the service work to complete the project or is there scope for your team to participate as well?
    15. If you have multiple modernization projects can your team complete some of them internally?

    How you feel about these last two points depend on your own internal point of view. Having the option to split individual projects with your partner or complete projects 100% internally may be of cost benefit if resources are available to do the work. This is something that Morphis does routinely with Miami-Dade County but is also something that needs to be managed with a view to employee morale.

    Morphis Modernizes MV Sistemas’ Healthcare ERP System

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    MV Sistemas Application Modernization

    MV is Brazil’s leading provider of healthcare management systems and the second largest healthcare ERP provider globally.

    Its flagship healthcare management product, SOUL MV, provides comprehensive clinical and administrative functionality to networked or stand-alone health facilities including state health departments, public and private hospitals, emergency facilities, family care centers, health insurance carriers, and many others.

    Originally architected as a client-server application, the decision by Oracle to discontinue support of the development platform used by MV with Oracle Forms in 2008 caused MV to look for a new development environment and to move the application to the cloud.

    Having selected Java as the target environment, MV began the search for a partner who could re-architect the application and move it to the cloud.

    “We chose Morphis because they met the 3 basic requirements we set for the project. Firstly that the application response time be better than the original architecture. Secondly that the application could be modified independent of the original layer. And finally that these changes to the application could be customer specific and made seamlessly, without disruption. With the original incarnation of the application changes required 5/6 hours, now we’re able to make the same modifications in a maximum of 10 minutes.

    “Partnering with Morphis meant we could maintain the size of our developer team at 25 instead of having to hire an additional 100 developers to complete the project.

    “As part of the modernization project Morphis was able to detect and eliminate more than 5000 duplicate procedures and reduce the number of lines of code by 43%. Apart from the other benefits, this reduced the management and maintenance overhead associated with the application.”

    …Genilson Cavalcanti, Former Systems Director

    “As well as providing customers the ability to customize the application, the transition to the cloud allowed us to internationalize the product as well as providing improved integration with the medical hardware available on the market. For example we have been able to integrate with wearable devices enabling doctors to make better decisions when diagnosing patients.”

    …Ubirajara Maia, CTO, Application and Technology Group

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