Monday, November 30, 2009

The "Pimp my Ride" effect

Have you ever seen “Pimp my Ride” on MTV? In every episode, they find the worst looking car possible, and make it look flashy. This usually involves chrome, video monitors, lots of speakers, and obnoxious paint jobs.

Now in the very few episodes that I’ve seen, the outside of the car was completely overhauled, but nothing under the hood was touched. In other words, the old beat-up 85’ Yugo now looks glamorous, but inside it’s still an old beat-up 85’ Yugo. The way I see it: Garbage covered in chrome is still garbage.

Why am I talking about a TV show? Because I’ve noticed a “Pimp my Ride” effect happening to application modernization. Companies claiming to offer modernization offer nothing more than screen-scraping. For those who don’t know, screen-scraping makes your applications look modern, but leaves the underlying, outdated systems unchanged.

Screen-scraping may bring your applications to a browser, but underneath the hood you’ll find old architecture that:
  • Contains inflexible security,
  • Has a very dated (read ugly) look that might leave a poor impression of your business,
  • Is not easily understood by the web savvy users of today,
  • Is difficult to maintain (changes need to be made to original app and re-scraped),
  • Throws more hardware/software into the equation that needs to be supported,
  • Doesn’t interface well with other web apps.
Basically, screen-scraping is like driving the 85’ Yugo that looks glamorous, but internally has oil leaks, shoddy suspension, and goes from 0-60 in just under an hour.

In other words: Screen-scraping is not modernization!

True modernization replaces the face and the underlying architecture of your applications. True modernization leaves you with secure, sustainable applications that will grow with your business.

If you think that true modernization is expensive and takes years to complete, you’re wrong. Check out this white paper to learn more. It walks you through the process we took to modernize the mrc-Productivity Series, and provides a simple road map for modernizing your own applications.


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