Softjourn

IMS Management Services: Software Rewrite to Modernize Legacy Systems

Eventually, it is time to re-evaluate legacy programs and decide how to move forward: is it time to refactor or to rewrite?

Building an in-house system means staying on top of maintenance, updates, and new technology trends. Technology that was once reliable for what was immediately needed inevitably has a time limit. Eventually, it is time to re-evaluate the legacy program and decide how to move forward. 

Choosing between refactoring legacy applications or performing an application rewrite is important, because both have pros and cons. However, when it comes to modernizing legacy applications, a software rewrite is often the best course of action.

Modernizing Legacy Systems with a Software Rewrite

When is it time to rewrite an application?

A cash management system is a key component of a company's financial stability. There are many cash management considerations and solutions available in the financial marketplace. Some businesses even develop their own systems to meet their unique needs. 

IMS Management Services, a company providing ticketing support and cash management for festivals and fairs, had created their own ticket and cash management system. It had admirably met their needs for years, but the company owners were aware that technology doesn't last forever. Eventually, it would need to be updated to a modern tech stack to remain reliable. They were searching for a technology partner to help them make the transition.

Dave Lowenstein, IMS Management Services CEO, met Softjourn at INTIX. Softjourn is a global technology solutions provider that offers nearly two decades of virtual software development experience to clients in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and other countries, handling the work from its development hubs in Ukraine and Poland.

"After reviewing the present application, we agreed that a rewrite could occur," Lowenstein said. "Softjourn became our #1 choice to handle the job."

Lowenstein felt that Softjourn’s team understood IMS Management Service’s unique needs. Their professionalism, their knowledge, and understanding of the company’s business ensured they would provide a product that would accomplish the company’s goals and objectives in the software rewrite.

"Once the decision was made to move forward with Softjourn, we never looked back."

A Rewrite in Three Phases

Phase 1: Product Definition - 3 months

The first issue in embarking on a software rewrite, especially one of this scale, was to capture all of the current functionality. Softjourn started gathering requirements to build a product definition document so that it was clear the team fully understood all of the platform’s nuances.

“Definition is very important in areas where there are a lot of unknowns and we need to provide an exact estimation,” said Lyubomyr Nykyforuk, Softjourn Ticketing Technology Expert. “Sometimes we do the definition first, before executing development; sometimes we do it simultaneously with development, depending on if there are a lot of changes during development. 

“With IMS Management Services, definition was needed to understand the business requirements of the legacy system and figure out the best way to implement them in the new application.”

To collect requirements for the new version of the system, two Softjourn developers reviewed existing documentation and communicated often with the client for clarification, diagnosing improvements, and identifying components that could be removed. Through several working sessions with the client, an SME clarified the workflow and solution-specific features; developers reverse-engineered data flows; and a business analyst created mockups and screen descriptions.

“What comes out of that is us seeing ways to help improve and drive efficiency, make things easier for the client,” said Jeff Kreuser, Softjourn CTO. “Not just the review of the application itself, but what can the new technology provide in improved efficiency.”

“All of our stakeholders were totally impressed with the quality of work produced by Softjourn during the product definition phase and found their innovative ideas on the revised workflow and user interface to be just perfect for our onsite event environment,” Lowenstein said. “They were excited to move forward with Softjourn as they felt we had found exactly the right partner for our project.”

This phase resulted in:

  • 115-page product definition document
  • 54 sample screens for the new application
  • Development effort estimation 

Phase 2: System Development - 3 months

IMS Management Services decided to move forward with Softjourn into implementing the actual software rewrite. Softjourn stayed in close contact with the client, through both written documents and virtual meetings. 

“Once we understood the legacy app features, we started migrating to the new app. We started to come up with some alternative flows, new components, UI, visual representation of the data,” said Nykyforuk. “It ended up being a completely new user experience. Both big and little improvements made the app easier to use overall.”

As with phase one of the project, IMS Management Services was impressed with Softjourn’s approach and work ethic.

“As much as I tried, I could not keep up with the speed with which [Softjourn] communicated with me,” Lowenstein said. “I would send a comment document and the next day, [Softjourn] was hard at work following through on those comments. 

“There was one time I added one item to the current comment document; when I came back 30 minutes later, I found a response saying the requested change was completed!”

With an eye to overall improved performance and efficiency, Softjourn refined many of the ticket and cash management system’s workflows. 

One improvement was incorporating additional data for clarity, to remove the possibility of human error. This was applied to several workflows, including that of inputting seller numbers. Incorporating names with the numbers into a drop-down list lessened the chance that an incorrect number could be selected. 

Softjourn also streamlined how transaction reports could be reviewed. The older system limited users to sorting through menus and printing out whole reports to check a small amount of data. With the new system, users could preview reports or even export them to PDF or CSV. Softjourn created a report engine that allowed users to filter through data and make comparisons. 

The upgraded system helped IMS Management Services improve many of its internal processes, including serving their customers efficiently. They promote the fact that they provide a complete report of all activities within 15 minutes after the close of an event. 

“The reports are coming out faster than they did in the past [as a result of Softjourn’s work],” Lowenstein said. “Operations are also going faster because of the ability to preview and export reports, as well.”

This phase resulted in:

  • Completed system with additional features to meet new needs
  • User manual to train staff on the use of the new system

Phase 3: Enhancements - Ongoing

Once the software rewrite was delivered, IMS Management Services performed internal testing. It was at this time that they began talking with Softjourn about adding further enhancements to the system, now that the technology was improved enough to build upon.

A backup and restore feature was one of the requested enhancements. Softjourn recommended adding the backup and restore feature to the application itself, making it more reliable. This feature was built with the ability to choose the backup interval, data save location, and other options for data storage. Users can preview backed up data via a version history.

“Again, here the communication was phenomenal, and the milestones set forth by Softjourn’s team were always met and, in some cases, the completion of a milestone was ahead of schedule,” Lowenstein said. “All these enhancements have contributed to make the product the best there is, and we look forward to a smooth implementation once we are able to start managing events again.”

The Benefits

Through their partnership with Softjourn, IMS Management Services reaped the following benefits:

  • New iteration of their ticket and cash management system written in a modern tech stack
  • Streamlined and automated reporting features to remove need for manual input, improving the overall process and reducing potential for error
  • In-app backup and restore feature to protect client information
  • User manual to help get employees and clients up to speed quickly on the new system and its operations

As a third-party technology provider, Softjourn’s process of thoroughly understanding the current system and how it could evolve ensured IMS Management Service’s expectations would be met.

“Every member of the team assigned to our project was 100% involved in getting us to the finish line,” Lowenstein said. “Softjourn took their time and did the necessary analysis to completely understand the operation of the present application and what it would take to get it upgraded to today’s technology.”

Conclusion

By the end of the software rewrite project, IMS Management Services was immensely pleased with the resulting product. Through virtual meetings, correspondence, and logical questions, Softjourn came to a deep understanding of IMS Management Service’s needs and the ticketing business they handle.

Softjourn continues to provide enhancements to the system, getting IMS Management Services and their customers ready for when live events can resume in full. 

 

Partnership & Recognition

Top 100
Intix
Microsoft Gold Partner
Xamarin
Monax
Inc 5000

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