Reasoning Systems, Inc.
"The Year 2000 Problem potentially represents the single most costly expenditure in the history of the information processing industry," according to Reasoning, Inc., a world class software development firm that provides Y2K solutions to Fortune 1000 companies around the world.
The 13-year-old company used Franz Inc.'s Allegro CL to develop its Reasoning/2000 system, a complex software analysis, reengineering, and transformation product uniquely equipped to handle the growing demand for automatically transforming billions of lines of code to ensure Year 2000 compliance.
Because Allegro CL's code is not written according to the typical early 6-digit format, the Y2K problem is not a problem for Franz customers. That factor, combined with the unique capabilities of Allegro CL's dynamic object-oriented programming environment, has helped Reasoning gear up and run to optimally manage Y2K.
"We chose Allegro CL for two reasons," says Lawrence Markosian, Vice President of Applications Development for Reasoning, "First, Allegro CL is an environment that's designed to treat programs as data. That's important to us because we build tools that operate on other programs written in other languages. We've found Lisp to be the best environment for building such tools."
Markosian further explains the company's preference for Allegro CL as a development tool: "Lisp is a big plus over C++ and C," says Markosian; "it relieves programmers of the responsibility for memory management and supports incremental compilation, giving us a very rapid application development in a sophisticated environment." Markosian also cites "highly interactive de-bugging tools" as a definite advantage.
By partnering with Franz and taking advantage of the Dynamic Objects capabilities of Allegro CL, Reasoning has developed a highly flexible and scaleable system which automatically finds the date-defects in Cobol legacy code and corrects these defects to ensure Year 2000 compliance in multi-million line, real-world MIS applications.
Year 2000 compliance identification begins by using the system's Cobol Language Gateway to parse and capture Cobol source code into the Reasoning5 code-base management system (CBMS), where it is represented as abstract syntax trees using Allegro CL. The objects that model these syntax trees are generated on-the-fly by Reasoning's Cobol parser to handle each particular application, calling upon the unique dynamic capabilities of the Lisp language to model complex situations quickly and efficiently.
Once captured in the CBMS, this code is analyzed to pinpoint all data declarations and operations involving dates that are not Year 2000 compliant. Once the non-compliant code is pinpointed, the system automatically transforms this code to be Year 2000 compliant and outputs the transformed COBOL program.
Further transformations such as porting to modern platforms, converting to relational DBMS and client-server architectures, and extraction of business rules for conversion to SAP, Baan, and other modern MIS environments, can also be done from the CBMS.
Reasoning acknowledges that most companies are simply not equipped to transform their code in-house due to lack of staff and time. Just as prevalent is a lack of knowledge: Many companies have a high degree of legacy code where the original programmers are gone. "The programmers remaining don't know why the programs work," says Angelo, "they just know they do." For all these reasons, the transformation of the code often needs to be outsourced.
Steve Angelo, VP of Marketing for Reasoning, cites The Gartner Group forecast (backed by a more recent J P Morgan poll) that the total cost for remedying the Year 2000 Problem will be $600 billion, with some companies budgeting $100 million alone. Because virtually all industries will be effected by Y2k defects (78%), according to a recent Viasoft, Inc. survey, the high demand is expected to significantly drive up the cost of Year 2000 related services.
To service this need for outsourced Y2K services, Reasoning operates a center in Palo Alto, CA and Boston, MA, each for the purpose of transforming code in-house. Sun computers are used to transform 200 million lines of code per year, per center.
"We provide a highly accurate analysis," says Angelo, "and then automate the fix." Angelo stresses that this service is unique in the industry. "Many of our competitors have fallen way short of their former claims of automating the process of transforming code. We're actually doing it."
1997 seems to be the year when companies are finally preparing to face the Y2K problem. And, depending on the industry, some will definitely need to hurry.
"It's really the 1999 Problem," says Steve Angelo, explaining that many companies must base their calculations on a 12-month projection, meaning The Time Horizon to Failure (THF), which is actually January 1, 1999. Firms such as insurance companies, banks, credit card issuers, and thousands of government agencies, among others, must be able to transform their code in time, says Angelo, " or, at best, they will face a loss of competitive advantage and degradation of customer services, or at worst, they will go out of business."
78% of all companies will be affected by the Year 2000 Problem, according to a recent Viasoft survey, and more than a trillion lines of code will need to be assessed for Y2K defects (according to the Meta Group). Franz is proud to play a cutting-edge role in solving the Information System's biggest challenge of the century.
For more information on Reasoning Inc., please visit www.reasoning.com.
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