Thomas Weigert: Making Businesses Future Ready with Robust Legacy Modernization Solutions

Thomas Weigert,   CEOThe challenges associated with legacy applications range from cost to customer and employee experience. Legacy application modernization helps an individual rearchitect, rebuild, or replace legacy applications that have become outdated and no longer satisfy business goals. But legacy modernization is hard, and without strong tool support, it will become the roadblock to their digital transformation journey.

With a pedigree in developing automated legacy modernization solutions and innovative software development technologies, Thomas Weigert has been the driving force behind the success of Updraft. He is also the CTO of Natsoft where he has been the force behind its research and development activities. Previously, he held positions as an executive at Motorola and a tenured Professor at the University of Missouri. In each of these roles, Thomas has significantly impacted these organizations by inventing and creating novel technologies in the area of applying artificial intelligence techniques to software development.

Thomas holds nine patents pertaining to the generation and testing of software using automated techniques and has also shared his results with the software engineering community in scientific publications and a book.

“I rely on a very capable team. There is a great deal of intricacy involved in legacy modernization efforts. Only when everyone on your team is consistently at the top of their game will you be able to win client accolades and successfully complete large-scale complex projects. This enables me to concentrate on predicting future requirements or issues and proactively addressing them”, asserts Thomas Weigert, CEO at Updraft.

Established in the year 2008, Updraft automates the transition of a legacy system to a newer architecture, with no manual intervention. Updraft provides next generation automated modernization solutions for legacy applications and digital transformations. Recently, Updraft has been acquired by Natsoft Corporation, a New Jersey, US-based boutique IT Services company. As a subsidiary, Updraft has begun operations in the Indian market to assist enterprises of all sizes and industry verticals with automated legacy modernization solutions.
Updraft is constantly adding new features and capabilities to its automated tools in response to customer needs and market demands. For example, Updraft recently saw a large need to replace the aging Cold Fusion-based front-ends with applications by systems based on Java and modern user-interface technologies such as Angular and has created tooling to modernize such outdated user interfaces. Updraft tools are designed to operate as a Service as it focuses on customizing the legacy modernization solution for every client's unique needs. Updraft tools are built on top of a generic program transformation engine, and new languages and target environments can be easily integrated into the tool chain.

Speaking of Natsoft Corporation, it has been successfully serving nearly 500 clients ranging from small businesses to big corporations. Natsoft has grown by putting the client at the helm and focusing solely on addressing the demands of the client. This attitude is what drives Natsofts large scale offering. Natsoft works with clients in five distinct verticals, delivering services ranging from ERP to CRM, custom built applications and solutions using various technologies, specialty products and tools, and BPM services. Natsoft has just begun to offer value added resales. Furthermore, various stakeholders are utilizing the company's blockchain based solutions. Its partnerships with firms such as SAP, Salesforce, Vertica, Qlik, UI Path, Ingram Micro and others help its clients fulfill their ever changing technological needs.

Thomas has significantly impacted organizations by inventing and creating novel technologies in the area of applying artificial intelligence techniques to software development

Analyze, Improve, & Migrate
When working on a client's modernization, Updraft tools are grouped in an assembly line of tools known as the Updraft legacy modernization factory. This factory is custom configured to meet a client's constraints and legacy modernization goals, and based on the client's legacy and desired future state, special tools may be installed.

For example, when a large telecom business was updating its billing system, the legacy application was based on an in memory database developed from assembly language and low level Cobol that relied heavily on pointers. Updraft created custom transformations to automatically recognize where this in memory database was invoked, removed that code and replaced it in Java with access to a third party in memory database, rather than blindly attempting to translate into what would most likely be completely unmaintainable Java.

Another critical component of the company's technique is that old code is improved rather than simply translated to the future state. Mainframe legacy systems, for example, are monolithic, resulting in poor performance when deployed in a cloud environment. During migration, Updraft tools discover decomposition possibilities and deconstruct monolithic applications into a group of microservices. Furthermore, during migration, dead code, unnecessary code, or code replication are removed, thereby considerably improving the maintainability of the updated application. Complete automation of this process is critical for the successful modernization of very large legacy systems.

Lastly, when asked for a piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs, Thomas concludes, “Find a big problem the world is facing and that becomes your opportunity. When you have identified the problem, building a solution and building a team that believes in the opportunity is what will take you ahead".