Article

5 Steps To Knowing an Enterprise System or Platform You Didn’t Build

Software Development
UX/UI

We’re often asked to ‘fix’ an enterprise system that’s been in place for a very long time. In fact Codiance Discover was created specifically to help our customers refocus and maximise their existing systems. 

If you want to get started on your own, here’s what to do in 5 very practical steps.

Create a narrative for how the enterprise system is used

Shadowing end-users is one of the most useful tools any system engineer can use. We take a people-centric approach to system building and take the same approach when understanding existing systems. Here’s what our system engineers will do:

  • Review the functionality of the system from an end-user perspective, with end-users.
  • Discuss the original strategic intent of a system with stakeholders
  • Map out workflow based on how users currently use the system
  • Shadow staff of varying roles using the system

Get to grips with how the system was built

When an enterprise CMS system has been in place for many years, there’s rarely any of the original creators, users or owners. There’s almost certainly no documentation. Not only does this hinder any development, it hinders people using and understanding the system effectively every day. There are no shortcuts here. This is where our experience and quick-learning comes into play:

  • Review the application code and current data
  • Review existing documentation (if any exists!)
  • Map out application code dependencies
  • Write technical documentation if none exists

Make Secure & Stable For Future Improvements

Each step of exploration is interdependent. If you make changes to one element without understanding the interdependencies, you can end up creating brand spanking new issues you never had before! As we fill in the gaps, we can take steps to ensure the platform is secure and stable for all future improvements. There are 2 key elements:

  • Identify potential security vulnerabilities
    • Are dependent frameworks up-to-date?
    • Are runtime environment patches up-to-date?
    • Is sensitive data stored correctly and in line with GDPR?
  • Bring application into a robust development and deployment pipeline, with source control and controlled builds & publishes

A Roadmap For Success

Our team of system engineers - who every client works directly with - have a wide set of experiences that really help here (check out their bios to see what we mean!) We go into a lot more detail on problem-solving here, but from a technical point of view, we now do the following:

  • Work with users across the business to improve current workflows and identify efficiencies
  • Roadmap iterative improvements to the system, working closely to map out priorities
  • Deliver new features, fixes and efficiencies to the application

Measure and track success

Our Agile approach to system development means we can test quickly and ship. This agile approach means our clients are more involved at every step, with continuous comms back and forth. The approach allows us to be iterative or course-correct as new information becomes available. This continuous feedback loop means we’ve always got the objective and end-user at the heart of everything.

I hope this was useful to you! If you have any questions, or want to see how we could help, please get in touch!

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