Interview with Alan Williams, Director at Prosol Group.

By Karl Hilzinger, Digital Marketer at ProSolutions Integration.

As defined by Alan Williams, a legacy system can be described as “an information system that was built with outdated technologies, still in use today, making it critical to the day-to-day operations of the business.”

The origins of Prosol Group

ProSolutions was born out of the desire to become known as a world-class company specializing in integrated Business process automation.

Established in 1986, ProSolutions began pioneering commercial web applications and subsequently became involved in the banking sector, where its Integrator (ESB) system was born. Some years later, in response to a client’s requirement to move off the UniVerse operating environment onto the Microsoft platform, MVsharp and MVpro were developed. This enabled conversion from UniVerse to the .Net framework, running on the SQL Server database.

Through the progress of our integration business, ProSolutions Integration (Pty) Limited, we have continued to achieve considerable success, particularly in the banking sector, with clients in thirteen African countries and as far afield as Beijing in China.

In turn, Prosol Group has been able to focus on its conversion business, with both its MVsharp and MVpro products being significantly enhanced. Various stand-alone products have also been spawned, which now include MVsync and MVrest. Consequently, a number of South African sites have been running live for several years and Prosol Group has entered into a contractual agreement with an American company that is an established player in the MultiValue sector in the United States.

Prosol Group remains South Africa’s leading provider of MultiValue solutions, powering a cost-effective transition to 21st-century efficiency and flexibility.

Why is modernization so important with legacy IT systems?

Legacy modernization updates and optimizes business systems to gain operational efficiencies, address technology constraints, meet customer experience expectations and support adoption and integration with other systems based on new technology platforms such as MVsharp.

The minimum goal of legacy system modernization is to achieve a like-to-like system parity with operational enhancements. The ideal goal is to achieve significant leaps in performance, agility and innovation.

When you modernize your systems, you are capable of reacting faster to seasonal fluctuations, leveraging data across the organization, integrating systems to optimize processes, adapting to business conditions, or quickly snatching up the next innovation opportunity to outpace your competitors.

Tell us more about MVsharp ?

MVsharp produces managed .Net source and object code based on the emulation of environments like UniVerse, UniData, D3 and other versions of Pick. It converts and populates a large variety of databases, including SQL Server, DB2 and Oracle.

The result is a conversion platform that delivers robust applications for organizations demanding critical performance, including banking and financial services, emergency systems, healthcare, e-commerce, and more. MVsharp’s compact and efficient data structure ensures that systems can run at high speeds with optimal response times.

This enables businesses to leverage their considerable investment in current enterprise systems and produce an up-to-date, highly functional, fully scalable, industry-standard equivalent.

Furthermore, ongoing costs and risks are significantly reduced by making use of .Net / SQL technology, as skilled resources are more readily available while the base technology costs less in license fees. Most importantly, the current IT team is re-energized and motivated.

What makes MVsharp different from other MultiValue systems?

The ability to scale MultiValue implementations horizontally is one of the most significant features of the MVsharp platform. This gives MultiValue developers the tools to write software in MV, transpile to C# and run it in the .NET Common Language Runtime.

Because MVsharp uses .NET as the MV run machine (p-machine) and SQL Server as the DBMS for MV applications, it provides a wealth of functionality that other MV platforms lack. This capability allows MVsharp users to define primary, secondary and tertiary lock servers and to have as many nodes as required in the MVsharp Cluster. Nodes can be added and removed in real-time, while each node can be configured with different RAM, disk and processors, and Windows and Linux Nodes can be mixed in a single cluster.

MVsharp and other Prosol Group products are database independent and can use multiple types of databases concurrently, including SQL (e.g. SQL Server, Oracle), NoSQL (e.g. MongDB, Couchbase). Currently operational with MVsharp are SQL Server, as well as MV databases (e.g. UniVerse, UniData, D3, jBase and Open QM).

With the continuing increase in data breaches and resultant regulations to keep them at bay, the security features of many MV applications are often questioned. Particularly as users require access to multiple databases on multiple servers distributed across different physical locations, database security administration can become complicated.

This is one among many reasons why Prosol Group elected to utilise Microsoft’s solid industry platforms to our benefit as their organization continues to invest in the widely respected security of its .NET run machine, as well as their SQL Server DBMS. With NetBasic tools, one can run existing MV applications in .NET with SQL Server and similarly run SB+ applications in .NET with the Prosol NetBuilder SB+ emulator.

Because Python, JavaScript and TypeScript interpreters are managed code (i.e. CL-compliant), such languages can be used and mixed with MV BASIC and C#, even in single programs. There is no need for interprocess nor client / server communication because the languages execute in the same process. Python, JavaScript, TypeScript and MV BASIC interact fluidly. Call a subroutine written in Python,