Legacy code is a big problem, especially in the financial services industry. This isn’t news: in fact, this issue has been building slowly for literally generations. Modernization is a far-off dream when the percentage of unit test coverage for foundational applications is in the single digits, making it impossible to update anything without a risk of breaking a critical connection and causing an outage with potentially global impacts. And when these outages affect financial transactions or availability of services, customer emotions (understandably) run high.

Imagine if your IT teams had an easy button that could automatically build a test suite for legacy code. Clicking this button would grant them immediate feedback about the effects of code changes, allowing for the adoption of new tools, improvement in agility and, ultimately, innovation. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? Fortunately, one has just been invented.

Push the Easy Button

We all know writing tests takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a tedious process most developers don’t enjoy. Even the most efficient developers get wrapped up creating tests for outdated, unsupported and poorly documented remnants of code written by unknown authors. Capgemini’s World Quality Report found that testing amounted to 26% of overall software development costs, and is expected to rise to 32% by 2020.

Until recently, the primary way to accommodate legacy code—short of a slow, expensive, and risky total rewrite—has been to maintain the status quo, make improvements gradually, and hope that the software lasts longer than you do. 

However, recent advancements in AI and automation have culminated in a tool that can intelligently write unit tests, automatically generating a test suite for legacy code: Diffblue Cover. Like an explorer in uncharted territory, Diffblue Cover maps an existing Java codebase, identifying areas where test coverage is low. The resulting test suite provides a bird’s-eye view of code connections that allows teams to fully understand the far-reaching impact of any changes they make. 

Pay Off Technical Debt

With legacy code comes technical debt, the slow build-up of temporary fixes that end up being more than temporary. Technical debt drags down productivity and the bottom line: a 2018 survey found that the average developer spends approximately 13.5 hours each week addressing technical debt. 

Diffblue Cover makes it possible to repay technical debt by allowing developers to refactor the legacy code they would have been afraid to touch without tests. With “bad code” taken care of, teams can refocus their energy on what really matters: coding new features, improving the firm’s software product and exceeding customer expectations.

Leave a Legacy of Digital Transformation

Even though the developers are on the front line in the battle against legacy code, the problems it causes can be felt throughout the whole enterprise, and the power to fix it ultimately lies in the hands of the information and technology executives. For organizations where modernization might otherwise take years, the right tools can reduce that to a tiny fraction in terms of both time and financial cost. With Diffblue’s easy button, teams can move from managing problems to managing outcomes—and the legacy you’ll leave is the successful digital transformation of your organization. 

Schedule a demo to see how Diffblue Cover could work for your business.