Best Practices for Undergoing a SAG Natural Conversion
Blog //02-11-2021

Best Practices for Undergoing a SAG Natural Conversion

by Rob Anderson, Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization

Spend a few minutes browsing automated conversion solutions online and you'll quickly realize that not all are created equal. The success of any SAG Natural conversion lies in a few key areas, each of which is relatively simple to ensure if you know what you're looking for.

SAG Natural Conversion: Define the Application Today, Plan for Tomorrow

Most Natural syntax has been in place for decades. Most are based on aging development standards with limited functionality and usability. Despite their limitations, many are still relied on to provide mission-critical business functionality. Business challenges perpetuated by these legacy systems can include:

  • Disjointed development and maintenance, leading to ‘silo-based’ usage
  • Maintenance and staffing costs are high and growing
  • Compliance and regulatory challenges
  • Limited functionality and integration of legacy Natural systems limits innovation and growth
  • Data-driven architecture makes business intelligence efforts either impossible or prohibitive

Conversely, it takes a flexible, nimble organization to compete in today’s aggressive business landscape. Reliable technology that is scalable and integration-friendly for growth will dictate an organization’s success. Because Natural applications were built in a different time, often to serve a single purpose, they rarely meet the criteria necessary to help an organization for the long-term. It’s important to understand the specific impact of legacy systems on competitive advantage and business growth in the insurance vertical. For example, if DevOps adoption is a high priority for your organization, then choosing a SAG Natural conversion solution that is easily maintainable and extensible is of the utmost importance. DevOps looks to automation and ubiquity to speed processes on top of cross-functional communication, so honing the target environment to those standards is key.

Eliminate Software AG License Fees

Implementing a SAG Nautral conversion that completely eliminates Natural syntax and its ties to pre-relational Adabas databases is key. The cost savings in licensing fees alone can offset the cost of a refactoring exercise in a few months. Compound the MIPS savings and environmental cost differences between mainframes and open-systems, especially hosted solutions, and the savings decrease significantly. Avoid Natural conversion solutions that act as development front-ends and retain the Software AG licensing requirement or the need for a mainframe environment or Adabas database.

Can you Cope with the Scope?

Many SAG Natural conversions create structurally similar programs in the new language, but then need an additional re-engineering effort to yield desired results. Scoping this additional work has widely been considered a risk factor associated with many automated conversion solutions on the market. From state and local governments to worldwide corporations, Software AG license fees and disappearing resources are driving SAG Natural conversions like never before.

Automated Refactoring delivers a modern application and data tier with 100% like-for-like functionality as compared to the legacy Natural syntax, based on fully maintainable open systems. However, caveat emptor. Before settling on a SAG Natural conversion, be sure that there is a robust natural syntax portfolio analysis and feedback loops in place to properly set the stage for future application development expectations up front, a complete elimination of Software AG licensing fees, and no hidden re-engineering requirements that might cause scope creep and introduce risk after the SAG Natural conversion is complete.

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Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson


Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization

Rob Anderson is Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization. He has spent the better part of the past decade developing, marketing, and selling mainframe modernization solutions, and has had a front-row seat in the transformation of the industry and its surrounding ecosystem.

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