ERP Software Maintenance Tools
The ERP software maintenance tools are techniques that are used to facilitate the activities of ERP software modification and improvements (Grubb & Takang, 2003). The tools are categories based on the task they are executed. This consists of:
Program Comprehension and Reverse Engineering Tools
The program comprehension entails tools that facilitate the overall familiarity of the program functionality, correlation’s to the environs; pinpointing modifiable parts of the system and how the task should be accomplish. The reverse engineering involved tools give the detail analysis and demonstrations of system in order to support comprehension. The activities enhancing maintainability include re-documentation, reengineering, visualization, design and specification recovery. These tools consist of:
• Program Slicer
To clearly understand the source code during software maintenance, the maintainer has to highlight and view only some source code which is to be changed among other unaffected codes. This is quite cumbersome due to large size of program codes. This can be solved by using slicing process which allows selection of a specific part of the program. The slicing process is realized through program slicer tool where it shows to the maintainer the data links with the associated features for ease changes tracking.
• Static analyser
The static analyser lets the programmer to extract key information about the program such as data, modules, procedures, classes etc. It enables one to create summary contents as well as chosen program text aspect relevant for modification.
• Dynamic analyser
The dynamic analyser is a tool that aids the maintainer in tracing system execution’s channel thus able to point out areas to be modified. This provides the maintainer analysis and control of program that is being executed hence more information that will support software maintainability than provided through static analyser.
• Cross Referencer
These are tools used in indexing of various program objects by giving information like variable that has been declared. It enables maintainer to emphasize and confine program parts that have experience modification and enhancement.
• Data Flow Analyser
This tool helps maintainer to trace the entire data flows of a program as well as restoring of any changes made if necessary. It’s a type of static analytic tool that can be used during the impact analysis to identify any influence as a result of ERP system component changes or modification. Consequently, it is essential tool to a maintainer since support in the fundamental logics, interdependent and analysis of a given program under exploration.
• Dependency Analyser
The tools assist software maintainers in identifying relationships that exist among the varied program entities. The dependencies information allows recognize consequences of the effected change as well as duplicated relationships amid entities. It can enable visualization of the various dependencies by used of nodes to imply program entity as well as arc to shows dependencies within the graph.
• Transformation Tool
These include tools that change the programs into varied state of visualization and formats as text or graphic’s.it enables maintainer to edit program and comprehend the ERP system parts in the most simplified view.
Software Testing Tools
These are tools that facilitate software maintenance in identification of the various system parts that demands changes or detect bugs. This involved tools as:
• Test Simulator
This tool enabled testing environments to mimic a real system functionality .It helps the maintainer ascertain impact of ERP software change within environment that is control prior to real system changes.
• Test Paths Generators
The tool supports the maintainers to recognize control and data flows that could be influence as a result of enhancement. The applicable test scenarios can be done allow maintainer ascertain if required changes as been realize.
• Test Case Generators
This involved a collection of test data that is used to examine the existing system functionalities experiencing reformation. They allow generation of test data cases that support maintainer activities.
Software Configuration and Management Tools
There are automated tools that enhanced software configuration management.it providing development and configuration environment that play as a warehouse of a number of codes or source file constituting ERP system software.
• The Source Code Control System
The tool involved program utilities which enable maintainer traced the various files history with information of files already undergone changes.
Tools Selection Criterion
The elements that are accounted before acquiring a given tool that will support maintenance include: (1) Usability: The acceptability of the tools by maintainer and its user are depended on its ease of use; (2) capability: The tool should do/support the functionality intended to be accomplish; (3) vendor stability: The reputation of the vendor play a role before considering a given maintenance tool. The company’s tool popularity depends on their tools features, uniqueness, and capability as well as based on customers need; (4) features: The selections of a tool depend on the rich features availability; (5) programming language: The tools obtain needs supported the programming languages that were used to create source code. This will facilitate the software maintainability; (6) platform: There should be consideration of maintenance tool base on the architecture and environments such as operating system it will run. These enhanced software portability and solved incompatibility and maintenance quality issues; (7) cost and benefits analysis: There should be a relation between the cost of a tool and its benefits.
ERP Software Maintenance Tools