Case Studies

System Modernization Eliminates Antiquated Code Risks

Written by Powertek on
Posted in Features


  1. System Modernization—Software Development & Engineering
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  4. SAIL Soars in Achieving Accuracy—Software Dev, Mobile
  5. Real-Time Data Improves Rider Experience—Mobile Applications Dev


System Modernization Eliminates Antiquated Code Risks

Department of Labor (DOL)
Software Development, Systems Engineering

Customer Mission:

The DOL gathers and reports weekly unemployment statistics that contribute to national economic policies, impacting global financial markets. The accuracy and timeliness of these reports rely on national systems that communicate and interoperate with state systems to collect, process, and exchange timely and reliable unemployment data. The DOL also orchestrates the transfer of money between the U.S. Department of Treasury and state governments to compensate the states for the unemployment expenditures of affected former Federal employees. Because Federal employees are exempt from state unemployment taxes, these transfers are critical, enabling states to provide benefits to residents who are former Federal employees who lost their jobs.

The Challenge:

The DOL’s CHARGEBACK system maintains the interface with the state systems to process and transfer compensation to meet beneficiary obligations for affected former Federal employees. Since the system was written in legacy 1990 character code, it could not accommodate changes to Federal regulations. Additionally, although CHARGEBACK contains 15 major subsystems, the 4GL programming language was only capable of a single relay at a time, resulting in slow processing.

Powertek's Solution:

Powertek recommended a plan to modernize the CHARGEBACK system while ensuring uninterrupted services. Upon DOL approval, our software developers reverse-engineered the designs and code of the 4GL legacy system. We then developed new requirements and designed and implemented the system using modern UML, Java/J2EE, and object-relational technologies, integrating CMMI-compliant best engineering practices. To support ease of future upgrades and mitigate future obsolescence, our software engineers anticipated emerging technologies during the design phase through modular design. The architecture is now uniform across all subsystems.

Powertek's CHARGEBACK implementation for DOL now employs current technologies and will facilitate incorporation of new technologies as they emerge.


  • 50% estimated time savings for new system development
  • Increased system flexibility with J2EE, Spring, Struts, and Hibernate
  • Conversion from file-based to object-relational data management, resulting in faster implementation of new requirements and logic with reduced risk
  • Modular design that allows incremental deployment of future technologies
  • J2EE template application, resulting in simplified connectivity, faster solution delivery times, and uniformity of architecture across systems

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