12. August 2021

SCCH: First Spin-off “Sysparency” Launched

When modernizing their IT, companies often face one central challenge: a lack of documentation on old-established software programs – often called “legacy systems” by specialists. Updating or replacing such systems requires comprehensive knowledge of those functions that are essential for the company’s operations. This is also increasingly required by regulations. A newly developed algorithm extracts and documents this hidden knowledge from the source code of software applications. With the foundation of Sysparency GmbH, the developers – research institute Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH) and management consultants ReqPOOL – are launching this achievement, which has proved itself in industry, on the market.

“The digital transformation is the future with great potential. But its details present particular challenges that must be overcome,” says economy and research minister Markus Achleitner. “The research centres of the UAR Innovation Network are accompanying companies every step of the way during this process. This spin-off is an absolute prime example of this. It also provides impressive proof that Upper Austria, the start-up region, and SCCH in particular, are not prepared to just sit back and take things easy, even in challenging times. Quite the contrary: Sysparency represents the paradigm of the ‘innovation chain’ – from education to industry by way of research.

The source code is the key

The tool was used internationally – tested, as it were – for two years with great success. The algorithm from SCCH and ReqPOOL makes knowledge in a software’s source code visible to users, regardless of whether they wrote the code themselves or not. The source code is the only place where knowledge can be displayed and reconstructed even when the original documentation is missing. The logical next step was to launch a company able to market the algorithm. This is the spin-off Sysparency.

“Many companies are in the process of switching to new software systems and are encountering problems because documentation for legacy systems that is required by regulations is missing,” says ReqPOOL CEO Florian Schnitzhofer.

Automatically log knowledge and safeguard the future

The algorithm from SCCH and Sysparency allows automated documentation of complex software systems and secures knowledge. The result is a complete description of what the software does, and it issues calculations, formulae, data flows, state diagrams or decision tables. Companies can now reconstruct the functions of their software systems and compile the necessary documentation quickly and easily in the form required by legislation. Incidentally, documentation of this type also plays an important role in the ongoing development of artificial intelligence.

“As the JKU’s AI pioneer, Sepp Hochreiter, repeatedly stresses: data is the oil of the 21st century,” explains Meinhard Lukas, chancellor of the Johannes Kepler University Linz. “Being able to safeguard this data or reconstruct it in the event of its loss is a sine qua non for successful comprehensive digitalization of local companies. This is where Sysparency comes in, providing impressive proof of how ground-breaking the founding of SCCH by the JKU over 20 years ago was. In close communication with industry and university research, concrete solutions are developed that meet companies’ requirements. I congratulate SCCH on its first spin-off and am particularly pleased because this project helps make source code transparent. And transparency is the aspect that may well be the subject of the toughest battles in the context of digitalization.”

Technology made in Upper Austria

“Our experts developed a specific analytical method with which this knowledge can be picked out using reverse engineering in a form that can be read by people and processed by machines,” says Markus Manz, CEO of SCCH.

Its success results from the concept of dual funding: of top-level research at SCCH on the one hand, and of measures towards commercialization by tech2b, who supported this launch, on the other. In conjunction with ReqPOOL, founded in Hagenberg in 2012 and now successful internationally, it led to the emergence of a new company capable of conquering the global market with technology made in Upper Austria.

“Founding Sysparency, our first spin-off, shows that we can also be part of a joint venture and successfully market research findings that were previously only used in prototypes by partners in industry while everyone concerned sticks to their core area of expertise,” explains Manz who is working on a spin-off strategy with tech2b.

“This technology provides answers to a central challenge that is a major preoccupation for many companies,” adds Dr Wilfried Enzenhofer, MBA, CEO of Upper Austrian Research GmbH, the lead company for research in the province of Upper Austria. “SCCH provides impressive proof here that the UAR Innovation Network understands the issues of importance to trade and industry and comes up with innovative solutions.

First place in the rankings of the magazine Chefinfo in the category “Best Innovations in Upper Austria – Research”. 

Following the successful foundation of its spin-off Sysparency GmbH in Linz, Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH) is delighted with this recognition of its research results and their relevance to practical applications.

(c) Province of Upper Austria/Kauder