BGL BNPP had run its main banking features in a mainframe environment for many decades and over this time the IT infrastructure, with the mainframe at its center, had expanded to include about 3,000 MIPS, 15 million lines of code, 20,000 JCLs, and 2,000 DB2 databases. With great customization included it was hard for the BGL BNPP teams to have clear visibility into the applications, maintain them and respond quickly to business requests for change. Modern banking demands mobile and Web technologies and for this BGL BNPP had started Java development. However, new solutions still needed to integrate with the core applications back on the mainframe which posed a problem.
At the same time, cost pressures were mounting as well. Legislation in different countries led to amnesties of expatriated capital leading to a loss for Luxembourgian bank clients. Cost reduction directives came down from headquarters in a bid to remain competitive.
Jean-Jacques Dubois, Chief Technology Officer for BGL BNPP, summarizes the issue: “We realized we needed to save costs and increase our flexibility towards the business. At the same time, our core business applications contain a wealth of information and we need to interface to them with our new, digital banking, initiatives."
Initial thinking was to replace the mainframe solutions with a packaged application and several options were explored. However, the customization required made this cost-prohibitive as it was estimated an entire year’s IT budget would need to be spent on this option. Moving the solution onto a more fit-for-purpose platform was an attractive alternative for BGL BNPP, as JJ Dubois explains: “After some guidance from Gartner we knew we needed an effective and professional partnership, someone who was willing to share responsibility for the ultimate success of this project. Our parent company BNP Paribas already worked with Micro Focus. We engaged with HP Professional Services, who in turn recommended Micro Focus for the modernization project.”
A number of reference visits to other Micro Focus customers followed and, once BGL BNPP felt assured that HP and Micro Focus were the right partners, the project got underway. This was a good opportunity to analyze the code of the 40-yr old IT infrastructure. Micro Focus Enterprise Analyzer gave some great insights into the workings of the system and the team was able to optimize this for the new Linux-based platform.
Over the course of 18 months the code moved to the new operating platform, and a cultural change was happening within BGL BNPP as well. JJ Dubois: “We needed to convince people that a distributed environment would perform just as well and provide the same stability as the mainframe had for so many years. This required a real effort from all the partners involved. We had Micro Focus Consulting, Support, and Product Development heavily involved and everyone was focused on making this a success.”
Micro Focus Enterprise Developer and Micro Focus Enterprise Server™ formed the basis for the new Linux environment.