Banca Popolare di Sondrio is one of Italy’s oldest cooperative credit banks. The company employs 2,600 people and operates more than 330 branches across the country. Joining forces with the Micro Focus Professional Services team has enabled them to implement customizations and move to a more agile development environment.
Banks must do more than ever before to keep pace with consumer demands. Customers now expect to be able to manage their accounts online, by phone, in branches and on mobile devices, and their appetite for new services is growing.
At the same time, executives require increasingly detailed analytics and reporting to make savvy business decisions and combat fierce competition from rival firms. Furthermore, banks must frequently adjust their operations to conform with constantly evolving industry regulations.
Milo Gusmeroli, Vice President at Banca Popolare di Sondrio explains: “We are under pressure to develop new services faster than ever before. Critically, we must also keep overheads down to retain our competitive edge.”
“We run essentially all of our core production systems on the IBM mainframe platform to ensure high availability and security. With application development and testing also running on the mainframe, we had to carefully schedule our development and testing work to avoid interfering with our mission-critical core-business activities.”
“Facing skyrocketing demands for new services, we identified a need to invest in new capacity. We were faced with a choice: expand our mainframe footprint, or shift some testing and development work to a separate platform. We set out to find an expert who could help us select the best approach.”
After speaking to several vendors, the bank decided to deploy Micro Focus Enterprise Test Server, Micro Focus Enterprise Developer and Micro Focus Data Express to streamline, automate and accelerate testing and development. The Micro Focus solutions run on cost-effective x86 servers.
“Micro Focus presented an innovative approach to solving our business challenge,” continues Gusmeroli. “With the Micro Focus solution, not only are we boosting developer productivity by moving from green screens to a modern, Eclipse-based development environment; we are also saving money.”
Banca Popolare di Sondrio joined forces with the Micro Focus Professional Services team to implement customizations and move to a more agile development environment. Further assistance was provided by Micro Focus Technical Support.
“The support we received from Micro Focus was excellent,” recalls Gusmeroli. “The team took a proactive approach to problem-solving, and helped us to complete the deployment on schedule.”
Today, the bank continues to improve developer efficiency and the quality of code developed for its mainframe by handling debugging and initial testing using Micro Focus Enterprise Developer on x86 servers. Once the software is considered stable, it is moved to the Micro Focus Enterprise Test Server environment for user acceptance testing and for training purposes.
By deploying the Micro Focus solutions, Banca Popolare di Sondrio has created a dedicated and protected environment for testing, giving IT staff capacity to work on innovative offerings without fear of interfering with core business activities. Moreover, the solution has opened the business to alternative platforms, mitigating the commercial risk of being tied to a single platform. The Micro Focus landscape is also extremely useful for developing new application releases for environments currently not hosted on the mainframe, such as applications for staff training in operational departments.
Switching to an Eclipse-based development environment has simplified coding and debugging, enabling staff to accelerate the development and testing process. For example, by facilitating earlier error detection, the solution has allowed the bank to cut test-cycle duration by 20 percent.
“Adopting the Micro Focus solution has enabled us to boost developer productivity by 20 percent,” remarks Gusmeroli. “This in turn helps us cut time-to-market for new services for customers and business users.”
Additionally, the user-friendly interface to Micro Focus Enterprise Test Server helps operational staff provide greater input in application development, resulting in outputs that respond more accurately to business needs.
The solution also enables the bank to save money by preserving valuable mainframe capacity for its core production systems.
Gusmeroli comments: “The approach proposed by Micro Focus was 20 percent cheaper than the alternative option of expanding our mainframe capacity. Over three years, we expect to cut development and testing costs by 40 percent through heightened productivity and by exploiting efficiencies.”
By offering modern, user-friendly tools, the bank has also sharpened its ability to attract and retain top-performing developers, and reduced its dependence on experienced mainframe developers, who are in increasingly short supply.
Gusmeroli concludes: “With support from Micro Focus, we have built a future-proof platform that delivers real value to our business.”
Adopting the Micro Focus solution has enabled us to boost developer productivity by 20 percent. This in turn helps us cut time-to-market for new services for customers and business users.
The approach proposed by Micro Focus was 20 percent cheaper than the alternative option of expanding our mainframe capacity. Over three years, we expect to cut development and testing costs by 40 percent through heightened productivity and by exploiting efficiencies.