CDK Global (previously known as ADP Dealer Services) originally developed its dealer management system, DRACAR+, in Micro Focus COBOL, using Micro Focus Net Express and Server Express for application development and maintenance. It is a complete administration system used by 1,500+ car dealers and car importers in Northern Europe. It enables them to sell vehicles, maintain stock, buy parts, co-ordinate workshop orders, and produce daily job lists. DRACAR+ integrates with over 30 OEM partner systems and is mission-critical to more than 20,000 users.
Søren Krogager, Senior R&D Manager at CDK Global in Denmark, explains: “Combining the COBOL and .NET development teams was a natural step for us to improve development efficiencies. It would simplify our development environment, support the latest vendor platforms, and enable us to be more responsive to business change requirements. We have a long-standing relationship with Micro Focus and are fundamentally very happy with COBOL, so we decided to move to Visual COBOL.”
It was imperative that the modernization process maintained the application’s rich inherent competitive advantage. High levels of automation and 3rd party integration had to be converted into the new development environment. Krogager comments: “We view Visual COBOL as a bridge technology that will enable new capabilities, while future-proofing current application investments. Moving our code base proved a lot easier than we had expected. I was anticipating 190 days of R&D resource which meant all of our developers would be assigned to the project. However, using Visual COBOL we were able to quickly move our existing applications into the new environment. Our development teams will have further automated and accelerated the code conversion process within 90-100 days – delivering massive time to market savings for us.”
CDK Global engaged with Micro Focus consulting and support teams to assist in building a strong business case for the upgrade. Moving from Net Express to Visual COBOL was deemed a low-risk way to retain competitive advantage while increasing developer productivity and collaboration. It allows for a modern user experience integrating effectively with other development languages. It also aligns well with the agile development model CDK Global has adopted, supporting rapid releases of DRACAR+ up to four times per year.
The move to Visual COBOL enables CDK Global to enhance the development experience, as Krogager explains: “We should see some cost savings as a result of development efficiencies. We can retire our older development tools and environment, and enable our COBOL and .NET teams to collaborate more effectively using Visual COBOL. Of course there will be a small learning curve for the COBOL developers, but in the new modern environment everyone will ultimately be more productive.”
Krogager concludes: “The support from Micro Focus during the move to Visual COBOL has been great. Whenever a support case is raised it is taken care of really quickly and effectively. We are quite happy with the quality of service received. Using a new, modern development environment, we are excited to leverage our existing applications logic and skillsets to bridge a future path to new innovation.”
Micro Focus, a member of the FTSE 250, provides innovative software that allows companies to dramatically improve the business value of their enterprise applications. Micro Focus Enterprise Application Modernization, Testing and Management software enables customers’ business applications to respond rapidly to market changes and embrace modern architectures with reduced cost and risk.