CEP Solutions’ core application offering, SIOGERE, is an HR and payroll service. It has been in operation for over 30 years and is used by employment consultants and small and medium businesses all throughout Italy. SIOGERE, accessible via client/server technology, is subject to heavy regulatory compliance, making it a business-critical application for CEP Solutions. This system was built on Micro Focus COBOL using Micro Focus Net Express and Server Express for application development and maintenance.
CEP Solutions wanted to modernize its application infrastructure as Rosanna Villani, Development Director, explains: “We needed to move from a 32bit to a 64bit environment in order to meet our customer’s business requirements. This would also enable us to develop a new online interface for our clients and offer web application access, ultimately positioning us to grow our market share. We looked into various options, including rewriting our existing application in C++ but with decades of vital functionality built within our systems, we estimated that this would cost us €2 million--too much to justify. We also evaluated alternative COBOL solutions, but these just didn’t offer the level of functionality we needed. We found these alternative COBOL offerings unreliable and prone to many technical problems. In certain cases, they just didn’t offer the level of functionality we needed. We noticed functional and quality issues during the debugging and compilation process, which ultimately eliminated these alternative COBOL offerings as viable solutions. Upgrading our application environment with Micro Focus would give us the capability of reusing our existing systems while adding new modern functionality for our customers. This approach would minimize any risk to the business and with Visual Studio skills already in place within our development team, we could maximize our existing skillsets and be up and running very quickly.”
Following industry best practices for development, CEP Solutions conducted a thorough analysis of its application code, identified potential problem areas, and then moved its application into Visual COBOL for quality assurance testing and eventually user deployment.
CEP Solutions was able to reuse the majority of its application logic and through the use of modern development tools within Visual COBOL, introduce a standardized development methodology. Visual COBOL’s integration with existing .NET applications also provided improved IT architecture flexibility.
The move to Visual COBOL was completed in three months, 75% faster than originally anticipated. Villani comments: “Moving to Visual COBOL was a really smooth process for us. Because our development team was already familiar with Visual Studio, we could use existing skills for the modernization initiative and accelerate time to delivery for this project.”