Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is a nonprofit organization that has provided basic, compulsory automobile insurance coverage (called Autopac) to Manitoba motorists since 1971. Its services are available through claim centers and service centers in 13 communities across Manitoba. Driver and vehicle licensing services are available at over 300 Autopac brokers around the province, and Manitoba’s own staff of 1,700 is dedicated to keeping Manitoba’s roads safe and vehicle insurance rates low.
The organization sought ways to lower its IT costs associated with running its older core business-critical applications. These applications, most of which were in-house developed more than 20 years ago, are key to the business. MPI wanted to eliminate the risk of running them in a technology environment that included obsolete components. The application portfolio covers several areas, including a Driver Licensing System, which manages all driver licenses for the region including renewals, and Accident Stats, a vehicle accident statistics repository. All in all, millions of records are kept, and the applications also interface into national databases and systems, so uptime is absolutely essential for MPI.
Dan Guimond, Vice President Strategy and Innovation and Chief Information Officer at MPI, talked to HP about a potential solution: “Strategically, we felt a Windows environment would benefit us, but we needed guidance on a low-risk and cost-effective strategy to achieve this. HP looked at our environment in detail and recommended a modernization project with Micro Focus Enterprise Server and Enterprise Developer at the core of it.” These products would provide the necessary IBM z/OS emulation environment for Windows, together with an integrated development environment to support the applications’ ongoing maintenance and modernization.
A team of HP and Micro Focus specialists led the project, focusing on moving the applications to a more cost-effective Windows-based virtualized environment on VMware. Kevin Saunders, Account Executive at HP, comments on the partnership: “This was very much a joint effort. MPI had some demanding IMS print requirements and to ensure a smooth transition we required Micro Focus. Thanks to the great relationship between HP and Micro Focus we were directly in touch with the technical team who delivered on time."
In a project of this size the primary objective is to minimize application change, so where possible, code is transitioned without change into the new environment. The Micro Focus compiler in Enterprise Developer was used to handle the OS/VS COBOL and COBOL 390 code and functionality. Although there were some unique and unsupported code dialects in use at MPI, HP delivered a process that ensured the compiler worked for 2,500 COBOL programs without the need for code changes. HP also produced an innovative and effective web services interface for IMS. All in all, with HP managing the solution planning, design, and delivery, closely supported by Micro Focus, a successful transition into the new environment was realized.
In the mainframe environment, an employee working at several MPI locations needs multiple location-specific IDs in order to log on to the system and print from it. Sometimes up to seven different IDs would need to be maintained for a single person, posing a security risk as well as an unnecessary administrative burden. In the new distributed environment, single IDs can be used in multiple locations, saving considerable effort and support.
The performance of the system has increased significantly, as Guimond explains: “Our transaction throughput has doubled, while our batch processing time has halved – a great result.”
MPI’s Executive Director, Dale Bezte concludes: “This project has given us a documented system delivered on Windows. It performs better, gives us an improved integration capability with other systems, and has provided a path towards modernization of our applications and user interface into the future. HP and Micro Focus have gone the extra mile with us to ensure this success.” The former environment, a 300 MIPS mainframe, is being decommissioned in line with MPI’s strategy.
This project has given us a documented system delivered on Windows. It performs better, gives us improved integration with other systems and has provided a path towards modernization of our applications and user interface into the future.
HP looked at our environment in detail and recommended a modernization project with Micro Focus Enterprise Server and Enterprise Developer at the core of it.