Since 2003, Maxicambios has relied on its currency exchange management system to support its business operations. This core application was developed using Micro Focus RM/COBOL. The system has grown over the years and today contains 1,250 programs. It provides a character based environment allowing business users to manage the back office systems, the currency exchange systems and various other products between the 14 Maxicambios branch offices in Paraguay. It is accessed internally by up to 120 users as well as externally, by third-party agents producing currency exchange quotations for enterprise clients.
The company’s growth, competitive pressures, and increasing market expectations were leading Maxicambios to consider modernizing its business-critical application. It wanted to give its customers access to information through mobile platforms and leverage the web more effectively by improving the user experience. Maxicambios also wanted to deploy a more productive development environment for its developers.
The objective was to find a solution to enable the organization to pursue its modernization goals, while ensuring ongoing business continuity. Alfredo Mujica, IT Manager, explains: “We wanted to reuse our existing business logic as it would have minimal impact on our existing business operations and give us a cost-effective and fast time-to-market solution to modernization. It is also important that we maintain our competitive advantage by keeping our intellectual property within our application. We looked at solutions from other market vendors, but estimated it would take us up to two years to deploy and cost approximately $100,000. We were familiar with Micro Focus and happy to stay with COBOL. Moving to Visual COBOL would offer us a cost-effective and solid path to the future.”
Already familiar with the COBOL language, Maxicambios’ development team was quickly up to speed with Visual COBOL for Eclipse. Following the installation and fast configuration of the Micro Focus technology, a smooth upgrade of 1,250 COBOL programs was carried out. One-by-one the 14 branch offices were put into production. Application development can now be done both in COBOL and Java, which enables Maxicambios to smoothly integrate Java developers into its COBOL development team.
The delivery of the modern development environment through Visual COBOL gives Maxicambios a more productive development team. Mujica comments: “The increased flexibility and the integration of our IT architecture with Visual COBOL gives us greater project control and agility while enabling us to improve our delivery time for new enhancement and maintenance requests.” Overall, the development process has vastly improved. Application upgrade paths are better defined, and the development team enjoys the opportunity to work with a modern toolset.
Using the Visual COBOL for Eclipse development environment, Maxicambios provides new business interfaces to its customers, leveraging web services technology. This dramatically improves the end user experience, which was character-based in the previous application. This capability also enables the business to target mobile technology as a further means for engaging with its customers. Mobile is a priority for Maxicambios in its goal to reach new markets and customers.
Mujica concludes: “By modernizing our key application with Visual COBOL, we have substantially reduced our business risk while saving costs. We estimate an alternative solution would have cost us 40% more, delivering a direct impact on our bottom line. We have been able to keep our competitive market advantage and today have a highly scalable and easy-to-maintain development environment which will serve us well into the future.”