Teleflora develops and maintains custom COBOL code that augments an off the shelf ERP solution. Every upgrade cycle requires time-intensive rewrites or changes. Teleflora needs to streamline its development processes and be more responsive to business requirements. It can’t afford to lose decades of business logic in its custom COBOL code.
In the late 1990s, Teleflora purchased a backend ERP system to help streamline flower orders from various channels, such as teleflora. com, directly from shops, or through partnerships with major companies. Orders are routed to the nearest member florist for processing and delivery. During a holiday period, such as Mother’s Day, Teleflora will process millions of flower orders.
To make the ERP system work for Teleflora, substantial customization was required, as Todd Boyd, Senior Software Architect at Teleflora, explains: “We operate quite a custom business model, so an off-the-shelf solution needed to be flexible enough to work for us. Thankfully this ERP system allowed us source code control and we were able to develop our own custom modules in COBOL. The development capability was limited, but it worked for us at the time.”
However, as time went on, Boyd noted some clear challenges emerging: “ERP system upgrades were problematic for us. Our custom code would be impacted by an upgrade and we might need to change or even rewrite modules. With limited development capability we couldn’t accommodate all business requirements which came to us, even when we could see they would improve our business model. And, finally, when the ERP vendor talked about moving their application to Java from COBOL, we realized our custom modules would not be supported. With 20+ years of business logic and thousands COBOL programs invested in a business-critical system, we could not risk losing this, and had to find another solution.”