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Case study

Visual COBOL supports digital banking strategy and delivers 65% faster time-to-market


OBS is a complete core banking system, combining banking and IT technical competence. Many modules make up the platform, such as taxes, securities, financial accounting, current accounts, credit and loans, and reporting. The platform was developed in the 1980s, and leverages COBOL. Patrick Weber, CEO at DIE SOFTWARE, explains the changing environment in which banks operate: “Digitalization is no longer spoken of as a trend; it’s a given and happening today. Within our customer base, open banking is a concept that requires collaboration with third parties and integration into different systems. Using pure COBOL can be a limitation with these requirements.”

He continues: “Many of our client banks deal in securities, generating terabytes upon terabytes of data, especially in Germany. With over two million securities stored in OBS, we wanted to streamline the process, to minimize required disk space and processing time. We needed a solution which reduced the data download feed and data storage requirements for the banks, and provided online access to enter and update securities.”


COBOL has served DIE SOFTWARE very well over decades of building the business and developing new banking services. The COBOL language is continually under development with Micro Focus and DIE SOFTWARE upgraded as new versions became available to give them advanced capabilities. Micro Focus Net Express had been their trusted and proven choice for distributed COBOL application development.

As digital strategies and a more connected world emerged, Micro Focus introduced Visual COBOL, which was a logical next step for DIE SOFTWARE. Using Visual COBOL for Eclipse enabled DIE Software to build a nextgeneration service for its securities offering. By implementing interfaces for SOAP and REST communication with different source systems, Visual COBOL seamlessly connects to Java, which simplifies collaboration with external financial systems.

Sven Oldenburg, CTO at DIE SOFTWARE, comments: “We have decades of COBOL experience within our company and it is great to leverage this in a new and modern development environment, where we work with COBOL and Java. Mixed language debugging helps us find problems fast and we don’t need SOAP or REST expertise because support for this is delivered through Java.”

Visual COBOL supports all platforms required by DIE SOFTWARE and leverages Eclipse as an integrated software development environment. In a relatively small company, all departments tend to work close together towards a common goal anyway, but having Visual COBOL in place improves developer collaboration.

Using Visual COBOL, a real-time online interface was developed, leveraging a SOAP/REST service. Client banks seamlessly connect to this via a SOAP API and can easily request, update, and delete their securities data around the clock. Apart from gaining the obvious benefit of real-time access, Weber highlights another advantage: “With our new real-time securities solution, developed with Visual COBOL, we have saved 95 percent of data storage space, as we don’t require the majority of tables we needed previously.”


DIE SOFTWARE banked on COBOL nearly 35 years ago. Today, the team still reap the benefits of this decision, according to Oldenburg: “Visual COBOL has opened up a new world of connectivity opportunities for us. We can collaborate and integrate with other software providers, delivering value-add to our banking clients. We also estimate that our time to market is 65 percent faster than it would be without Visual COBOL, thanks to the efficient mixed language development features and the improved developer collaboration.”

Weber concludes: “Reducing data storage requirements and providing real-time access to our securities service was a pressing issue for us. Micro Focus helped us define the solution and deliver it to our clients. We look forward to many more successful collaborations.”

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DIE SOFTWARE case study

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