To comply with banking and government institutions, (ECB and Banca d’Italia requirements among others) Dexia Crediop operates a set of statutory reporting applications in support of operational and financial control. This application is mainframe-based and was developed in-house using COBOL in the mid-2000s. Its daily batch operation reports on any bank actions which warrant further investigation.
Marco Pavonio, IT Manager at Dexia Crediop, explains the importance of the application: “Although this is just one of the applications in our portfolio, it’s quite complex and, above all, it is of critical importance as the consequences of non-compliance are far-stretching and could include financial sanctions and even operational suspension, so business continuity is of vital importance to us. However, our current IT strategy is moving away from the mainframe and we looked to consolidate our IT systems onto a more cost-effective platform. We wanted to innovate while minimizing any risk to our existing business operations.”
In order to achieve business innovation and cost reduction, Dexia Crediop initially looked at rewriting its mainframe application but soon found this was a high risk strategy which came with a big price tag and a two year project time scale.
As COBOL skills were already available in-house, and business continuity was the main driver, it made sense to Dexia Crediop to reuse the existing business logic already invested in the application. A market evaluation identified Micro Focus® Visual COBOL, as Pavonio comments: “Micro Focus helped us set up a testing phase in which we ran parallel operations on our mainframe and Windows environments. The service we received was outstanding and it really helped simplify the application re-hosting project for us.
We knew Micro Focus Visual COBOL had dealt with similar situations and were confident that it could help us too. We had weekly checkpoints to make sure the new environment was performing as it should and we established standards against which we tested the rehosted application. With Visual COBOL we could perform all the tests required using one set of integrated tools and after just one year we were able to decommission the mainframe and run our core business applications on our desired Windows environment, without any interruption to the business.”
Dexia Crediop moved from a terminal emulator-based editor to an Eclipse-based editor which offered great usability benefits. Debugging can be done much more efficiently in the new environment.