Micro Focus

Success Story

Moving mission-critical application achieves over 50% cost savings and improves service levels.

“Micro Focus is a critical element of our success. Its approach to dealing with our challenges proved to be the best solution to moving our parts distribution network to a lower cost, lower risk platform.”

Alan McNabb
IT Manager—Parts
DaimlerChrysler South Africa

At a Glance




South Africa


  • Substantial savings of over 50% in annual hardware/software costs and other related expenses
  • ROI in 24 months
  • Response times and performance as good or better than the mainframe
  • Availability and security comparable to the mainframe


As a subsidiary to the global leader in the automotive industry, DaimlerChrysler South Africa is concerned with process improvement and cost reduction wherever and whenever possible. The lifeblood of DaimlerChrysler’s network of 100 dealerships in South Africa is its ability to provide first-rate service for its customers.

The backbone of all of the 100 service departments is the mainframe-based parts supply chain management system which ensures the right parts are available for service technicians at the right place and at the right time so customers’ service needs are taken care of as quickly and efficiently as possible.


Looking to optimize its IT infrastructure DaimlerChrysler SA turned to specialist systems integrators SPI Consulting, to move their existing after-sales support, parts distribution and supply chain management system to more open and extensible IBM Servers running AIX. As the parts supply chain management system was complex in nature with applications written in both Natural and COBOL, SPI Consulting engaged the services of MigrationWare, and application modernization experts, Micro Focus, to handle the COBOL and CICS side of this complex project in order to avoid disrupting the parts flow throughout the dealer network.


The project was complex as the application is a combination of COBOL and Natural, both utilizing the ADABAS database and is accessed by 1,700 users, typically 500 concurrently. This covers internal users based in three different locations around South Africa, including more than 100 dealers’ sites throughout South Africa, and links into principal suppliers based in Germany, the United States and Japan. More than one million lines of COBOL code and 7,000 Natural programs, needed to move from the existing (70 MIPS) mainframe to the target AIX server. The greatest challenge to the modernization project is that the COBOL and Natural parts of the application are designed to interact with the same user on the same terminal. This is not supported directly on AIX because each technology expects exclusive control of the user’s terminal. With the help of MigrationWare and Micro Focus, SPI Consulting made use of integration software created by both companies to overcome this conflict in technologies.

“Our technology and services combined with our extensive expertise in Micro Focus technology helped us complete a complex project in a relatively short timeframe. Working with SPI and Micro Focus to increase the value of existing IP for DaimlerChrysler shows the true power of partnership and the tangible results that can be achieved,” said Mark Cooper, Director, MigrationWare.

Micro Focus Enterprise Server® includes a highpowered CICS/COBOL transactional deployment environment that allows the entire application to be redeployed, relatively untouched, in the new environment. MigrationWare’s Native ADABAS precompiler for COBOL is critical to ensuring that the original source code can be moved without change to make it possible for the ADABAS statements embedded in the COBOL code to remain intact.

MigrationWare’s services and expertise in COBOL and COBOL/ADABAS integration together with its integration skills for COBOL deployment proved invaluable, as did the compatible COBOL and CICS capabilities provided within Micro Focus Enterprise Server. Micro Focus also provided its Enterprise Developer® environment to help with any necessary code during the move and for the ongoing maintenance of the application.


The modernization project was completed within 10 months, enabling DaimlerChrysler SA to meet its deadline to move the entire application for its after-sales support and parts distribution to a more cost effective AIX server environment.

With dramatic cost savings of 50% achieved, DaimlerChrysler SA is freeing up resources for future IT projects securing its competitive advantage in the South African market.

“As promised in our project evaluation, SPI Consulting expertise and proven track record of more than 30 successful individual modernization projects has once again delivered. The success of this project can only be due to contributions made by a dedicated team consisting of key staff from DaimlerChrysler, SPI Consulting, Micro Focus and MigrationWare,” said Ray Blignaut, Managing Director—SPI consulting.