CTA Sistemas designs custom-made ERP solutions that assist with administration and management of distributor networks. CTA planned to modernize its COBOL application to align it with modern business requirements. A key component of the modernization effort was to maintain the intellectual property in its 10-year-old business application portfolio. Adir Dagostin, CEO at CTA Sistemas, explains the challenge: “We wanted to leverage our current resources and move our solution to a modern development environment that would enable us to support business change requests from our clients. However, we needed to do this without any interruption of existing service to our clients. We needed to maintain our business rules, easily install and manage new releases of our software and provide an opportunity for future modernization. We investigated the process of rewriting our solution but felt this would be too resource-intensive and presented high risk for our customers. We also considered other COBOL tools on the market but we needed an enterprise solution that would easily integrate with our Dialog system and this capability wasn’t available through these other market vendors. We had been using Micro Focus Net Express for more than 10 years and it had proven to be a stable and reliable solution. We talked to Micro Focus about a new future-proof application environment and were introduced to Visual COBOL.”
CTA Sistemas chose Visual COBOL because it could provide full continuity of service to its clients during a quick move to a new application environment. It would also enable CTA to modernize the application gradually by leveraging its business rules. CTA Sistemas can now provide vital new functionality to its clients, including PDF document integration and Excel spreadsheet generation. Previously, CTA had to build complex mechanisms to deliver and maintain these features. Now, the architecture extensibility within Visual COBOL means these new capabilities are easily achieved.
CTA’s application code was easily moved to a .NET platform, opening up future modernization and integration opportunities. Dagostin comments: “Using Visual COBOL has enabled faster integration with Windows Forms (WFA) and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) technologies allowing us to consider a new user interface strategy for our existing COBOL applications. A new UI wasn’t possible in our previous environment. Visual COBOL enables interoperability between our systems and our modular components now integrate more easily with the Microsoft .NET framework – all through a powerful set of integrated development tools using Visual Studio.”
The high compatibility between Net Express and the new Visual COBOL environment facilitated a fast and automated application transition. Without this compatibility, CTA Sistemas would have had to manually move clients to the new environment – too complicated and too costly. Visual COBOL simplified and accelerated the application upgrade process with little need for direct support from CTA Sistemas staff.
Dagostin emphasizes the importance of compatibility between environments: “Maintaining and carrying forward our business rules saved time and money; we estimate a cost saving of at least 85% over an application rewrite. It enabled us to maintain current price points with our clients while improving both overall capability and customer satisfaction.”
CTA Sistemas plans to utilize new UI technologies such as Microsoft Win Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation more extensively within their application portfolio and are designing new application features which will help its application portfolio take advantage of cloud technology.
Dagostin concludes: “Being connected to the latest technology enables us to develop and integrate our solution with other enterprise applications; it gives our development team a more agile and flexible environment to respond to business change requests. We feel the Micro Focus development tools are modern and very practical. Visual COBOL is clearly designed with the application developer in mind and maintains a focus on improving COBOL development without sacrificing quality. We love how easy it is to manage and deploy COBOL code in the .NET environment.”