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Case Study

CA-Telon Dismissal makes IBM Mainframe sustainable

The cooperation with PKS was professional and constructive throughout the entire project. The project has worked well in many ways, a deal-breaker for us was PKS flexible tool and their way of meeting our needs, which in this case saved us both time and money.

The initial situation

Our client is one of the largest banks in Northern Europe with a nationwide network of branches in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Great Britain as well as 38 branches and 4 representative offices in another 17 countries. For their lending and mortages core-banking business, CA-Telon, a Cobol code generator, has been used for many decades to develop applications on the IBM mainframe. CA-Telon was the first commercial program generator for commercial applications. The programs are designed with Telon and the development tool generates a source code in a conventional mainframe programming language from the design.

Since CA-Telon is no longer further developed by the current manufacturer Broadcom Inc. and our customer wanted to eliminate the dependency on CA-Telon from a commercial and knowledge point of view, they were looking for an alternative solution to expel CA-Telon in 2018. The goal was to transfer the core applications back to standard native mainframe Cobol so that a modern and current development environment such as IBM Developer for Z (IDz) could be used.

Complication and challenges

The Cobol code generated by CA-Telon is a machine-generated code, offering a certain comfort to the developer allowing very efficient software development. However, the generated Cobol code is not suitable for further development, it is not easy to maintain and interspersed with copybooks and standard routines. A solution had to be found that would enable the customer to reverse engineer the generated code into a maintainable scenario.
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The pain points were obvious:

Which procedure would enable the code to be transposed to a maintainable Cobol syntax?

How to replace the convenient CA-Telon Screen Designer by IDz?

How to minimize the test efforts by the end users and at the same time ensure that the resulting source code is 100% functionally identical to the generated code?

At the beginning, none of us (PKS nor the customer) knew down to the last detail what was coming. But it was interesting and exciting to dive into the depths of Telon and find good solutions together with the customer. Through regular open communication and uncomplicated cooperation, all hurdles and challenges were successfully overcome.

The customer found an optimal partner for the development and implementation of the
CA-Telon replacement strategy in
PKS Software GmbH:

The solution

PKS has a fully automated process that makes it possible to convert the generated Cobol code into the desired maintainable target Cobol code based on customer-specific requirements. In a proof of concept with a reduced subset of the application the technical feasibility was proven. The results of this preliminary study and PKS‘s approach gave the customer the necessary trust and confidence to start the project with PKS. The project was divided in phases, starting with batch programs and ending with online programs. Subsets were converted step by step, tested by the customer and finally transferred to the production system. In total, 1.371 batch routines and 520 online programs were migrated.

Einblick

Vor diesem Hintergrund entschieden sich Inhaber, Geschäftsführer und IT-Leiter für eine Zusammenarbeit mit der PKS Software GmbH:

Im Rahmen eines mehrmonatigen Assessments unter Federführung von PKS wurde die Kernanwendung in allen Bereichen auf den Prüfstand gestellt; angefangen bei der Abbildung der Prozesse über die Technologie, den Source Code und den Wartungsaufwand bis hin zu den Entwicklungsmethoden und den Qualifikationen der Entwickler. Das Gutachten ergab, dass eine Modernisierung der Altanwendung viel einfacher und günstiger zu realisieren war als eine Neuentwicklung. Denn die Ermittlungen zeigten, dass die eigenentwickelte Software einen hohen Wert besaß, der mit 1,6 Mio. Euro beziffert wurde. Heißt: Hätte man eine neue Software mit derselben Funktionalität schreiben wollen, wären ca. 1,6 Mio. Euro allein an Programmierkosten angefallen – Spezifikationen noch nicht eingerechnet.

Nach der ausführlichen Evaluierung der Schadenregulierungs-Software im Herbst 2015 und der Erstellung einer Modernisierungs-Roadmap gaben die Eigentümer im Mai 2016 das Startsignal für das Modernisierungsprojekt.

Das Projekt wurde in mehrere Schritte unterteilt, den zentralen Bestandteil bildete die Implementierung einer elektronischen Schadensakte anstelle papierbasierter Prozesse. Zudem wurde von PKS eine Weboberfläche für das komplette System auf Basis der eXcite-Technologie bereitgestellt und ein Abfrage-/BI-Tool auf Basis von Valence implementiert.

Throughout the entire project it was a very constructive, respectful cooperation on a technically very high level. This ultimately contributed to the success of the project despite the distance and language barrier.

Fazit

Mit dem IBM i Software-Assessment ist es der AVUS gelungen, innerhalb weniger Monate Klarheit über Inhalt sowie Gestaltung und Strukturierung der Software-Strategie zu erarbeiten. PKS konnte der AVUS durch die Unterstützung bei der Bewertung technischer Handlungsfelder sowie insbesondere auch bei der Erarbeitung der notwendigen organisatorischen Maßnahmen wertvolle Impulse geben. Besonders wertvoll war die an das Assessment anschließende Umsetzungsunterstützung durch einen erfahrenen PKS-Projektleiter sowie die Bereitstellung der notwendigen Entwicklerkapazitäten, die das nur 3-köpfige Entwicklerteam der AVUS unterstützten und fachlich erweiterten.

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Dank unserer langjährigen Expertise in komplexen Software-Projekten konnten wir allen Anforderungen gerecht werden und die Projektziele des Kunden in Time & Budget erreichen.

Ausblick

Durch die Umsetzung der Modernisierungsroadmap ist es der AVUS gelungen, ihre Wettbewerbsvorteile zu stärken und für die Zukunft abzusichern. So können dank der Individualsoftware mit einzelnen Kunden sehr unterschiedliche Service Level Agreements vereinbart und umgesetzt werden. Im weiteren Verlauf gilt es nun, auch das Entwicklerteam erfolgreich durch den Generationswechsel zu begleiten.

The advantages for the customer

With the PKS converter technology YYOP, a 100% automated transformation and re-engineering of the Cobol sources is achieved with very good maintainability of the target code.
New employees understand the code very quickly and are now enabled to complete any maintenance and modification work quickly and without errors.
The architecture of the system will be improved, thus minimizing the costs for future maintenance and further development of the applications. This is achieved by separating the application layer from the technology layer and encapsulating them in macros.
The scope of the source code after all optimization measures is very manageable and could be reduced by 19% compared to the original CA-Telon generator. This reduction was possible based on code externalization, elimination of dead code and other optimizations.
By provisioning of a Screen Designer, an Eclipse plugin, that completely replaces the CA-Telon Screen Design Tools, the maintainability of the online programs is near as comfortable as before.
Thanks to code coverage tools, the cost- and time-intensive specialist testing required during application transformation was minimized.
The maintenance costs for the CA-Telon tools are completely eliminated.

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