Crossing the Generational Divide to Create New Business Value



Many companies invested a lot of time and money to build robust in-house business applications utilizing Mainframe languages and technologies.

The majority of those utilized COBOL as the programming language and CICS as the user interfaces. Do you remember the old green screens in old SciFi movies? Those were probably built with COBOL/CICS or similar legacy code.

With the advent of personal computers, the Internet and the fancy web-browsers, users got used to the convenience of dropdown lists, checkboxes, cut-and-paste, drag-and-drop, and full color-graphical interfaces. No one wants to deal with the monotone green screens any longer.

So how can we leverage our legacy code, huge mainframe databases and our baby boomer workforce to move into the Graphical User Interface (GUI) age?

At Calance, we adapted to the new realities very early on. Our initial efforts were as simple as exposing our reports on web browsers by converting mainframe text into HTML pages and sending them to web-servers via FTP.

Later on, we embarked on a major effort to modernize the Dealer Communications System (DCS) of one of our clients. We utilized Java programming language to develop a web based GUI application while leveraging our existing base of COBOL code and DB2 databases for the back-end.

This blend of modern Java web applications and legacy backend allowed us to reuse our large investments in COBOL/DB2/CICS and to utilize our experienced team of COBOL developers. The end product was very well received and heavily used by multiple partners.

For some of our clients, we needed to develop Windows applications that provided a central location for information needed to perform their daily tasks of reviewing warranty claims and providing prompt responses to customers.

The application used the latest Microsoft technologies like .Net, C# and SQL server. Legacy data needed for this function was interfaced on a daily basis between the mainframe and SQL servers.

Another major effort was undertaken to build a large data-warehouse with web based reporting and analytics for our clients.

The project utilized legacy COBOL code and utilities to extract and transform existing data into a format that can be used in SQL server databases.

The data was then transported into SQL tables and transformed into useful analysis cubes and reports.

A browser based tool was used to view and manipulate the data and to answer research questions for the end users. In many cases, the data warehouse and related analytical tools alleviated the need to produce and print canned reports from the mainframe.

The Calance team has the knowledge and experience in both legacy code and modern technologies and can assist you in leveraging your own legacy code and data to expose to new users and platforms. We can also help you make your legacy data available to mobile users.


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