Any organization in business since 1919 would expect to have to update their infrastructure from time to time. But from what – and to what? Take the Banque Générale du Luxembourg (BGL). It was established nearly a century ago and has been a member of the BNP Paribas group since 2009.
Not only has it been in continued business over that time, it has also changed its business model, morphing from a large regional bank into an international investment operation offering services across Europe. Add in the transition of joining a larger group and any observer can see real progress – and the addition of plenty of complexity. To be specific, 15m lines of COBOL and 20,000 batch processes developed over 40 years.
It is a familiar story for many Micro Focus customers in the financial sector and beyond. Long-established applications being re-purposed to do new things that the original creators could not possibly have foreseen. Who imagined that decades-old banking applications would have been asked to support a mobile app? It’s a business challenge that we are often asked to resolve.
The continued dependence of large organisations on mainframe COBOL and PL/I applications is as familiar as the challenge of supporting and maintaining these systems. But every problem is an opportunity for someone to create a solution, and COBOL and PL/I have plenty of potential for the future.
As IBM and others constantly remind us, every year $6tn of credit and debit card transactions still depend on these languages. Without COBOL and PL/I we would not be able to check our bank balance or flight details using our phones. So many times these organizations go to the well to get the IT infrastructure that has supported their processes for decades to deliver innovation, and every time, with a little help, their applications deliver what they need.
Different vendors offer different solutions to the problem of achieving modernization. Some offer industry specific packages that promise the customer an off-the-peg, one-size-fits-all replacement for their bespoke solution. Others offer to transform the application from one computer language to another, taking the COBOL and PL/I to JAVA, for example, with the promise that nothing will be lost in the translation.
In contrast, the Micro Focus approach preserves the customer’s investment in COBOL and PL/I by providing compilers compatible with those used to develop the original application. These compilers can be run on Linux, UNIX or Windows, so the customer can rehost the application on the platform that best fits their business need. These industry leading development tools can modernize the application to adapt and evolve with the demands of the business, and the inevitable changes in technology.
Like BGL BNP Paribas, Micro Focus has built a solid reputation on decades of quiet success. We help our customers to rehost their key applications to a fit-for-purpose platform, and provide the development tools that enable these applications to evolve to meet the demands of the digital age.
BGL BNP Paribas are just one example of a customer that we have helped face, and overcome, the challenge of resolving conflicting requirements, meeting the legislative demands of multiple countries, modernise their current applications and reduce their costs.