Many financial systems are dated in some way, either due to mainframe platforms with spaghetti connections, or legacy software code and hardware, yet they remain integral to the core financial operations of the business. The advantages of updating legacy applications or software to modern ones based on customer demands are obvious, but so are the obstacles to making this transition.
As is evident in this case, a leading African bank needed to leverage its extensive investments in developing and enhancing its systems over the last twenty years and implement a modern system that is fully scalable and runs on industry-standard technologies. Prosol group stepped in to add value and ensure the longevity of the bank’s Vehicle finance system.
Developed over the last 20 years using the Rocket Software technologies wIntegrate, System Builder & SB+ and UniVerse, the bank’s maturing vehicle finance system presented a number of challenges. Not only was the system outdated from a user experience perspective, but the organization was also inhibited by the lack of skilled MultiValue application developers and technical support consultants as well as the resultant cost of these resources.
Furthermore, the technology limited horizontal system scalability, severely affecting system performance and hampering business growth. In order to add or remove resources from the resource pool, horizontal scaling had to be deployed. It was therefore appealing to migrate their legacy systems since this does not require the rewriting or refactoring of applications.
The Solution: MVsharp and MVpro
MVsharp and MVpro are products conceptualized and developed by Prosol Group to take System Builder, SB+ and UniVerse applications and transpile them to produce managed code running in the .NET framework. Additionally, Prosol Group’s MVsharp is used for converting and populating the data to a choice of database management systems, such as SQL Server, Oracle, or DB2 from UniVerse and UniData. It was identified that these products were the perfect solution to their system technology upgrade dilemma.
MVpro enabled the bank to leverage its considerable investment in system development and enhancement over the last two decades and produce an up-to-date system that is fully scalable and runs on industry-standard technology.
In addition to this, the business will continue to benefit from skilled resource availability and the resultant reduction in cost and risk, as well as the ability to develop and enhance the application using the latest development tools and technologies.
Approach & Lessons Learned
The approach taken was to ensure a high degree of collaboration between the banking team and the Prosol Group team from the outset. The project was clearly defined with regards to expected outcomes as well as timeframes.
While the initial conversion took a few weeks, the process highlighted many shortcomings in the ageing code. Added to this, the conversion of the System Builder components and the wIntegrate environment added further complexity to the project.
The technical testing and user testing took the most time and effort. A testing process with documented test packs was developed, communicated to the various testing teams responsible for module functionality testing, and executed. The process was subjected to an internal banking audit to ensure the changes added value and ultimately improved the organization’s operations.
The result of the rigorous testing process was a thorough system clean-up which was long overdue, as well as a hands-on, experiential-based system training exercise for the development team and the business team; many of whom learned more about the system during this process than in the many years of actually using the system.
The upgraded system has been in use for several years now. It has remained stable and completely independent of the legacy MultiValue platform, following some expected issues initially. The bank’s development team also has a development plan aimed at migrating the skills base from SB+ to Microsoft in a controlled and managed way.
With the ability to separate the various layers of the technology stack, the database layer can reside in a secure area behind the firewall, which allows the business to execute expansion plans into new territories while adhering to data protection policies within these territories.
Of significant value to the organization is the ability to execute on a cloud-based strategy backed up by true scalability, security and business continuity provided through the Azure platform. Using their innovative MVpro and MVsharp products, Prosol Group was able to develop a solution their clients will be able to bank on for years to come.