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Accelerating Application Modernization at Airlines Reporting Corporation

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of conducting thorough present state analysis before building an application modernization roadmap. But just how beneficial can this first step be? Airlines Reporting Corporation’s (ARC) decision to assess business-critical mainframe applications provides an example.

A global pioneer in e-ticket processing and settlement, ARC’s central reporting and settlement system was originally built on a mainframe environment with COBOL and Adabas Natural applications. This system initially served the organization well, but as the rate of change in the airline industry accelerated, the cost and time required to make updates to this rigid legacy environment became exorbitant. Recognizing the need to respond more rapidly, ARC decided to move to an agile SOA environment.

Working with ARC’s Enterprise Architecture, Information Services, and Business Process teams, Dell Services reviewed the current operational model and desired future state. At the end of the five-week process, our team produced a detailed assessment report—ranking potential migration risks and problems, as well as providing specific recommendations to address identified issues.

The assessment surfaced some significant challenges, especially a lack of detailed information on legacy application business logic and interdependencies. Many current team members were unfamiliar with business rules embedded in code that was written over 25 years ago.

The assessment also uncovered a need to better understand other elements of the legacy architecture, including a back-end Area Settlement Plan application.Our consultants recommended that ARC use automated discovery processes to ensure that comprehensive information was captured to reverse-engineer current business rules to the new SOA framework.

Following this recommendation, ARC engaged Dell Services in a Portfolio Assessment. Dell Analyzer technology was instrumental in identifying and cataloging the relationships between data sets, application code, use cases and business processes. This information was made available to project members via Dell Repository, a collaborative, web-based portal. Our approach saved the ARC technical team approximately four months of effort and the end result was a complete picture of program interdependencies.

Undergoing an application portfolio assessment not only provided ARC with a realistic view of its current reality, it also set the stage for the company to move faster on projects that are beneficial to the business from an architecture perspective.

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