Involvement / Productivity

New software applications always face resistance from end-users : they have to change their working habits, explore new ways of doing the usual business and spend time to master the new system to feel again “at home”.

Their productivity gets necessarily diminished for a while before rising again and improve over the previous one.

In the current difficult economical climate, it is probably a bad idea to disturb those end-users getting the business done even if it is for the purpose of saving millions of euros / dollars t transform the mainframe to a much more cost-efficient x86 system.

Eranea has spent lots of time and energy in the development of its technology to hide the transformation toward x86 to end users : after the migration, they see in the browser the exact same screens that they were previously seeing in their 3270 emulator. All fields are identical in formats, positions and colors and all the navigation shortcuts are emulated (via Javascript) to deliver the same interactions.

You just tell them at some point in the migration process that they have to stop their emulator and start using the browser. You supply them with the URL of the login screen and it’s done !

The end-user will just find everything as it was before : no needs for training, additional support, etc.

Additionally, as Eranea’s solution is fully incremental, you don’t need to switch entire departments (legal, marketing, sales, etc.) at once : some users of the department can be designated as “explorers” who will validate for some days that everything is ok before the entire crew migrates.

This incremental switching process can also be planned to match other business constraints : no need to bother sales persons closing their quarters while you can quietly migrate other entities (marketing, factories, etc.) under less constraints at that moment.

A big-bang approach, beyond the global risk that it generates for the entire corporation, would never bring such a flexibility for specific parts of the company. You would always migrate at a bad day for some departments or you would wait forever until you get green light from all of them…

Eranea proposes an incremental process that can be extended over many months to match all constraints within the organization but still reach milestones in the transformation as the various departments get migrated at the most appropriate moment from their own perspective and incrementally within the department itself to make sure that all objectives can be met anyway !

This incremental and invisible process drastically reduce risks but also disturbance : the transformation can be planned with minimal resistance from end users as their effort is drastically reduced and as they can achieve their own objectives anyway.

From the developer’s perspective, transcoding legacy to Java is also a very acceptable perspective.

Developers understand very early in the transformation process that their programs will still exist after the transformation. They will keep their original structure but just be expressed in a new programming language, Java. So, they will remain the most appropriate person to pursue the evolution of those programs on the new technological platform. Their job is saved and they satisfied !

The only thing required from them is the effort to adapt to a new programming environment like Eclipse IDE and also learn a new programming language, Java. Something that they probably already did many times over their career. They also realize that Eranea has tools to minimize their learning curve : transcoding and editing via an ad hoc Eclipse plugin, extensions to interactive debugger to respect Cobol data structures, etc.

When they compare the transcoding alternative to the off-the-shelf package (ERP, etc.) alternative usually also being examined at decision time for mainframe transformation, it gets clear that the most beneficial option for them from a job continuity perspective is transcoding. It gains their adhesion to the project.

Doing a full transformation to x86 is clearly a technological project but gaining adhesion from key stakeholders like developers is essential : their full support is needed to succeed in such projects.

Such a project is not only about transcoding existing programs to new language to allow their execution on a new platform, it is also mainly about migrating developers and sysadmins to this new platform. Their journey starts by getting them convinced that the project is rather an opportunity than a threat for them.

When their mind is in this positive mood, they will deliver full support to make a success of the project !

That is the reason why Eranea has invested so much efforts in tools like NeaControlCenter or the Eclipse plugin : they put the key people, developers and system engineers, in the driver seat during and after the transformation in order to make them the biggest supporters of the project.