Mainframe COBOL to Java, C# & Cloud


State Of Maine - COBOL to Java

    SoftwareMining's COBOL to Java Migration tools used in modernization of
Tax System for State of Maine Revenue Services



The State of Maine overcomes Tax integration challenges with SoftwareMining


The state of Maine's tax system was originally written in COBOL, using CICS and DB2 and running on zOS. However, it didn't always work with more contemporary IT tools, integration was a constant issue, and it was often cumbersome to swich between functions or to share data with popular desktop tools. It was becoming increasingly difficult to be responsive to change requests and enhancements, and SoftwareMining's intervention helped to overcome these substantial challenges.

K Peterson of Maine Revenue Services said:
"We are seeing great benefits from this transformation program. Not only have we achieved our cost and maintainability goals but our users are now more productive and can give a better service to the citizens of Maine."

The State of Maine Challenge

The state of Maine's evaluation of how to better service Maine taxpayers and reduce the overall cost of IT led it to a conversion of its COBOL application to Java/J2EE using SoftwareMining's conversion tools. The tax system, installed in the mid-1990s was showing its age, having been written in COBOL, using CICS and DB2, and running on zOS.

COBOL is no longer taught at most universities and colleges. Students today are being trained on more modern languages, such as JAVA and C# that take advantage of new technologies. Maine was concerned that it would not be able attract the best and brightest talent and might be seen as a less desirable employer with antiquated technology.

The Project

The state evaluated several options including a manual rewrite, installing a new package, or transforming their existing COBOL system into Java. The manual rewrite would have taken too long and been too prone to error. Using a new package meant that the customizations they had in their current system would have to be given up. There would also be a huge learning curve. In the end, SoftwareMining's approach allowed the conversion of their existing CICS COBOL to a more modern and maintainable Java code base, and allowed them to keep the functionality they needed. Across four phases of the resultant project, approximately 600 programs were converted, including batch and interactive, serving 250 online users. The System's Integrator Revenue Solutions Inc. (RSI) was selected to assist in the conversion. RSI specializes in helping government agencies - primarily tax, labor and child support - to meet their business objectives of streamlining operations and improving compliance using enabling information technologies. Four full-time programmers from Maine Revenue Services were assigned per project phase, plus two part time DBA/tech environment representatives. Hardware and software services were provided by Maine's Office of Information Technology.

The Outcome

The project saw a smooth transition with relatively few issues. All enhancements to the original system remained intact and no functionality was lost. Additionally, testing was simplified since the application's functionality was completely familiar. Maine Revenue Services estimated that the overall costs of this project were 70% less expensive than purchasing a replacement system. In addition, because the system was transformed as opposed to replaced, training costs were virtually eliminated, saving even more. With a single transformation project, the goals of Maine Revenue Services had been met and surpassed. Uniquely, SoftwareMining enabled the modernization of the business application with no loss of functionality, and delivered a maintainable environment to meet business response goals. According to industry analysts, more than 70% of IT budgets are spent on the maintenance of legacy systems. Using our technology, Maine has been able to reduce this cost dramatically while simultaneously improving IT and business services delivery.




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