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First Data Corporation
|Fujitsu VME COBOL
|Compaq SCO Unix
Micro Focus COBOL
First Data Corporation is an American Company with an annual turnover of $7 billion and a net profit in the region of $1.2 billion. First Data acquired ACTIVE from The Bank of Ireland in 2003 to add to their portfolio, which already included companies such as Western Union. ACTIVE specialises in Electronic Funds Transfer, and was an independent company before being bought by the Bank of Ireland in the late 1990s.
In January 1995, the contract to migrate ACTIVE's Fujitsu VME/TPS system onto Compaq servers was awarded to Legacy Software Downsizing. The new platform consisted of SCO Unix and Micro Focus COBOL.
The migrated system was completed and delivered to ACTIVE in June the same year, a mere five months later.
The LSD approach chosen by ACTIVE ensured that the systems could be migrated to the new platform quickly, without the need to rewrite the existing code. It also meant that support and maintenance of the new Unix application could be achieved with the minimum of retraining.
The VME mainframes were phased out during 1996. At the end of that year, ACTIVE's turnover was £3.9 million and its profit before tax was £137,000. Fifteen months later, turnover and profit had increased.
The growth and increase in profits was, in some part, due to LSD's migration of ACTIVE's EFT systems from VME to Unix which transformed this part of the business.
Postscript: Four Years On
The Electronic Transfer systems migrated by LSD are now the core of the most profitable part of ACTIVE's business, dealing with 70% of their turnover. The growth has continued, with turnover increasing year on year. Profits are now £7.1 million.
ACTIVE has modified the migrated system to include optical character reading and created a Euro compliant system as a further service to their clients. This is held separately and includes an extra screen to enter an exchange rate. It also performs various checks throughout the process.
In terms of performance, a batch process which had been taking 2 hours on the Fujitsu VME mainframe was reduced to 3 minutes. During the migration process the Y2K compliance conversion was made easier than it would have been on the mainframe by the conversion of a number of dates which may otherwise have given cause for concern.
Postscript: Ten Years On
The Electronic Transfer systems are now running so well that they now process many times the volume of data originally processed by the Fujitsu VME Mainframe. First Data now has around 120,000 clients for this service. It employs about 250 on-line users on normal days, but this rises to 700 at month end. The performance of the migrated system is said to be excellent.
This is an amazing success story, and just goes to prove that software written in the 1980s can have a very productive life when the migration is handled by the experts.
Those who are interested in how the Electronic Funds Transfer system is currently performing can talk to Kevin Woodcock on 01709 448381.