Technical Solutions for COBOL

Redvers COBOL XML Interface - Case Study

Standard Life (UK)

In February 2005 UK financial services company Standard Life announced that it had saved £2m ($4m) over the past three years by reusing in-house code.

This saving was made possible by the creation of what the company describes as a "hub-centric architecture", more commonly known in the industry as "Service Oriented Architecture", which enables applications to link to proven services on its IMS and DB2 mainframe databases using XML.

Standard Life currently use about 250 of these services to provide functions from claims processing to debit card entries, amounting to 1.6 million transactions per day, generating 40% of the total systems load.

The majority of services are deployed as Java components with the minority installed on the mainframe as IMS Business Services. It is these IMS Business Services that depend on the Redvers COBOL XML Interface to convert data between the COBOL and XML formats.

Steve Davey, Senior Designer at Standard Life, says "These still operate with an XML interface (i.e. the front-end application does not need to know where or how the service has been deployed - it just sends an XML message)". Davey added "I also understand from our development teams that more of this type of service will come on-line this year."

The "£2m saved" figure was calculated from real-time reuse of all services, captured by Standard Life's framework code.

In order to qualify for this, the service would have to have been used by at least 2 calling applications, i.e. as well as being used by the original application that required it, it has also been "reused" by another, saving the second application a certain amount of development time and cost. These "occurrences of reuse" are then tallied up to give £2m.

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