Bank Drives Mainframe DevOps with Compuware Topaz
To enable this, the Group’s French Retail Banking IT department has been advancing on a DevOps transformation journey and practicing Continuous Delivery, with a focus on delivering value to the business and customers with speed and efficiency through daily innovation. This transformation includes the acquisition of new powerful tools to drive IT modernization—including on the mainframe.
Advancing Mainframe DevOps
The IT department of Societe Generale’s French Retail Banking has integrated mainframe infrastructure into its IT strategy, with objectives to:
- Re-energize its mainframe development environment
- Remove obsolete mainframe technology
- Transform its mainframe into a modern Agile/DevOps platform
“The mainframe will always play an important role in IT, mainly in the services sector. More than half our lines of code are maintained on the mainframe. And almost all applications and new business initiatives are composite, involving both a mainframe and distributed legacy,” said Gatien Dupré, head of Societe Generale’s zDevOps IT initiative for French Retail Banking.
zDevOps: The Agile Mainframe
zDevOps, part of the the IT department’s Integrated Development Environment for Mainframe (IDEM) project, is aimed at modernizing mainframe applications and practices through Agile development and DevOps.
zDevOps Guiding Principles
- Know the goal to reach but be flexible when determining the path to take
- Adopt flexibility and agility by agreeing to adapt permanently
- Always build with users by meeting the needs of the business
“Our challenge was clearly to unite the teams around the zDevOps project,” Gatien Dupré said. “Another challenge was attracting talented next-gen developers to work on the mainframe.”
“To modernize development practices, generate productivity gains and foster generational renewal of developers, the mainframe must be transformed into an agile, innovation-oriented DevOps platform.”
This ambitious but pragmatic project has positioned Societe Generale as a pioneer of mainframe DevOps in French Retail Banking. But a successful outcome required modern mainframe development tools that empowered the IT department’s developers to preserve and advance its mainframe assets, kick-starting the process of analyzing multiple mainframe IDEs, with the end goal of finding a solution that would:
- Improve developer productivity across numerous mainframe technologies and languages
- Ease next-generation developers’ adjustment to and understanding of mainframe systems
- Bring the platform into the Group’s overall Agile/DevOps strategy
Compuware Topaz: Empowering a DevOps Approach
In 2016, Societe Generale began a two-month request for information (RFI) analysis of potential IDE solutions to power its mainframe investment strategy. Ultimately, the Group chose Compuware Topaz.
- Integrated suite of tools, not just a set of features
- Intuitive and adaptive for millennials
- Designed for Agile/DevOps teams
- Equipped with static and dynamic visualization capabilities to help developers literally see program structures
- Integrates with leading mainframe and non-mainframe DevOps tools such as SonarSource and Jenkins
- Provides the capability to develop plug-ins through Topaz Connect (a key adoption criterion for IT organization)
- Open and customizable through APIs
- Flexible with licensing
Easy Installation and Implementation
Beyond features, the IT department of Societe Generale’s French Retail Banking appreciated the easy installation, setup and startup of Topaz, as well as Compuware’s superior customer support. When it came to proof of concept, Topaz was installed by the bank’s developers themselves within an hour and was operational from day one.
Compuware provided the bank’s RFI teams with above-and-beyond assistance throughout the process, including training sessions; workshops; regular reviews with project team leaders; a user guide in the bank’s domestic language customized to their context; and access to support and product management to fix cases.
Maneuvering Massive Change on the Mainframe
“To put our mainframe DevOps transformation to the test and drive support for this massive change, we put in place a disruptive and humorous competition, proposing the teams ‘hunt’ for bugs and defects using Topaz.” Gatien Dupré said.
“This allowed us to strengthen the cohesion around the mainframe and demonstrated to the teams that the mainframe culture can very easily adapt and support the most innovative standards of IT to offer a development experience identical to other technologies such as Java.”
Today, the mainframe developers use the intuitive Topaz interface to foster cross-platform collaboration. With the help of Topaz, they increased mainframe development productivity within the first month.
“In less than two years, more than 90% of our IT employees are now engaged in mainframe DevOps!” Gatien Dupré said.
Beyond the technological performance of Topaz, what differentiated the solution for Societe Generale was the synergy between its own teams and Compuware, who worked collectively to ensure the success of this phase in the zDevOps project.
“The collaboration with Compuware was done naturally. It is built on our requirements, on agility and trust. We have found an expert partner who understands; does not hesitate to join the teams to solve a bug; and allows us to enroll the mainframe in a process of collective innovation,” Gatien Dupré said.
Compuware: A Partner for Mainframe DevOps and Collaborative Innovation
With the help of Topaz, the IT department is enabling mainframe DevOps and removing the platform from its silo—something many have struggled to envision as a reality for too long.
“By including the mainframe in a culture of agility, collaboration and DevOps, we disprove anti-mainframe pundits every day,” Gatien Dupré said.
This modernization of mainframe culture, processes and tools is enabling new communication, collaboration and transparency between teams, regardless of platform, ensuring they can co-construct quality customer-facing banking innovations with velocity and efficiency, as well as equip the next generation of developers to be productive on the mainframe.
“For 35 years, we had been using the V-Model, an extension of waterfall and a model in which the mainframe had to adapt,” Gatien Dupré said. “By changing the paradigm, the mainframe has adapted again to fit an approach of agile and sustainable innovation. The mainframe will remain a powerful, adaptable and scalable technology that we rely on to co-create value with the business.”