3 Banken IT Modernizes its Mainframe Platform with Compuware

Industry: Banking

Solution:

“Compuware is exemplary in its development and continues to surprise us with helpful innovations” – Jennifer Sehner, System Engineer

3 Banken IT Modernizes its Mainframe Platform with Compuware

Compuware Provides a Streamlined Graphical Environment for Mainframe Development

”3 Banken IT” GmbH is the IT service provider of the 3 Banken Group. As a general contractor, 3 Banken IT designs, manages and operates the entire IT infrastructure for the independent regional banks, Oberbank AG, Bank für Tirol und Vorarlberg AG (BTV) and BKS Bank AG. More than 300 employees, including over 70 mainframe developers, are responsible for providing application and system software, as well as for supplying hardware and other services for smooth and state-of-the-art financial banking operations in Austria and its neighboring countries.

For 3 Banken IT, it is crucial to design mainframe infrastructures that will remain viable and agile in the future. The entire core banking system, payment traffic and processing of all transactions—both in Austria and foreign branches in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary—run on the mainframe. Modern applications such as online banking and app-based payment processing need to be integrated with the mainframe environment. Furthermore, the mainframe platform must be designed to be accessible and user-friendly for next-generation developers. One of the objectives is to gradually automate mainframe software development processes.

A Purely Graphical Interface for Software Development and Deployment

3 Banken IT has consistently modernized the development of their mainframe applications with Compuware Topaz Workbench. 3 Banken IT has found that Topaz:

  • Addresses the knowledge gap between experienced and new mainframe developers
  • Provides a simple, intuitive and familiar GUI environment that enables next-generation developers to get started with the mainframe with minimal effort
  • Provides an Eclipse-based development environment, a platform for 3 Banken IT to develop and test mainframe applications
  • Accelerates the learning curve of novice developers
  • Allows developers to work on cross-platform applications.

As such, this interface meets all the expectations of today’s developers. 3 Banken IT consistently relies on this integrated development environment. Developers no longer work with Compuware products directly on the mainframe, but only through this graphical interface. Time-consuming transfers between different systems are now a thing of the past.

“Compuware is very progressive in its focus on graphical user interfaces. We cannot find the same approach with any other provider. The mainframe meets the expectations of a new generation of developers, who now can easily write code on their own without any previous knowledge of mainframe development,” explains Martin Etzelstorfer, Group Manager for Database Systems & Development Tools at 3 Banken IT.

Topaz Workbench and ISPW—A Powerful Combination for Modern Mainframe Development

3 Banken IT has also recently started using Compuware ISPW. Initially, 3 Banken IT used a competing product as their change and configuration management software. However, new Agile development methods require an advanced solution, for example, integration of the graphical user interface for version control.

3 Banken IT chose ISPW, a comprehensive CI/CD solution, because it is fully integrated into the Topaz Workbench and allows for rapid and reliable mainframe source code management. It also offers tools to create and deploy in compliance with continuous delivery requirements. The automation ensures a faster deployment process that includes checks and approvals. At the same time, this allows for substantially simplified full or partial rollbacks.

The visualization functions of ISPW allow those responsible to identify deployment problems very quickly. This allows the immediate resolution of rollout problems and eliminates bottlenecks in code processing. Full integration with third-party solutions and the Compuware mainframe toolkit allows 3 Banken IT to develop complete DevOps pipelines from software change management to production.

ISPW also allows 3 Banken IT to model software development and make individual releases for each of the three banks. This allows for a highly efficient internal version control. The entire process—from development to release—now runs smoothly and mostly automatically.

Overview of Advantages and Benefits of ISPW

Thanks to the deployment of ISPW and the smooth integration with Topaz Workbench, 3 Banken IT enjoys the following advantages:

  • Possibility of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery processes
  • Faster rollout and efficient operation of new designs and releases
  • Focus on new, Agile designs and process enhancements
  • Smooth transition of mainframe stewardship to a new generation of developers
  • Automatic deployment notifications and version control for all three client banks

The overall result is far greater efficiency in mainframe application development and deployment. A further advantage is that the administration and maintenance of ISPW, for instance, when it comes to upgrades, can be done internally within the system without having to switch back and forth between different environments and sessions.

“No additional testing environment is necessary because all the tests run in a separate sector that is integrated directly into the development system. This was not possible with the previous version of the product and represents a significant improvement in the process of testing new applications for their functionality and stability,” explains Jennifer Sehner, System Engineer at 3 Banken IT. “We now find relevant and critical points considerably faster and more reliably.”

First-class Support with Great Expertise and Commitment

Thanks to its thorough documentation, 3 Banken IT was able to install ISPW swiftly and seamlessly. “What we like about Compuware products is that you are given step-by-step guidance throughout the installation process, and there are no complications whatsoever when it comes to putting these solutions into practice,” says Jennifer Sehner. “Furthermore, ISPW is very easy to configure, which allows for a high scalability of the product.”

The team in charge at 3 Banken IT particularly appreciates the first-class German-language support provided by Compuware. “There is very detailed technical knowledge available here, combined with a strong service mentality. Compuware is constantly developing its solutions and delivering new releases,” says Martin Etzelstorfer. “Our contacts at Compuware respond quickly and competently. Often, we open a case and get a straightforward solution without having to provide further information. Inquiries are often answered within an hour, and we are up and running again within just two hours—we really appreciate such a quick response.”

Consistent Mainframe Modernization

Compuware is constantly improving its solutions to help customers, such as 3 Banken IT, retain and increase the value of their existing investments in mainframe technology. The straightforward design and simplicity of the solutions help new mainframe developers grasp even older, very complex and poorly documented systems with ease. This allows them to update and maintain them as well as correct any errors.

“Compuware is exemplary in its development and continues to surprise us with helpful innovations,” says Jennifer Sehner.

Our team members are also often curious to see what a new release will bring. For example, the ISPW Deployment View, in the similarly supported Web GUI, now runs much more efficiently. In addition, another new feature now provides necessary information about modules and processes directly via the context menu in the preview, which greatly simplifies its handling. It is precisely such improvements that boost developers’ productivity and make their daily work easier.

Future Performance Analysis

In the future, 3 Banken IT plans to further leverage Compuware Strobe to analyze the CPU usage of an application even before it goes live. This performance analysis allows for increased CPU efficiency, which is particularly relevant with regard to a new consumption-based billing model. 3 Banken IT also evaluates and optimizes existing applications with regard to CPU usage.

The Objective: Complete Integration and Automation

3 Banken IT has already made great strides in mainframe testing and quality assurance through the use of Compuware solutions, as well as important first steps toward automation on the mainframe platform. We plan to continue on this path together with Compuware and the team in charge of the application development.

The demand for integration of Agile products is constantly growing among the developers. The integration of such DevOps tools makes the whole work much easier. Further automation, such as the integration for the syntax check, is already underway and holds the promise of further efficiency gains. Moreover, 3 Banken IT intends to replace two existing third-party tools by using a modern data handling solution from Compuware to allow the user to execute SQL statements directly from the Workbench.

“We are already using ISPW through Topaz Workbench, which offers us a huge advantage in that our entire tool set, from design to live launch, is completely integrated and no switching or platform migration is required,” says Jennifer Sehner. “We are determined to further pursue this path.”

It is therefore the objective of 3 Banken IT to integrate all application development tools into the Topaz Workbench in the future. The same goes for all proprietary and third-party solutions. This is fully possible through Eclipse extensions. ISPW and Topaz Workbench have significantly improved the speed and quality with which 3 Banken IT delivers new software developments. The graphical interface provides a state-of-the-art development environment for the aspiring next-gen developers. Furthermore, work processes in mainframe development have been considerably simplified.

“We were able to take a major step toward agile work processes and the automation of our software development,” says Martin Etzelstorfer. “With Compuware, we can continue to further refine the mainframe in the direction of increased agility to ensure that it fully meets the demands of today’s banking environment.”

CHALLENGES

  • Leverage Agile and modern practices on the mainframe
  • Inspire next-generation developers to work with the
    mainframe by simplifying application development
  • Develop straightforward version control and
    deployment processes for three individual banks
  • Automate separate processes in application
    development
  • Make future-oriented development possible

RESULTS

  • Development, configuration management
    and rollout with a purely graphical interface
  • More reliable error analysis and faster rollouts
  • Continuous software delivery
  • Development and management of mainframe
    applications for a new generation of developers
  • Acceleration of mainframe development while
    maintaining high quality
  • Simplified and Agile work processes on the mainframe