Modernising legacy technology
About the client
The State of New Mexico Human Services Department provides services to more than 800,000 State residents. Jumar worked with the department to enable it to upgrade its CA Gen application system (and supporting environments), which is used by the State to manage various child support functions.
CA Gen Upgrade with additional consultancy
- Project completed to budget and within agreed duration
- Client now has fully supported version of CA Gen
- Upgrade (v6.5 to v8.0) passes through v7.6 – generally accepted to be a major step
- Facilitated by automation tooling
- Client benefited from skills transfer
- Additional consultancy provided thanks to Jumar’s expertise
What was required
SoNM-HSD has made a significant investment in CA Gen technology and skills for more than fifteen years – and it is core to the State’s Child Support Enforcement System (CSES).
CSES, implemented in 1998, is hosted on a mainframe and is classed as a ‘legacy application’. The vast majority of this environment is created and maintained with CA Gen, and its scale is considerable. The CA Gen application contains nearly 800 procedure steps, 2,400 action diagrams, and more than 300 external action blocks.
Due to this high dependence on CA Gen, SoNM-HSD needed to ensure this critical technology was future-proofed and deployed to a fully supported platform. It was therefore necessary to perform a significant version upgrade project to move to a more current version of CA Gen to secure the future support for the business critical application. The department was concerned that the risk of unsupported code in the environment was increasing, and recognised the need to mitigate this risk via a predictable, reliable and seamless transition to a later supported version of CA Gen.
SoNM-HSD engaged Jumar as a recognised CA Gen specialist to support a comprehensive upgrade project – including an in-depth assessment of the existing environment, a model corruption clean-up exercise, standardisation of the various supporting environments, skills transfer / coaching and consultancy advice across the upgrade program of work (leveraging Jumar’s broader skills in mainframe, DB2 and CICS technologies).
The upgrade (from CA Gen version 6.5 to 8.0) was completed to budget and within the agreed duration. SoNM now has a fully supported version of CA Gen, with which it can confidently continue to develop and maintain functionality to provide vital child support services to hundreds of thousands of State residents.
The concept of an upgrade project sounds relatively straightforward. It is simply a transition to a later version of the same software, but in Jumar’s experience, it is rarely that simple. Typically there are many technical dependencies to consider including interfaces to external systems. With such a vital system requiring upgrade, SoNM-HSD needed to find technical experts capable of performing upgrades to mission-critical systems with minimal impact on the development team and production implementation.
Jumar was the obvious choice: We previously worked with Jumar in 2010, so we knew of their expertise and considerable reputation in the global CA Gen community. We particularly valued the fact that we share the same mindset and risk-mitigated approach to projects of this magnitude.
CAROL THOMAS (SONM-HSD DEPUTY CIO)
The close working relationship between Jumar and SoNM-HSD was key to achieving the success of this project. The process was broken down into six distinct stages, each of which was meticulously planned following the completion of Jumar’s CA Gen upgrade readiness questionnaire, from which project parameters and metrics were derived.
The upgrade project was performed in a separate environment to the current CA Gen production installation. This allowed the project to be carried out in parallel with no interruption to any ongoing production work. Jumar’s team (deployed on-site in Santa Fe) worked with SoNM-HSD to establish this installation and test this new CA Gen v8 environment.
Analysis of the existing “pre-upgrade” environment was carried out by selecting the various appropriate elements of Jumar’s MAPS software suite. MAPS (Modernisation Automated Product Set) is a collection of automated software tooling which has been tailored and deployed for clients across five continents to modernise and/or upgrade CA Gen application portfolios.
In the SoNM-HSD upgrade project scenario, the Jumar team used the following Jumar MAPS tools:
CAintool and CRintool
…to analyse and remediate CA Gen model corruptions (pre-existing within the source CA Gen system).
…to fully investigate and understand the existing ‘as is’ unsupported CA Gen model situation.
…to assess the requirements for the CA Gen upgrade process.
During the following stage of the project (Upgrade execution), Jumar took the lead – but worked very closely with SoNM-HSD staff to allow their team to benefit from the skills transfer opportunity. This is a key philosophy for Jumar – to ensure that the customer gains significant educational benefit in the context of their “real-world” project.
Knowledge transfer is a fundamental part of any project for us. We particularly value Jumar’s approach to projects of this nature, as we were sufficiently involved in the relevant parts of the project to allow our teams to learn and absorb what was taking place, but without intruding on their day-to-day workload. This puts them in a much stronger position, going forward, as they have the knowledge and confidence to allow us to derive future benefits from our upgraded CA Gen implementation.
TERESA HENKE (SONM-HSD DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF)
At the end of the upgrade execution phase, basic technical verification testing was performed by Jumar to ensure that the application was generated and deployed correctly, ahead of the SoNM-HSD QA and test phases.
The deployment process was led by SoNM-HSD, but with constant close-working with Jumar consultants to help address ad-hoc technical issues that resulted from the deployment of the upgrade to test and production environments. At a critical stage very late in the project lifecycle Jumar’s knowledge of mainframe technology proved extremely beneficial, as they provided a high degree of flexibility to support SoNM-HSD to help resolve “out-of-scope” mainframe environment issues relating to SoNM usage of CICS and DB2 technologies.
At Jumar, the concept of ‘project closure’ is much more than just ‘handing over the keys’ to the upgraded system. It is a chance to ensure all objectives were met satisfactorily, and to learn any lessons resulting from the project. In this case, the issue of team working was particularly valued – as was the joint level of planning, communication and production of supporting documentation. Most importantly, however, the primary objective of the project was achieved – to budget, and in the overall timescale specified. Jumar was able to add value along the way with its proven methodologies, solutions and apply additional consultancy expertise as and when required.
What sets us apart
Professionalism – Jumar is the global leader in CA Gen consultancy and modernisation services, with access to considerable numbers of CA Gen expert resources, many of which have worked with the technology for 20+ years.
Flexibility – Jumar’s global presence allows for greater productivity and agility to deal with any issues encountered during a project
Responsiveness – Jumar can provide teams on-site or remotely and, thanks to its services/recruitment division based in the UK, can source global expert resources at very short notice
Delivery focused mindset – Jumar’s philosophy of customer engagement is one of the main reasons it has so many satisfied clients after undergoing such complex projects.