The Swiss Colony, Montgomery Ward, Seventh Avenue—these famous catalog brands are part of the 25 companies that make up Colony Brands and Affiliates.
The company got its start selling cheese and other grocery items but has since grown and expanded to include several operational support companies and a portfolio of affiliate businesses.
Colony Brands is perhaps best known for offering a wide array of products through its direct mail catalogs, such as apparel, shoes, home décor and furnishings, outdoor, health and beauty, electronics, toys, and food and gifts. Direct mail and online orders generate 94% of its sales, which is due, in part, to offering instant and other credit options to their customers.
SC Data Center, Inc., an affiliate of Colony Brands, had six core business systems (700 MIPS) housed on an IBM mainframe. This closed environment was preventing the client from meeting the performance expectations of increasingly tech and mobile savvy consumers. The mainframe was also preventing the company from being nimble and responsive to market changes and customer demands. SC Data Center, Inc. wanted to be able to innovate and decided that a move to the cloud would be their best option. Moving to the cloud would also eliminate high mainframe and infrastructure costs. The long-term goal was to shut down the mainframe completely.
After weighing several options, including application rewriting, SC Data Center, Inc. decided that modernizing its mainframe was the best choice. It would allow them to move legacy apps to the cloud without a major rewrite that could affect business logic and code. It would also set them up to re-architect and create new apps in the new cloud environment for the future. They also needed reliability and availability for all the processing, especially the real-time credit approvals.
SC Data Center, Inc. chose TmaxSoft OpenFrame to modernize its mainframe. A deciding factor in their choice of OpenFrame was the Active-Active Cluster, which provided the reliability and availability SC Data Center, Inc. needs to deliver efficiency, performance and speed. Another factor in the company’s decision was the OpenFrame business model.
The project scope for mainframe modernization with OpenFrame involved moving all the client’s legacy applications to the AWS cloud. This included interpreting the mainframe’s 3,685 COBOL applications and the 327 mainframe assembler programs, migrating the mainframe’s 867 middleware and on-premises CICS transactions and 5,766 batch processes, modernizing 4,741 datasets and 400 datacom tables and installing OpenFrame operation and management functions in the new environment. One of the key applications that was required to move forward with the mainframe modernization project was a packaged manufacturing suite. TmaxSoft teamed up with the customer and vendor and enabled the Assembler-based proprietary software to run flawlessly in production.
As a result of the project, all the client’s legacy apps are now on the AWS cloud. SC Data Center, Inc. reported an annual cost reduction of approximately 75%. Performance matched the expectations across their business operations, including for the online, real-time systems and web service transactions. OpenFrame on the AWS cloud platform also provides high availability and reliability so that an interruption in the cloud does not affect online processing.
Most importantly, SC Data Center, Inc. now has the infrastructure for innovation and business agility. After the mainframe modernization, the company’s developers were able to build a fully integrated automation solution to streamline customer data management, achieving in days what couldn’t be accomplished previously. Future plans include making OpenFrame a hub of the company’s technology infrastructure.
Modernizing legacy applications has helped SC Data Center, Inc. significantly reduce its dependence on the mainframe, gain the agility and efficiency needed to innovate, get its costs under control and improve application performance. Thanks to OpenFrame, this customer is seeing significant ROI.
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