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27-09-2016

NCR Corporation

Background


NCR Corporation is an American computer hardware, software and electronic company that makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, check processing systems, barcode scanners, and business consumables. NCR also provides IT maintenance and management support services. The company was founded in 1884 and is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.  The company employs 30,200 people globally, and had $6.37B in revenue as of 2015.


Current Situation

NCR Corporation had developed multiple applications for the IBM AS/400 platform over a period of decades.  These applications were highly customized, relying on both RPG and COBOL code, along with embedded SQL and other features.  The applications had been consistently improved over the years and remained in excellent condition during their lives, however the rising cost of the AS/400 prevented many new customers from using these applications within their stack.  NCR decided it was time to make a push towards modernizing their operations by providing a more affordable solution to their customers who were keen to build out on their existing Linux or Windows structure.

Developing individualized solutions for customers at all levels became the driving force for NCR’s decision to investigate solutions.  To this end they began seeking alternatives to their current deployment scheme.  It became immediately apparent that relying on the proprietary and prohibitively expensive AS/400 would be impossible to achieve their goals.  Retaining the business logic that had been developed over so many years was of critical importance and thus the decision to migrate their applications to a Windows/Linux infrastructure was made.


The Project

NCR knew that they needed to provide their solution to clients at all levels of production in order to maximize their investment in a migration project.  In order to reach this goal, they needed to find a way to migrate their applications to Windows and Linux.  Deployment for Linux on POWER was also a consideration for NCR but due to the high costs of POWER systems the idea was scrapped. Infinite Corporation’s software, Infinite i, provided the flexibility to develop both Windows and Linux deployments for NCR.  This migration solution proved to be the best alternative because it allowed NCR to retain their business logic and provide a variety of solutions to customers based upon their needs.

The applications which were to be migrated had been developed by NCR over generations of programmers.  The code had been meticulously maintained by some of the best and brightest RPG talent which NCR could find.  The applications themselves were focused largely upon managing stock, reordering, management tools, and transaction monitoring.  The code base was made up of almost entirely RPG LE and RPG Free with some COBOL programs, none of which posed a challenge for Infinite’s team. 

The team at Infinite used their software, Infinite i, an application which allows developers to migrate their existing AS/400 based applications to a more open platform, such as Windows or Linux. 
Infinite i allows for companies to integrate with external databases such as SQL Server or Oracle, and allows data to be accessed by any application in the stack without the need for an ETL process.  Intelligent compilers within Infinite i translate and recompile RPG, RPG II, RPG III, RPG/400, RPG ILE, RPG Free along with COBOL/400 and ILE COBOL, and produced native 64-bit executables for the target platform in C and C++.  Simultaneously the data which resides in the DB2/400 structure is translated from EBCDIC into ASCII and moved to the new database, SQL Server or Oracle, enabling analytics and streamlining the accessibility of data.  This solution allowed NCR to retain their valuable source code and continue development in either RPG/COBOL as they had before with Infinite’s environment or to develop C/C++ within the new platform.


Deployment

NCR set out with the goal to deploy their new solution to their mid range customers at a more affordable price than the AS/400 versions of the applications which their clients already possessed. By migrating their business logic to Windows and Linux they successfully provided a solution to clients looking to integrate their disparate systems and continue without interruption to their operations.  The lower overall cost of maintenance and support also allow their clients to enjoy a notable ROI, greatly contributing to the popularity of the applications.  While the migrated applications provide the same functionality as they had originally within the IBM AS/400 they are now running on technology which new companies are more prone to invest in.  This provides not only the ability for NCR to retain old relationships with existing clients but to also bring new clients into the fold.


Conclusion

Infinite’s solution provided NCR with a low cost and effective solution which allowed the company to retain their investment in business logic and custom-developed AS/400 applications. 

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