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 TIC Strategic Partner - Who is BluAge?

Blu Age and TIC Software offer software and services designed for legacy application modernization. Our solutions are designed to address the challenges of keeping NonStop and other mainframe systems current with ever-evolving "modernization" technology. From architecture analysis and proof of concept to consulting expertise and software solutions; our team keeps mission-critical applications up-and-running.

While the firm BluAge Software is based in Paris, France, Frédéric Vermenouze heads their US office in Plano, TX. We recently caught up with him to get some more insight into his operation.

Vermenouze, Frédéric
Director of Blu Age’s Professional Services
Mail: f.vermenouze@bluage.com
Web: www.bluage.com


Q: What is your role at BluAge?
A: First and foremost, this is the professional services division for the US, and I'm the director, but I wear a lot of hats. I also oversee the client projects handled by my team, and keep tabs on the back office work - so another role would be project manager. And, in the past year and a half, I've been working to establish, maintain and grow our partner relationships with system integrators like TIC to grow the company.

Q: How large is your BluAge US team, and what are their responsibilities?
A: We have twelve people here in the US, and the majority of the team is directly involved in professional services - working on client projects. The group includes a QA person, a legacy expert, and a person in charge of our rather innovative customer training program, of which we're very proud. Our team works with clients and our strategic partners to maximize their productivity using the Blu Age software suite.

Q: What is BluAge and what does the company offer?
A: BluAge is actually the name of a software solution created by Netfective Technology – which is the company name we are known by in Europe where our headquarters is located. The company became known by the product name when we opened our US office, and we stayed with the name.

Q: Let’s start out with what is BluAge?
A: BluAge is a commercial software tool suite for the reengineering and modernization of legacy applications. BluAge applies Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) to provide a set of guidelines to more quickly and easily generate updated code; a boon to organizations using legacy-based computing.

Q. What is Model-Driven Architecture (MDA)? 

A: Model-driven architecture (MDA) is a software design approach for the development of software systems. It provides a set of guidelines for the structuring of specifications, which are expressed as models. It is a standard launched by the Object Management Group (OMG) in 2001. In 2003 the OMG applied the MDA approach created the Architecture Driven Modernization specification which is related to reverse engineering Legacy software. Blu Age Software applies the principles of both these specifications in a pragmatic manner.

Q: Okay, now will you describe the technology to a little more depth?
A: Sure, BluAge standard modernization modules address different components of the modernization process. The functionality of the suite is based on generating models that convert existing legacy applications into modern code in an automated fashion – much more quickly and efficiently than manual code conversion. The result is that we can modernize legacy programs written in COBOL, VB, SCOBOL and other old languages into Java, .NET and other modern platforms. The modernized code is object orientated (OO) and can be maintained using Eclipse or Visual Studio.

Q: You mentioned that this a suite of tools, what are the components?

A: There are several innovative components that contribute to the modernization process. Blu Age Reverse Modeling (BRM) automates the process by reading original source code, and identifying, extracting and processing business rules, calculations and business logic into models for review and approval. Blu Age Forward Engineering (BFE) applies code-generation capabilities to automate the transformation of models into complete, modern application code. And, Blu Age Delivery (BDE), ensures the quality of the BFE code. BDE operates in an integration and testing environment consistent with today's best software practices. The Blu Age Legacy Client Server To Cloud (BLSTC) and Blu Age Legacy Procedural to Cloud (BLPTC) suites integrate both the Reverse and Forward engines to modernize legacy applications. Blu Age Software comes integrated into Eclipse as a set of plugins.

Q: So the methodology behind the technology is model driven. What does that mean for clients?

A: : Blu Age's modernization methodology incorporates a set of best practices for reengineering development. The modernization process is agile and iterative with consultants modernizing and testing the application by chunks. First, an analysis blueprint is established that outlines client target state architecture, code artifacts and test cases including; modern coding standards, Java or .Net SonarQube profiles, screens, jobs and test data and legacy code. The artifacts are grouped by business domains that are then assigned to the iterations based on dependency and priority analysis. Each iteration will then provide a tested slice of the modernized application with a design blueprint that includes user interactions, screen flows and process logic. During that process, modern code quality is permanently monitored ensuring that the modernized code meets all the client's coding standards and requirements. For legacy clients, a correctly reengineered application charted via a comprehensive blueprint, and developed using Blu Age's components, ensures replicable and reliable code maintainability and high application performance. Clients are delivered flexible and adaptable business applications - efficiently and effectively.

BluAge Forward Engineering

Q: How do you work with your partners?
A:First and foremostly, we only partner with firms with a solid foundation and successful track record, like Accenture and HPES. And our partner TIC has been a proven player in the HP NonStop modernization arena for decades. We partner with our system integrators in several ways – working together on everything from marketing and sales initiatives such as prospecting and presentations; to project training, management and execution. We look for opportunities that provide ways to promote our firm, the partner and the solutions we provide.

Q: How does the partner relationship work with clients?
A: The system integrators we partner with perform the code modernization work for their clients using the BluAge application, the same way we do for our clients. We provide training and any support needed to ensure a successful implementation.

Q: What makes your customer training program different?
A: Well, we’ve all seen the standard training sessions where there’s a classroom setting and presentation screen where you follow along with an instructor – and when the course is over – that’s it. There’s very little (if any) follow up to ensure the customer’s ongoing success. After our training courses, attendees are given a sample application to modify, which is reviewed by BluAge, to ensure the learning process and quality of the skill set. And, with BluAge, our legacy application training program is in the cloud – so can easily be conducted on-site at our facility – or off-site at the client’s.

Q: How do you instill a sense of confidence in perspective clients that BluAge is the right solution for them?
A: Through one of our deliverables called a Proof of Concept (POC). We take the time to listen to their needs and demonstrate proven project results – showing reliability and replicable potential results – to reassure that we will get the job done to their satisfaction.

Q: What are some of your clients that you have serviced?
A: We have helped clients in a variety of industries, and while I’m not at liberty to give you the company names, I can outline the details of some of the successful implementations.

First off, in the financial services industry, we assisted a large North American banking concern when they undertook a modernization initiative for their legacy mainframe (Example 1 in the chart below). The firm’s retirement planning system needed to be migrated from the old architecture to a new Java-based solution. Using our BluAge tool suite, we were able to complete the project fifteen times faster than estimated; resulting in a Java solution that is twice as fast as its predecessor and with anticipated savings of $8M in annual operating costs.

Secondly, in the healthcare sector (Example 2 in the chart below), a health insurer needed to modernize a proprietary legacy application. Their membership database was to be migrated from COBOL to Java to take advantage of new technology benefits and avoid obsolescence. Leveraging BluAge’s migration tools, we completed the code conversion five times faster than it could have been done manually (1,000 lines of code per day versus 200), to a successful release of the organization’s HMO system.

In our third example, a retail concern needed to modernize their legacy system to become more nimble for their sales force – adding newer technologies that support mobile applications and better communication overall. The business, with a network of warehouses, was still using older green screen reporting, and needed to update their supply chain process to open architecture Java standards. Using BluAge, we modernized the system, leading to an improved UI delivering much better performance to their sales force.

Q: What would you say is the competitive advantage that BluAge offers its clients?

A: Simple - it works. Blu Age is a proven modernization application based upon a unique and innovative model-based technology. It enables our clients to modernize their applications efficiently and cost-effectively. We also encourage our clients to think twice if they are considering re-placing their Legacy Application on a Mainframe with a distributed COTS. Modernizing with Blu Age can be a very cost effective and considerably faster than going to a COTS. On the other end of the spectrum, a modernization project from COBOL to Java with Blu Age will gives modern application that can be deployed on the Cloud for a cost and timeline estimate which is in the same range as a re-platforming solution such as going from Mainframe Cobol to Distributed Cobol for instance.

About BluAge & TIC Software:

BluAge and TIC Software offer software and services designed for legacy application modernization designed to address the challenges of keeping mainframe systems current with ever-evolving "modernization" technology. From architecture analysis and proof of concept to consulting expertise and software solutions; we keep mission-critical applications up-and-running. Today, we continue to meet these modernization challenges - as well as offer migration solutions to organizations looking to explore other technological options. Visit www.bluage.com or www.ticsoftware.com for more.


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