Planet Mainframe News

AG is Belgium’s largest insurance company, operating in the Belgian insurance market since 1824. With three million clients consisting of private individuals, SMEs, and large companies, AG’s mainframe has served the organization through many structural changes.  

For decades, the mainframe served AG well, benefitting from in-house COBOL-developed systems and applications. But according to Philippe Van Belle, Chief Information and Technology Officer, there were drawbacks: “More connectivity was required, as well as the integration of core systems to key business partners and the integration of data and services.”

A major data center relocation that coincided with the end of the mainframe provider contract prompted earnest evaluation of the insurer’s future IT strategy. With over 14 million transactions to process each day, zero downtime was essential. 

Van Belle had serious concerns: “Our financial regulators watched these developments very closely. We manage many billions of euros in assets and if anything were to go wrong and we experience serious downtime or performance issues, this will have a direct negative impact on the Belgian economy.”

With this in mind, AG decided on a parallel track in which re-platforming to a Windows-based open environment was the focus while keeping the mainframe option open for as long as necessary.

Headed up by Micro Focus Solutions, the project involved over 600 people over three years of preparation (slowed down by COVID protocols). The final cutover was prepared meticulously, including an extensive development change management program to train all the AG development teams on new, and more agile, development processes and educate them on the benefits of development in the new Windows environment.

In the end, the launch took place “without a hitch”, an achievement both AG and Micro Focus Solutions are proud of. Van Belle estimates that AG will achieve full ROI on investment within 4-5 years, given the savings in annual operational costs. But there are other key benefits, notes Van Belle:: “Having the connection between our transaction-led, batch-processing operational systems, and modern, often cloud-based data analytics solutions is invaluable to us.”
Source: Micro Focus

Sonja Soderlund is an Oregon-based B2B freelance writer. Whether writing about mainframe computers, educational technology, or sustainable retail, she strives to bring clarity to complex issues. Connect with her at or LinkedIn.