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Canadian Furniture Retailer Migrates and Modernizes Mainframe Applications to Web First Technologies

December 7th, 2023

The Client

The client is one of the largest volume retailers of furniture, mattresses, appliances and home electronics. They operate 194 retail stores across Canada. Additionally they also operate five distribution centers which provide them with over two million square feet of distribution space. Kumaran was engaged for 15-years of long-term strategic relationship contract with them for their IT needs in the areas of Application Development, Application Re-Engineering, Application Maintenance and New System Developments. This document intends to explain the engagement with the client for their mainframe transformation.

The Scenario

The current software was developed using BMS Map, COBOL & JCL. Though the COBOL application was robust and reliable, the application required to be refaced into the modern technologies, in order to mitigate the risk of maintaining the legacy COBOL code. Kumaran has helped customer to identify the possible gray areas and have currently migrated the COBOL Application into Java Environment. Kumaran also assisted to migrate to VSAM data structure to DB2 database by inbuilt database migration tools.

Business Challenges

  • High cost associated with maintaining and upgrading the expensive legacy systems
  • Risk associated with running potentially unsupported hardware and software
  • Shrinking labor pool expertise on legacy systems
  • Lack of integration and web capabilities for different business applications


The client had an archaic Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) solution which was not scalable. As the product lines and channels expanded business was faced with challenges of providing better customer experience while efficiently maintaining their inventory levels.

The Challenges Were

To inform vendors about Purchase Order (P.O.) and its related changes Faxes/emails were used. Failure of this process resulted in huge delays of the following:

  • Vendor Acknowledgment of Purchase Orders(P.O.’s)
  • Client Acknowledging Shipping details from vendor
  • Inability to review and acknowledge P.O. changes in real-time
  • In predicting the Delivery date with certainty. This had a huge impact on customer satisfaction.
  • Additionally allocation of inventory and Demand Planning could not be done in real-time.
  • Request for XML based real-time messaging request from vendors could not be accommodated

The Solution

After an exhaustive analysis of the Mainframe application, Kumaran was able to understand the business need and suggest possible solutions to customer to enhance their applications functionalities. Kumaran suggested using its Migration / Re-Engineering methodology to convert the Mainframe Application into HTML5/JEE languages with DB2 as the database, with crystal reports for reporting.

Translation Objectives

The translation process is designed with the following requirements in mind:

  • The resulted application should work exactly the same as the original application and produce exactly the same results.
  • The resulting application should be maintainable and follow the object oriented concepts and paradigms: encapsulation, abstraction, inheritance, modularization, etc.
  • The resulting application should be scalable, maintainable & enrich UI interface.
  • The resulting application should perform the same or better than the original one on the open systems platform

Highlights of the Solution Are:

The whole application, which was in Mainframe, was migrated to Java Enterprise stack. Kumaran used NxTran tool for semi-automated conversion from Mainframe to Java. This migration required a bit manual intervention to sort out the issues in difference in technologies and the integration of the code done manually and tested.

  • HTML5, Bootstrap, Angular were used to develop the UI screens of the Presentation layers from BMS Map files.
  • The COBOL programs were converted into Java programs.
  • Business logic for each mainframe terminal screen action components were implemented by using the Spring Rest Service.
  • The JPA ORM was handled all the database related activities such as retrieving and updating data to the database
  • All COBOL and SAS reports were converted to web based reports using Business Objects Crystal Reports.
  • JCL batch programs were converted to Spring Batch Java programs which were scheduled by Quartz Scheduler.
  • VSAM data files are were converted into DB2 tables. Subsequent Data porting from VSAM to DB2 were implemented by Kumaran inbuilt tools.


  • Tool based conversion ensures error free migration.
  • Supports web enablement
  • Structural representation of data structure ensures readability and understandability of the converted code.
  • Easily integrated with other applications – SOA support
  • Easy for maintenance
  • Cross browser support
  • Responsive Web UI
  • Scalable to any platform and hardware
  • Java resource skills abundant in the market


The transformed JEE application was deployed in the target environment within the proposed time and budget. The transformed application performed exactly similar to the existing application without any issues. Based on the performance of the Kumaran Team, customer has entrusted the enhancements, support and the maintenance of the application to Kumaran.

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